Web Sites – to Code or not to Code – that is the question.

The State of the Graphic Design Industry

I get a lot of emails from my students (and former students) asking me how they can learn web design quickly. Many graphic designers who have concentrated on print design; finally are recognizing the need for web coding skills. It is my personal opinion that any designer who does promotional work is at a great disadvantage not knowing web design. The basic coding skills needed are CSS and html; javascript doesn't hurt either. But a good working knowledge of Dreamweaver, CSS and html can go a long way. Here you will find some of the tips I have shared with my students and Download Web-resource-page for a painless way to learn web from various free online sources.

Is Wix.com the Answer To Not Learning Coding?

I have recently been teaching a web project in one of my classes where my students create an identity (logo and graphic standards) for a small business and create an online presence (a website and market it through social media such as: a blog, Facebook, Twitter etc.). They must search for relevant keywords using the Google Adwords Keywords tool and measure the results in Google Analytics and by using other search engine optimization (SEO) technology. It has been a very successful project and here are just a few of the many student designed sites from the class. – see links below:

 

Kia Rashirani Portfolio

 

postcard and love

 

 

Some use wix.com but my students have claimed to have found it can be a bit buggy at times. They have reported crashes and a loss of work on a design they were creating in Wix, even though they say they saved it. Also, some have reported trouble forwarding domains; although other students have reported not having any problems whatsoever.  I won't recommend it yet for a business site that needs utmost stability. Although, many people (indie artists, musicians, actors, craftspeople, as well as other small business owners, do use it.
It is Flash-driven so it is limited in media delivery (doesn't work on mobile devices yet) but works for those in my class that don't know html and CSS. I think it is a viable resource for anyone who can't afford to have a site designed for them and I know that wix is continually seeking to improve their platform. The best part is you can start off for free! If it works for you, you can sign up at the level of service that you need.

Lynda.com Is My Top Recommendation For Design Professionals Needing To Learn Web Design

You could sign up for Lynda.com and watch videos from the extensive library on web design programs. Latest titles include Dreamweaver 5 Essential Training; Dreamweaver 5 with CSS integration; Dreamweaver 5 with Business Catalyst (a new downloadable app. from Adobe that lets you create shopping carts and newsletter blasts etc without knowing back end coding). You can also learn CSS 3 and html 5 quickly. You can get hooked up for as low as a 25.00 monthly subscription or opt for a longer term commitment and get more benefits such as exercise files as a resource – it's pretty affordable and you can cancel your subscription at anytime. I recommend, if you are not familiar with lynda.com that you go to the site and watch some of the free videos on an incredibly, wide range of technology and design industry-related topics. That is how I manage to keep up to date for managing my client work and for teaching my students.

Other Free Resources

I have attached a handout I put together with some web resources – I linked the ones that I use for my classes here. Also, if you own Dreamweaver, try opening a starter page and using the resources I provide here, then go into the code view and start to tinker around under the hood – it will start to make sense quickly. Hope this helps! Download Web-resource-page

Stay Tuned – I Will Be Posting More Resources On Web Design and SEO Soon!

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