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How to Become a Web Designer

Become a Web DesignerThe good news for aspiring web designers is that absolutely anybody can design a website for the Internet. The bad news is that there's a significant difference between an ordinary web designer and a competent one.

So how do you set about the long and winding road towards web designing success? The most important thing to understand is that developing on the web, in any fashion, will require a great deal of patience.

Would you expect to learn a new language over night? You might manage a few words, in the same way that a web designer might manage to upload a few pages of limited code. But to design content for the web and implement it successfully, you need to have a grasp of a programming language. A computer doesn't have the capacity to translate your vision in to a website since it only has two states : on and off. Instead, we have to feed it instructions via a language that it can understand. For the most part, we do this with HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language). HTML is the translator between our human words and the computer's ability to output that image on to a page.

While HTML is widely accepted as the essential language behind web pages on the Internet, that doesn't mean to say that there aren't higher levels of development. Programming languages come in all shapes and sizes. Popular adaptations include, but are not limited to PHP, XML, ColdFusion, Java and ASP. These higher level languages serve a greater purpose and provide the scope for dynamic web design or database interaction. To reel off the whole list would be redundant at this stage. For the time being, you need only worry about HTML and learning its core syntax.

If you're human like the rest of us and appreciate the benefits of good old fashioned hard work, there's nothing stopping you from designing that inspirational website to end all. But don't underestimate the frustration and discarded tutorials that you're going to experience along the way.

The first step on the road of to web designing success is simple and it involves asking your good self a question. Do I want to design the graphics and organise how a website looks? Or do I want to provide the content and functionality? They are two fundamental and absolutely crucial differences - the ultimate separator between a creative whiz who gets paid as a web designer, and a professional who earns his living as a developer.

Web designers do not specifically develop the content of a website. A good web designer simply makes it his goal to provide an effective web template that can be handed over to a developer. The developer will then cut it in to fragments of computer-fed programming language- usually HTML with CSS - and mould it for the end user's good.

Do you want to be involved with the design stage, rather than the implementation? If you do, congratulations, you've just taken your first step towards becoming a great web designer.

Perhaps the greatest way to get an eye for various web techniques is hidden in this very sentence. What's that you say? The key is to use your eyes. Explore the web and look at other people's work. Nearly every website known to man has taken inspiration from somewhere else and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Tutorials will get you only so far before you have to take the step of analysing existing websites and using them to produce your own design work.

That isn't to say that you should rip off Amazon or EBay and plug them in to your own identical web template. Far from it. But a great web designer will have an intricate eye for the small details. Pay special attention to the way that professional looking sites utilise color and text.

Of course, there's only so much time you can spend gazing at other people's creations before you're straining at the leash and ready to be launched in to your first web designing project. If you're serious about learning web design, it's extremely recommended that you invest in a suitable commercial package capable of producing graphical interfaces.

If you want to become a great designer, you'll need a great designer's toolbox. Adobe Photoshop CS2 " the latest version at the time of writing " is an excellent product and perfect for any aspiring designer. Photoshop tutorials are scattered around the Internet with specific advice for customizations you can make to improve your templates. Don't start running before you've found your feet though.

At its very most basic, you can become a web designer by opening up Notepad, typing a few tags and uploading them to a web server. This might not be influential to the end user, and it might look like something you'd rather bin, but it's still a design.

While this hands-on method to web design is extremely valuable and allows the designer total control over his work, there are still other solutions on the market. Popular development tools such as Macromedia Dreamweaver make use of what's known as a WYSIWYG editor to completely eliminate the problem of coding. They work by allowing the user to plot a page directly in to a graphical window. The HTML code is then automatically generated and created in an instant.

This form of automated coding is beneficial in the sense that it cuts development time dramatically. It is, however, a bad habit to fall in to. Dreamweaver, FrontPage and all the other development suites will generate the code with absolutely no consideration to the problems that a web designer may face in editing the file. They have a bad knack of generating scores of stray HTML code which could be handled much more efficiently by a laterally thinking web developer. It's up to you whether you choose to invest in one of these tools.

Remember that there are many stages to web design. The learning curve isn't so much substantial as it is never ending. Web technology is constantly evolving and a good professional designer will have to evolve with the times, refining his or her work along the way.

Although you should be aware that learning to design and learning to develop are two entirely different concepts, you shouldn't mistake the common ground that they share. A good designer must anticipate the problems that a developer will encounter when implementing the design. Likewise, a good developer should have an eye for basic web designing principles when the code is drawn up.

Ultimately, you will need access to a web server in order to present your designs to the world. This is an extremely complex talking point and every server is customised to fulfil a certain obligation. There are also considerable steps to be taken in order to choose the right web server for your personal requirements. Microsoft, for example, provides the IIS pack. Another extremely popular choice is Apache's HTTP server. Depending on what software and application your website will be required to support, it's important that you select the right server for the task. If you intend to implement a database of some kind, choosing the right server is absolutely vital.

You will also require some form of client to upload your pages to the web, presuming that your server is located on somebody else's machine. They don't get there on their own accord and the investment of a competent File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client is highly recommended. Programs such as SmartFTP or CuteFTP provide a great interface to get to grips with accessing your web server.

Learning to design a site isn't as simple as creating it and letting it rot in My Documents. You need to be able to understand the basics of how a server functions, or have the resources to hire a web developer to do all of the work after those initial designing stages. In general, you'll become a much better designer by learning to appreciate the developmental side of your work. Not to mention, you'll save yourself some invaluable resources in the process!

As a starting point, you've taken your first step. Take the time to consider what draws your attention to a well designed site. By picking up on the subtle flourishes, you will be leaving yourself in good stead to master the art of web design.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you are a business owner get listed at Best Technology Site, part of Localwin Network.
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