Beginner’s Guide: How to Learn Web Designing at Home

Vincent Xia
11 min readJun 23, 2017


In today’s world,knowing how to do web design is becoming more and more important and is now an indispensible skill for designers. Web design can be quite complex and daunting, but with the development of the Internet and technology, web design can be easier than ever before nowadays. There are many resources on the Internet, and everyone can learn to be a great web designer on their own. In this article, I will guide you about how to learn web design at home briefly.

Table of contents:

  • What is web design?
  • What skills do web designers need to have?
  • The basic five elements of web design
  • Best resources to learn web design at home

What is web design?

Many young or new designers often misunderstand the concept of web design. Web design refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet. It usually refers to the user experience aspects of website development rather than software development. Therefore, even someone without any technical knowledge can become a great web designer using platforms like Mockplus, Figma or Sketch. Of course, it would be great if you know some coding language (HTML, CSS, Java), but you can’t get yourself deep into front-end development, that’s not the core of web design. The core of web design is visual and interaction. It aims to solve the communication problems between users and web page information.

What skills do web designers need to have?

As young designers, you may feel confused about what skills to master when you start your career. In this part, we will explore the top skills that a young web designer must have. Now, let’s dive in.

Simply speaking, visual design is the process of improving the UI and UX of a web/app through visual elements and effects, including colors, illustrations, photography, typography, layouts, white spaces and the like. In contrast to UI design, it focuses more heavily on the visual effects of web/app design and aims to engage users. As beginners, if you want to have a great visual design, you need to bear the basic principles of scale, visual hierarchy, balance, contrast and gestalt in mind, which can help you to drive engagement and increase usability.

Layout design is the process of arranging visual elements — like text, images, and shapes — on a given page. Layout design is critically important for website design, because it can determine the overall appearance and the connection among graphic elements on the page to achieve a smooth message flow to maximize performance.

Different color combinations on a given page can offer varying experiences and visual contrasts for the visitor, making it a critical component for website design. Do bear the basic principles of color, which can help you create effective color schemes for your website.

Interaction design is about creating engaging interfaces with well-thought-out behaviors. For web designers, you need to have basic knowledge about interaction design, like creating design strategies, identifying key wireframe interactions, and prototype interactions, which can help you to create a user-friendly experience for your visitors.

There are many prototyping and design tools for you to choose to create your website. As beginners, you need to choose one like Mockplus that is easy to use and offers you various built-in components,which can help you quickly get a first visual impression of your future website. With Mockplus, you don’t have to wait for the final screen design and instead you can validate your ideas within minutes.

  • To understand the basic coding language(HTML, CSS)

As it’s stated above, web design is not about software development and you do not have to get yourself deep into front-end development. But as a designer, having basic programming knowledge allows you to collaborate with developers more efficiently. Here we have some best and free online websites for beginners to learn coding.

  • Be familiar with your company product and the user group

No matter if you are a beginner or a professional designer, the purpose of your design is to present the value of your product or business to your customers. So the last but least skill for a designer is to have a clear persona and create a design that meets your customers’ needs.

The five basic elements of web design

After you master all the skills above, it’s time to turn the page on that sketchbook and start your web design. Here are five basic design elements you’ll want to make sure you get it right.

  • Overall layout

The overall look of your website is a crucial component of web design. Studies find that

users take only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of your website or business, and that will determine whether they’ll stay or leave. Therefore, you need to keep your design simple, clean and accessible, and at the same time, use grid-based designs to keep design items organized and orderly, thus creating a great overall layout.

  • Color scheme

The color palette and fonts on your site will directly inform your visitors’ opinions of your site and are what most novice designers start with. Wondering what color scheme to choose? Just turn to your brand or industry perspectives — along with your target audience demographics — will help to save your workload and make this a somewhat painless process.

  • Typography

Speaking of typography or font design, you need to make your text easily readable, which generally means the body copy should be at least 16 pixels. It is ideal to use a complementary font for headings or accents, but do not go beyond three typefaces or unnecessary sizing adjustments.

  • Navigation

Navigation plays an integral role in how users interact with and use your site or products.

Navigation design is the discipline of creating, analyzing and implementing ways for users to navigate through a website or app. Just take some time to place your navigational elements at the right place on your site, you can make it exist in a site’s header, body, and footer, but simply serve to direct your visitors to the information they desire as quickly as possible.

  • Content

After you got the layout, color scheme, typefaces, and navigation design, now you need to add content to your site to make it trustworthy and capable of delivering top-notch products and services. Efficiency is key, as extra words can stand in the way and dull your brand’s primary selling points. So just think short and sweet to make your content organized and informative.

Best resources to learn web design at home

As the novel coronavirus spread around the globe, we do not have many chances to study at school or work with others, but learning is a life thing, we can also learn from some professionals at home. In this part, we will share with you some of the best resources to learn web design.

Web design learning books

  1. HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

This book is a full-color introduction to the basics of HTML and CSS from the publishers of Wrox. This educational book is one that you will enjoy picking up, reading, then referring back to. It will make designers wish other technical topics were presented in such a simple, attractive and engaging way.

2. Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide

This book has been recently revised and it is ideal for students and professionals of all backgrounds and skill levels. It is simple and clear enough for beginners, yet thorough enough to be a useful reference for experienced developers keeping their skills up to date.

3. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

In this second edition, Steve Krug adds essential ammunition for those whose bosses, clients, stakeholders, and marketing managers insist on doing the wrong thing. If you design, write, program, own, or manage Web sites, you must read this book. — Jeffrey Zeldman, author of Designing with Web Standards

4. Design for Hackers

This book helps beginning designers understand good design: where it comes from, how it can be produced (and reproduced) and what you can do to turn yourself into a great web designer.

5. Designing with Web Standards

This book was refreshed recently with the involvement of Ethan Marcotte. Designers will learn the how’s and the why’s of writing standards-compliant HTML and CSS through this book, Designing with Web Standards, as well as techniques for dealing with common web design issues.

Web design online courses

  1. TreeHouse: Web Design Track

The web design track of TreeHouse offers 43 hours of video and interactive lessons on HTML, CSS, layouts, and other web design basics. It also includes basic skills for a budding graphic designer, like an SVG tutorial.

2. Envato Tuts+: Responsive Web Design for Beginners

The Tuts+ responsive web design course for beginners is a quick introduction to the basics of responsive design, HTML, CSS, media queries, and more. You can learn how to use design software like Adobe XD and Sketch from other courses and also get access to millions of stock photos, web templates, and more with the same membership.

3. Future Learn: User Experience (UX) Design and Research

This User Design and Research program from Future Learn and the University of Michigan is perfect for aspiring web designers who want to learn more about UX design. You can learn how to develop a better understanding of how users interact with websites and apps and use the skills to offer more comprehensive services, beyond a basic website design.

4. OpenHPI: Human-Centered Design Course

If you want to improve your design fundamentals, this course on human-centered design is a great place to start. It can help you improve your ideation and research skills and quickly (in 10 hours) build your fundamental skill set as a designer.

5. WebFlow University: Ultimate Web Design Course

This Ultimate Web Design Course is a free course offered by WebFlow university, an online learning platform hosted and developed by the CMS and design tool WebFlow.

It offers designers over 5 hours of video lessons and is a great introduction to all things about web design.

Top 5 web design blogs to follow

  1. Smashing Magazine

This blog has everything you need from graphics to inspiration and a good deal of design. Its blog content is organized by category, covering topics like user experience, web design, React, JavaScript, CSS, and accessibility. All of the content shared on this website is designed to be easy-to-read and informative.

2. Webdesigner Depot

Webdesigner Depot stands out among the most popular design blogs in the world. It has a comprehensive hub of tech tips, news, thought leadership posts, and inspiration. It is frequently updated with content from a series of experienced authors. In this blog, you will get the latest design news, explore the pros and cons of different coding systems, discover and learn from some of the best design resources around.

3. Mockplus Blog

Mockplus is more than just a blog producer. The company offers designers a design platform to prototype, design and collaborate, and with scalable design systems, your design workflow will be completely streamlined. It has everything design teams need to go from ideation to execution. The Mockplus blog delivers easy-to-consume content to designers from all environments, using various kinds of tools and software. Many of its popular posts are lists of useful resources, websites, and downloads you can use in your design tasks.

4. Web Design Ledger

This blog is beautifully organized and packed with helpful information. Web designers can find content categories for portfolio work, mobile design, business development, ecommerce, and even wearable devices on this website. More than that, it has a review section, where you can check out some of the latest tools available for design professionals.

5. Web Design Library

This is a simple but very attractive blog environment for design professionals. It provides a lot of valuable information for beginners and professionals looking to hone their skills. The “Freebies” section on the site is a great place to visit for budget-friendly resources too.

Coding resources for web designers

  1. W3Schools

W3Schools is a freemium educational website for learning coding online. It offers courses covering all aspects of web development. It is run by Refsnes Data in Norway. It is a web developer information website, with tutorials and references relating to web development topics such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, PHP and ASP.NET.

2. Codecademy

Codecademy is an entirely free educational website where many beginners get their start. The company is committed to empowering all people, regardless of where they are in their coding journeys, to continue to learn, grow, and make an impact on the world around them.


Udemy is an online learning platform where you can find coding resources for beginners or more advanced programmers there. It also provides programming courses on almost any language and framework imaginable.

4. freeCodeCamp

This is a completely free tool for coding and only requires an email address to get started. On this website, you can learn powerful skills such as JavaScript, HML5, CSS3, and more. You can also further develop your skills by working in a small team to build solutions for nonprofits while gaining real-life experience.

5. edX

This website offers university-level courses in various computer science disciplines, including Python, front-end and full-stack development, and blockchain. The courses on this site is free but if you want to a verified certificate, you need to pay $50–$300.

Wrap up

Whether you are a beginning designer or a professional designer, you need to bear in mind that learning is the only way to achieve your goal. If you want to know about how to learn web design at home to hone your skills, above is all you have to know. You can build your design circle in there, but you can’t be a web designer by tooling around. Just take your time to learn and be a professional designer as you want. Wish you good luck.



Vincent Xia

I love to share all things about UI/UX, Web design! e-Mail: