Hello and welcome to the fourth edition of Learning Web Design.So much has happened since the previous edition! Just when it looked like things were beginning to settle down with the adoption of web standardsby the browser creators and the development community, along comes the “Mobile Web” to shake things up again.
With the introduction of smartphonesand tablets, the Web is finding its way onto small screens and onthe-go contexts where it never appeared before. This has introduced somerigorous challenges for web designers and programmers as we scramble to find ways to make the experience of using our sites pleasing, regardless of how they might be accessed. As I write, many of these challenges, such as how to deliver the right image to the right device, are still being debated. It’s an incredibly lively time for web design, full of experimentation and collaboration. In ways, it reminds me of the Wild West days of the Web back in 1993 when I started my web design career. So much to figure out! So many possibilities! And to be honest, it’s also a tricky time to nail these moving-target technologies and techniques down in a book. To that end, I’ve done my best to point out the topics that are in flux and provide pointers to online resources to bring you up to date.
There are also two new standards —HTML5 (the fifth major revision of Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets, Level 3)— available to us now that were only rumors the last time I wrote this book. The HTML section of the book now reflects the current HTML5 standard. I cover the parts of the developing CSS3 standard that are ready for prime time, including a new chapter on adding motion and interactivity with Transitions and Transforms. Our tools allow us to do so much more and in a more efficient way than even a few years ago.
way, so you get hands-on experience and can check your progress.
Whether you are reading this book on your own or using it as a companion to a web design course, I hope it gives you a good head start and that you have fun in the process.
Where Do I Start?
Your particular starting point will no doubt depend on your background and goals. However, a good first step for everyone is to get a basic understanding of how the Web and web pages work. This book will give you that foundation. Once you learn the fundamentals, there are plenty of resources on the Web and in bookstores for you to further your learning in specific areas.
There are many levels of involvement in web design, from building a small site for yourself to making it a full-blown career. You may enjoy being a fullservice website developer or just specializing in one skill. There are a lot of ways you can go.
If your involvement in web design is purely at the hobbyist level, or if you have just one or two web projects you’d like to publish, you may find that a combination of personal research (like reading this book), taking advantage of available templates, and perhaps even investing in a visual web design tool such as Adobe Dreamweaver may be all you need to accomplish the task at hand. Many Continuing Education programs offer introductory courses to web design and production.
If you are interested in pursuing web design or production as a career, you’ll need to bring your skills up to a professional level. Employers may not require a web design degree, but they will expect to see working sample sites that demonstrate your skills and experience. These sites can be the result of class assignments, personal projects, or a simple site for a small business or organization. What’s important is that they look professional and have wellwritten, clean HTML, style sheets, and possibly scripts behind the scenes. Getting an entry-level job and working as part of a team is a great way to learn how larger sites are constructed and can help you decide which aspects
of web design you would like to pursue.