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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suggested Courses For Web Design

     I thought I would just take a few minutes today and suggest a course of action for anyone interested in learning the skill of web design.  This is something of a tricky field, because you've got to have a one part designer, one part techy, and three parts determination.
     So, for a web designer, there are several key ingredients that can help you on your way.  First, your training.  As someone who has done both the higher education method, and the self taught method, I have to say I prefer the self-taught method, at least as far as the technical skill is concerned.  Far too much of the collegiate study I did concerned its self with useless web history that has long since been forgotten by the general public, and has no place in its future.  I know that if you forget your past you are doomed to repeat it, but learning about graphic-less web browsers and old Javascript security issues doesn't help a new web designer in any way.  You will never have to deal with these issues again.
     So, as to my suggestion about teaching yourself, after many years of digging through Borders and Barnes and Noble, and pouring over the listings of Amazon, I have found O'reily's Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML to be the best starting point, followed by their Head First Web Design and Head First Javascript manuals.  These three books form a good ground work, even if Head First HTML seems a bit dated, (it makes the bold claim that there will never be another HTML, because everything is moving to XHTML, and now we are sitting here with HTML 5 being the next big web technology).
     With those three books under your belt, the next suggestions I have are couple of websites.  These two references have been the ultimate resource for advanced web designing, with all the darkest and taboo topics brought to light.  The first, http://www.w3schools.com/, outlines every possible tag and style you can possible use in web programming.  The next deals strictly with design: http://css-tricks.com/.  This one website has been one of the most amazing online resources I have ever found for web design.  Any layout problem or design issue, and the guy who writes this blog seems to have it fixed, or at least an explanation as to why it can't be fixed, which is really useful when your customer is irate because something doesn't look exactly the way they want it to.
     So, if you have any aspirations to be a web designer, this has been my path, more or less, and hopefully you can benefit from my experience and avoid the pitfalls I stumbled blindly into.  Good luck, and happy reading.