Learn Web Design

a Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning Web Design

Web design refers to the process of creating functional, good-looking websites. Web Designers use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Git, and other coding tools to build websites. To create the website interfaces, they use design tools like Figma or Sketch.

Explore the expansive field of web design, with various career paths and specializations to choose from. Learn how to design, develop, and maintain web pages, use elaborate WordPress designs, build a digital CV or a marketplace, and much more.

Key Insights

  • Web design amalgamates creative and technical skills to design and maintain web pages. It's an ongoing process that requires constant updates to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
  • Web design skills are in high demand across almost every professional industry including the public and nonprofit sectors, making it a versatile career choice.
  • Noble Desktop offers hands-on web design training with live instructors, taking students from novice programmers to professional designers.
  • Students can opt for a variety of learning formats including live instruction, on-demand web design courses, and free introductory classes.
  • Web design is a broad field encompassing numerous subfields such as visual design, user experience design, and web development, each with its own unique skills and career prospects.
  • While there are no formal prerequisites for learning web design, foundational skills in HTML and CSS are crucial for anyone looking to design web pages.

Web design refers to a wide array of creative and technical skills brought together to design web pages. This includes visually creative skills like designing assets and layouts for web pages and programming skills required to launch and maintain web pages. If you’ve always wanted to learn web design but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn web design, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use web design.

What is Web Design?

Web design is the process of creating and maintaining websites. It covers a wide range of topics, including web architecture, user experience, information architecture, and web development. The primary goal of web design is to create a website that is easy to use, informative, and visually appealing. The skill set required for web design is constantly evolving as new technologies and trends emerge. However, some core principles remain constant.

Web design is a process, not a product. The term “web design” refers to creating a website or the finished product itself. A Web Designer is someone who specializes in this process by using their creativity, technical skills, and experience to craft websites that meet the specific needs of their clients. This means that web design is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that should be regularly updated to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. 

Read more about what web design is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Web Design?

As the name suggests, learning web design skills will teach you how to design, develop, and maintain web pages. This means that whatever you can do on the digital canvas of Web 2.0, you can learn to do with web design. You can learn to build professional working websites as a career path or build your own personal brand using elaborate WordPress designs. Students can build a digital CV to make themselves more attractive to employers, or they can launch a digital art project hoping to advocate for a cause that is important to them. Students can turn their passions into a business by building a digital marketplace to advertise their wares or get an idea off the ground with a rhetorically appealing pitch website. The sky's the limit for talented web designers.

Web design also covers a diverse field of specializations and skills so that individuals can create even more specific niches for themselves within the field. Programmers can enter a vibrant community of like-minded designers who iterate on and improve programming languages, making them more versatile and accessible to new users. Developers may find themselves specializing in a specific programming language for things like data science and SEO purposes. User Experience Designers will make web pages themselves more accessible and easy to navigate. Given the amount of time individuals spend online each day, there is no shortage of unique opportunities for skilled web design students.

Why Learn Web Design?

In the modern digital landscape, it is more important than ever for companies and organizations to develop a strong web presence. They will want to hire employees who can design, develop, maintain, and upgrade those web pages to ensure they are putting their best possible presence online. This means that web design and development skills are in high demand across almost every professional industry. Plus, the public and nonprofit sectors also need to maintain millions of web pages, so anyone interested in working in more advocacy or community-focused environment can also find gainful employment opportunities.

In addition, learning web design skills may also be helpful for your own creative and commercial ambitions. If you have a project that you are working on, whether it is a new product that you are releasing on an e-store or you just want to create a personal website for collecting job materials, learning web design skills will help make sure that those web pages are functional and visually evocative. Whether or not you know how to code, even just learning the design aspect of the process can be incredibly professionally rewarding, as more and more web pages are running on platforms such as WordPress.

Read more about why you should learn web design.

How to Learn Web Design

Students looking to learn web design skills will have a few different ways they can go about receiving training in web design. They will have to choose the environment in which they learn the skills and the delivery method of the course in which they enroll. While each student’s needs are different, there are a few key differences between the types of courses that are worth considering.

Most students find that live instruction, available through in-person classes and live online instruction, is the most effective way to learn new skills. Particularly for novice coders, the presence of a live instructor can be a significant boon, as they are present to help ease students into the process of programming by answering questions and providing feedback. These classes also allow students to learn alongside a cohort of like-minded students, and many students find that having regular classes to attend and regular deadlines helps keep their learning on track. These courses are somewhat restrictive regarding their scheduling, as they are only offered at specific times of the day/week. They are also the most expensive training options, but most students find that training is not something they want to pinch pennies.

Students looking for more flexibility in their training will want to consider an on-demand web design course. These classes are asynchronous, self-paced lessons, meaning that students will be able to watch lectures, study material, and work on exercises as their own schedule allows. This makes them an ideal fit for students with work and family obligations that prevent them from attending regularly scheduled classes or who need to learn a specific set of skills in a very condensed period. These classes tend to be the most varied in their content and style. Still, there are also a great variety of on-demand classes to choose from, so students who desire a more flexible scheduled learning experience should explore their options.

Finally, students may be interested in free introductory classes to determine whether web design training is the right fit for them. These classes, which often take the form of pre-recorded lectures, are a great place for students to experiment with learning web design in a low-pressure, low-commitment environment. Noble Desktop provides students with a few options for free training courses, including their Getting Started in Web Design course, which provides an overview of the responsibilities of web designers and the tools that they use to make functional web pages. Noble also provides students with a series of more targeted web design videos on their Web Design and Development playlist, which is frequently updated on their official YouTube page. Students looking to learn how to design web pages in a professional capacity will still require more training, but since these classes teach fundamental skills, it won’t be a waste of your time to view them before enrolling in a seminar or bootcamp.

Read the full guide on how to learn web design.

Free Introductory Web Design Course Online 

For students who are interested in learning web design skills but aren’t confident that they want to enroll in a professional training seminar, free online tutorials can be a great place to figure out if more advanced web design training is right. Noble Desktop offers students a selection of free online courses that are the perfect introduction to the tools and techniques they will learn in a web design course. In Noble’s Getting Started in Web Design course, students will learn the basic principles of designing web pages, including the difference between visual and technical programming elements. This course is a perfect fit for students who aren’t entirely sure what aspects of web design they want to specialize in since it covers all those elements. Noble also offers more detailed videos covering topics such as visual design, HTML/CSS, WordPress, JavaScript, and more on the Web Design and Development playlist on the official YouTube page. These classes aren’t a substitute for professional skills training, but they are the perfect place to take the first step on the road to becoming a professional Web Designer.

Students may also wish to consider the free training options available through service providers such as Udemy, Coursera, or YouTube. Since web design is such a wide-ranging field of computer science and is essential to making the internet functional, many solid, free options exist. This is particularly true for introductory material covering skills such as HTML/CSS because it is assumed that most students who learn these fundamental skills will eventually move on to more advanced training.

Read about more free web design videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Learning web design skills will vary in difficulty from student to student because web design is a wide and varied field. Students looking to learn the visual layout skills that go into the pre-production design of a website will need less training than a Back End Developer tasked with building a website's systems infrastructure. Someone looking to learn WordPress will find it easier than someone who wants to learn React and JavaScript. While students can learn all of the elements of web design, that is a task that can take years, so students should enter into their training with realistic goals, which will then determine how difficult and time-consuming it will be to learn.

While there are no formal prerequisites for learning web design, almost all Web Designers will need to learn how to code using HTML/CSS. These two languages form the foundation of modern web design infrastructure, so anyone looking to code their web pages must learn these skills. However, they are also reasonably simple languages, ideal for new programmers to learn as their first. Unfortunately, these are only prerequisites, as almost all contemporary web design uses languages built off these two. Students will need additional training in courses that expect them to know basic HTML/CSS. Visual design students may not need to learn HTML/CSS, but it is still recommended.

Web design has no directly attached cost, save for the incidental price of hosting a web page, which can cost a negligible amount. Almost all programming languages are free and open source, meaning anyone can use them. While students will need a coding application, there are many excellent free options, so new students who aren’t picky about the compiler they use will have access to free applications. Students looking to learn complex visual design skills for web pages must license programs such as Adobe Illustrator, XD, or After Effects, which cost about $20 a month. There are free trials and numerous free alternatives (though free options are likely to have fewer professional training opportunities than these industry-standard programs).

Read about how difficult it is to learn web design.

How Does Learning Web Design Compare to Other Applications/Languages/Fields?

Since web design is such an expansive field, it encompasses a number of different subfields with significant but not total overlap. For simplicity's sake, the biggest divide in the field relevant for students hoping to learn web design is the difference between learning visual design skills and web development skills. Many Web Designers will learn both, but some students may find that they want to specialize in one field or the other.

Visual design emphasizes the look and feel of a web page, and it is a creative field. Using design tools like Adobe Illustrator and Figma, Visual Designers will create outlines and layouts of web pages that will be handed off to developers for launch. Visual Designers won’t need to learn how to code since the tools for creating the visual assets of a web page will not require them to program the actual infrastructure underlying the web page. Another significant subset of visual design is user experience design, which focuses on the tactile feel of a web page when it enters users' hands.

Web development is concerned with the technical aspects of running, maintaining, and launching web pages. Learning web development skills will entail learning how to code and debug web pages using languages like HTML/CSS and JavaScript. Oftentimes, Web Developers won’t be involved in the planning stage of designing the visual look of a web page and will only enter into a project once the desired design has been approved. Web development skills are broken up into front end development, which concerns the visual and interactive elements of a web page that users interact with, such as the links and menus, and back end web development, which concerns itself with the infrastructure and databases that work behind the scenes to make the web application operate. Some developers, called full-stack developers, handle both sides of the operation.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Web Design

Students looking to learn web design have a lot of choices in front of them, regardless of whether they are interested in learning how to design a web page’s visual or technical aspects. Students can opt to enroll in elaborate, multi-week career-focused courses, or they can opt for shorter, more targeted skills bootcamps. While there is not one size fits all answer, in general, the best way to learn web design is going to depend on your long-term goals.

Students who have no prior web design experience and are looking to find out whether or not further training is right for them should consider taking advantage of a free, on-demand training resource. These courses, such as Noble’s Getting Started in Web Design, offer students a place to get a wide-eyed overview of the kinds of work that they will be doing in a more formal skills training course. It is also a good place for students who are on the fence about learning how to code to get a feel for the process and decide whether or not it is a skill they want to pursue.

Students who know they want to learn advanced web design skills but mainly want to plug a skill gap or improve their current job skills will want to enroll in a skills bootcamp. These immersive learning experiences focus on teaching specific skills, such as the basics of coding in Noble’s Web Design with HTML & CSS course. Courses like this won’t be enough to set students up for a career change on their own, but they will provide students with vital skills that they can use to expand their personal and professional opportunities.

Students looking to start a new career in the field of web design should consider a certificate-granting career program, such as Noble’s Web Design Certificate program. These courses, the longest and most expensive courses available, teach students a cluster of different skills they will use in the professional world. These classes require no prior experience, but by the end of the course, a graduate will be ready to enter the workforce as a Web Designer or Web Developer. These courses also tend to provide students with professionalization training.

Learn Web Design with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Students looking to master web design skills should consider the hands-on training options available to them through Noble Desktop. In these courses, students can learn how to design and code web pages using a variety of platforms and programming languages. These courses, which are all taught by live instructors with years of experience in their respective fields, give students the opportunity to interface directly with their instructors, ensuring they can receive the assistance and feedback they need to succeed. Students can enroll in a web design class or bootcamp either in-person or online.

Students looking to start off their web design and development career without investing too much time into their training may want to consider Noble’s Web Development with HTML/CSS course. In this class, which requires no prior coding knowledge, students will learn the fundamental skills that go into designing and developing web pages using the HTML/CSS programming languages. This class will teach students how to design basic web pages using the coding languages that form the basic infrastructure of a modern web page. Students will learn how to use HTML to build basic web pages and how to use CSS to add a visual flair to their designs. While anyone wanting to design web pages that look up to modern standards will need more training in other, more advanced programming languages, learning HTML/CSS is essential for anyone wanting to build web pages.

Noble offers a Web Design Certificate program for students who want a more immersive, career-focused experience in their training course that aims to take students from novice programmers all the way to professional designers in just a few short weeks. In this course, students will learn how to code web pages with HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and through the WordPress hosting platform. They will learn how to build elaborate, multi-page websites that replicate the kinds of projects they will be hired to work on as professional Web Designers and Developers. In addition, since these are career-focused courses, students will receive extra professionalization training, including one-on-one career mentorship sessions and seminar time dedicated to helping students construct a sample design portfolio that they can take with them onto the job market. For students looking to start a new career in the field of web design, there is no better way to prepare themselves.

Web Design Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

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