Basic Tools for Beginning Web Designers

Web design can be exciting and fun, and a great way to express your creativity. But it can also be confusing and a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. So where do you start? There are a few basic tools you’ll want to start with:

A Book

A great book to help you get started is HTML, XHTML, and CSS All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies. This particular book is ideal because it covers just about everything you need to know in order to begin creating websites. You’ll learn the basics of:







Depending on the type of site you are creating and how involved you want to get, you’ll use some or all of these things. When you are done with this book, you’ll have the basics mastered to create a site as simple or as complicated as you want.

What to use to create web pages

An important thing to note is that you do not want to use a word processor such as Word to create web pages. Instead, use a simple text editor that saves it as plain text with no formatting. A few options (depending on your operating system:

Linux: gEdit

Windows: Notepad

Mac: TextEdit

Validating your web pages

When you create a page, you’ll want to make sure it’s compliant. Pages that are compliant should display properly in any web browser.

The W3C Markup Validation Service is an excellent tool for validating your web pages and ensuring that they are compliant. You can validate by entering a URL, by uploading your file, or by pasting your code into a text box on the page. It will either tell you your code is compliant or it will tell you the errors you have.

Style and Color

CSS is what gives your pages style and color. This is where you’ll define text style, size and whether it’s normal, bold or italicized. This is also where you’ll determine placement of the different parts of the page, such as pictures, text and titles. You’ll also specify colors for the background, text, links and other things.

You can use a color designing tool for the colors. A good one is the Color Scheme Designer. You can choose one color and get others that go well with it. The best part of this is that you see the colors all together so you can ensure you don’t choose a color for your text that closely matches your background and makes it hard to read.

A couple of browsers

Regardless of your reason for building the site, you want as many visitors as possible. This means making sure it’s accessible to as many browsers as possible. If it’s displaying awkwardly or not at all, you need to know this so you can correct it. You need to at least have IE and Firefox to look at your site on and ensure the page looks good.


You are bound to run into at least one problem you can’t solve. When that happens, employ one of the countless websites that has information, tutorials, videos and tips to help you. You can also join a web design forum where you can get other real people to look at your code and help you.

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