Girl Develop It Philadelphia Message Board › Beginner interested in improving web design skills seeking advice

Beginner interested in improving web design skills seeking advice

Caity T.
user 83778112
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 1
Hi everyone-

I recently joined this group hoping to improve my very basic web design skills. I took a web basics course in my undergrad, and took an into to web design course while pursuing my MLIS. Since graduating I've had some difficulty finding long-term work, so I'm trying to find a way to make myself more marketable. I also really enjoyed the limited experience I have with web design. I've designed a couple of websites from scratch and using Dreamweaver, so have a pretty good understanding of the basics of HTML and CSS (with a little experience using XML). Any suggestions for a good next step to take? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated smile
lisa
user 15640101
Lawrence Township, NJ
Post #: 20
The philly tech community has been welcoming to me as with my emerging web design business. i focus on WordPress for building websites (there is a great community locally).

One skill I would like to get a good grasp of is SaSS. While I don't hear it specifically mentioned in WordPress groups.....it seems to be a time saver for designing. I attended a nice intro from Catherine Farman at Philly Women in Tech Summit recently. I think Girl Develop It had a class on this topic too.

A big challenge is consistently making time for professional development/skills enrichment while getting new client projects and completing current client projects. My path into web design has been unconventional. However, I am finding it to be a good match for my natural work flow.
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More details of stuff I do...
Just a few groups out of many that are available.....Girl Develop It, WordCamp Philly, WordPress Philly Meetup, Philly Tech Week, Philly Women in Tech Summit. While not every local tech group focuses on web design, I always find that I meet a few people to build up my network. Interestingly I have found several project opps by "listening" on twitter and I use linkedin too.

While I did take a BASIC html/css course, most of my learning has been hands on/learning via testing with a variety of web design projects.

I listen to a variety of podcasts at the gym about webdesign, marketing and WordPress which give me other ideas to try. I also watch the DRADCAST(all about wordpress).

I thought about taking a community college course in dreamweaver a while back but did not hear many industry leaders mentioning it so I forged ahead with WordPress.

My original career was not in tech arena, however, I feel grateful that I have been able to make the transition with the support from groups like Girl Develop It. In previous years I attended Wharton Web Conference (not about web design specifically) and just being around other successful people in tech, gave me more inertia to move ahead. This year, I am attending Penn State UX Conference, may be a bit of a stretch, but should give me some new ideas.
Elise W.
user 22897271
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 1
Hi, Caity! First, I think it's great you're trying to round out your web expertise with more design.

If you come from a more IS background, I think you'll probably be well-served by some basics of design. How do people view and digest visual information, what constitutes "good" design, what historical movements stressed different aspects of design and are available for you to draw from, etc. Your best bet would probably be an introductory graphic design or art history course, maybe at an area college.

If you're a bit more interested in interaction design and usability (which I personally prioritize a little more highly than pure aesthetics, when it comes to the web), try a course or a talk on user experience or something similar. I think we've all seen beautiful web sites that are a complete pain to use, and the object would be to avoid that. :) There are some great UX meetups in the area... Philly CHI comes to mind.

Another great way to get some insight and perspective is to team up with a designer you trust and whose work you like. I'm sure they'd be happy to learn from you, as much as you'd like to learn from them. Try to talk about what you enjoy about their designs and get them to explain how and why they came to those decisions.

Good luck!
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