Website Design

5 web design courses that could help you build the next best website

5 web design courses that could help you build the next best website

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First impressions really matter. Even in the tech world.

Within a matter of seconds, users make judgments about certain websites, applications, or programs. Having unappealing visual elements, outdated systems, or broken components can result in a user not purchasing a product or ever revisiting. 

As a result, web designers are paramount to any modern company, and thus, the relevant skills are hot commodities. Web developers and digital designers earn median salaries of $80,730 annually—with a job growth rate of 16% over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If the prospect of building innovative features for websites, especially as part of a team, excites you, then web design and development may be a great career path. Fortune has you covered with some of the details about the field and initial learning opportunities.

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What is web design?

To put it simply, web design consists of the planning, arranging, and designing of websites and their features. Over the last two decades, the field has evolved dramatically. Whereas before websites were largely static and text-heavy, today they are interactive, responsive, and dynamic. 

The ways in which web designers create websites has also evolved. Whereas many top websites relied heavily on HTML and CSS (and many still do), Java, JavaScript, and Python are also used often. Kunal Ahuja, who leads consumer business at Skillsoft’s Codecademy, agrees.

“If you’re going into web dev, I think the classic trifecta for someone who’s just starting out is HTML, Java or JavaScript, and CSS,” he says.

In fact, many of the overall most popular programming languages also happen to be most relevant to the world of web design and development. 

Kunal adds that soft skills like effective communication, team management, and delivering feedback can be just as important.

This remains true in the very closely aligned space of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI)—which sometimes extend beyond online. Many of the relevant skills, especially soft skills, overlap. For example, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills are critical, David Phelps, head of the display division at Samsung Electronics America, previously told Fortune. 

Why is web design important?

A website’s entire purpose is dependent on having effective design. For many companies, the end-to-end service being provided may be entirely online. So, every detail matters. Even one incorrect link, oddly sized button, or weird font can turn a user away.

Website accessibility is also a large consideration in web design. Visually impaired individuals rely on screen reader software to verbalize web content, so, for images in particular, building in alternative text to convey the messages is important. Other things like a lack of color contrast or lack of video captions can also hinder user ability. 

Web designers’ work may often be taken for granted. There is a level of expectation in today’s world that businesses must simply have user-friendly websites that only keep people’s interest but also leave them satisfied enough to return.

The field is also constantly innovating, and even you can be part of building the next best website or feature. But that cannot happen overnight, and you have to start learning somewhere. For those with an interest in learning more about web design, Fortune has started the education process for you by listing alphabetically just some of the web design courses available for you to take online.

5 ways to learn learn web design online

Codecademy: Web design courses

Codecademy offers dozens of free opportunities to learn the ins-and-outs of basic web design. The courses focus on the intricacies of HTML and CSS as well as the best practices for effective UX and UI design. 

Cost: Free (certificate with paid plan)

Length: Courses range from 1 hour to 13 hours

Johns Hopkins University: HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers

Participants in Johns Hopkins course on web development focuses on three main skills: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The instructor walks students through real-world examples, including coding a website for a Chinese restaurant. Each module includes a collection of videos, readings, quizzes, and peer review.

Cost: $49/month

Length: 3 weeks (13 hours/week)

LinkedIn Learning: Web design courses

LinkedIn has a plethora of offerings in the web design space, including ways to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more. What’s good is that the completed courses and skills can be easily showcased on your LinkedIn profile—which may come in handy for career development. Check with your public library, university, or employer to see if you can access LinkedIn Learning for free. 

Cost: ~$34.99

Length: Various; self-paced

Scrimba: Various front-end, web design courses

Scrimba offers several courses focused on areas core to web design, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, responsive design, APIs, and more—many of which are free. Included in its “Frontend Developer Career Path” (required paid subscription) are over 1100 lessons and over 71 hours of coursework.

Cost: $38/month

Length: Hundreds of self-paced lessons

University of Michigan: Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization

Two professors from the University of Michigan School of Information seek to teach those with no experience the foundations of web design. Students can expect to learn HTM5, CSS3, and JavaScript as well as the importance of having responsive design (meaning the site changes depending on the size and type of browser). The series concludes with a capstone project.

Cost: $49/month

Length: 2 months (10 hours/week)

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