Build your own place on the Web!

Web design Foundations for Everyone

I’m Chris Mills, and I work for web browser company and general geek haven, Opera Software! I have been taking part in little projects at Madlab for over a year now, and have always found them to be welcoming, innovative, creative and very much in agreement with my philosophy of open source information sharing to help everyone improve their skills and get ahead!

I therefore decided to help them out by running a course as part of their Omniversity programme. The course is about web design/development, but before you go running for your nerd shields, please just consider what I have to say.

I believe that the Web is the most important communication and expression mechanism the world has ever known. It allows anyone to communicate with others, regardless of locale, ability or any other personal considerations. That is, if it is populated by web sites that are built properly, according to best practices and guidelines. More on that later.

I also believe that pretty much anyone can learn the basics of web design and development and get their own stage for expression and communication online, as long as they have a bit of spare time and enthusiasm, and basic computer literacy.

To this end, I created the web design foundations series, a four part course that aims to allow anyone to acquire the skills they need to create their own web page, or site. If you are a complete beginner, you can start at the beginning; if not, you can join slightly later on. The course is also suitable for existing web designers and developers who want to brush up on their skills and bring them into the modern age.

After all, there are still a lot of bad web sites being built, using tools and methodologies from 10 years ago – way out of date! By learning an up to date web skill set of best practices and guidelines, you can build web pages that are:

More accessible to diverse groups of web users, including those with impairments such as blindness, which may use special tools to access web pages.

More adaptable for viewing on a diverse range of browsing devices, such as mobile phones and tablets

Easier to maintain and update, and easier to work on with a team of other web designers and developers

More likely to rank highly in relevant search engine searches (eg Google, Bing)

The different parts of the web design foundations course are also very reasonably priced, so there is really not much of an excuse for missing out on this learning opportunity. I am not lying when I say that whoever you are, you could contribute something great to the web of tomorrow!

The courses are as follows:

Web design foundations 1: Introduction to the Web, and web design. My first course is for complete beginners, who know nothing beyond basic computer literacy. Here I explain what the Web is and how it works, important underlying concepts such as accessibility, FTP, search engine optimization and information architecture, and have a basic play with some HTML and CSS at the end.

Web design foundations 2: HTML Basics. The second part teaches all the HTML you’ll need to make your way into web design and development with confidence! From text to tables, and links to images, this course has it all.

Web design foundations 3: CSS Basics. My third course looks at CSS, and shows you everything, from the real basic fundamentals such as selectors, text styling and the box model, to some fairly advanced techniques like web fonts, styling links and forms and multiple column layouts with floats.

Web design foundations 4: Advanced CSS and HTML topics. This course brushes past the basics, looking at HTML5 syntax, forms and video, CSS3 bling such as linear gradients, opacity and drop shadows, and adaptive layouts using Media Queries and viewport.

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