When I look back with hindsight now I can see how stupid I have been not to try and learn more about web design. The idea of coding had always scared me.
Several years ago had my first dabble with Dreamweaver, it didn’t last long, I hated it. About three years years ago a friend encouraged me to give it another go and showed me the basics of using Dreamweaver tables to build a site. I still hated it, for a WYSIWYG I certainly didn’t get what I saw. The idea of learning to code HTML and CSS was something I had never contemplated. I did things visually I wasn’t a programmer, to me a tag was something you put on a Christmas present 🙂 .
I think I still had visions of trying to write BASIC unsuccessfully when I was a kid on our “Home Computer” and it taking about 2 weeks to try and specify code to draw a simple shape. Before my Dad retired he was an electronics engineer designing microchips and he thought being able to “draw” on the computer would be fun for me 😉 .
So it took me until the last few months to actually try to start learning HTML (or should I say XHTML) and CSS. What I realised and other non coding designers might want to know is that its much easier if you don’t think of it as code. Think of it as shorthand or an abbreviated way of marking up a page:
HTML: img src means image source, li means list, p means paragraph
Think of CSS like your style sheets in Quark on acid.
I have a long way to go and wish I had started much sooner, I don’t know if I ever will try Dreamweaver again. I guess I feel that if I use Dreamweaver, I am trying to learn too many things at once, not only am I on a huge learning curve with XHTML and CSS but also with the programme. CSSEdit has been an amazing find though and is incredibly intuitive to use and ideal for a newbie like me to try and edit CSS.
If you are a graphic designer who works in print thinking about having a go at learning to code I would definitely recommend you give it a go. I would make some of you experienced web developers laugh as I end up with a huge grin on my face when I manage to do something that you guys would find simple.
Some learning resources I would recommend are
- Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS (sitepoint book)
When I finally get to grips with CSS and XHTML I’d love to learn PHP, but I think that may be a few years away!