I’ve been in the web design business quite a while and even though it’s a constant learning experience, it baffles me about how some sites are created. All of the beautiful designs I see are paralleled by completely ugly sites that are created by “experienced” web designers. That’s not to say they are completely clueless as to site layout but they are clueless as to what today’s designs should look like.

Web designs in the past were simply text on a page. It was mainly set up so that information can be seen from anywhere in the world. Of course, like all things in this day and age, the web evolved into what it is today. The sites started to get more creative and this included different layouts with tables (not used anymore for layout except by some inexperience individuals or severly outdated sites), background colors, background images, or animated backgrounds (don’t do this anymore). Imagine if you, a skilled designer, could go back in time and work your magic. Granted, many things you can do today could not be done in the past as the browsers were lacking the features that today’s browsers have since the technology back then was very limited. Technology of today such as the JavaScript frameworks like jQuery, Scriptaculous, etc. were not available. Designs today are now focused on HTML5 and CSS3 along with CSS Preprocessors like LESS, Sass, Turbine, Stylus and Swith CSS to name a few. The CSS Preprocessors are more programmaticaly designed so they take a little getting used to that regular CSS but they are more efficient to utilize on your site. Not to mention, if the future of writing CSS so you may as well get on board. Not saying you can’t use regular CSS but it’s helpful to expand your knowledge in this arena as it makes you a more marketable designer.

Not to get of track though. As I had stated in the above paragraph, many sites I see are still using tables for layout? They are only to be used for data and not layout. That’s one of the things CSS is all about and incorporating DIVs in the websites. Not to mention, creating a responsive design (a site that can be viewed on your desktop computer as well as restructuring to be viewed on your mobile phone) isn’t possible if you just used tables. Can you make tables themselves responsive? Yes, there are ways of utilizing CSS and JavaScript to achieve this but only for the data and can’t be for a full page design. Not only are they using tables but making very clunky graphics that sparkle and rotate like the multiple animated gif images of the past on someone’s background. There absolutely some horrible sites out there. If you want a laugh, you can check out http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/. I’ve even worked with some of these people, that went as far to say that tables were how they learned it and they refused to change. Even I knew that you needed to adapt and change with new technologies and at the time, I was a newbie! They have since jumped on the bandwagon as they were being left behind although they still haven’t fully embraced it and need me to guide them in the right direction still as they are still resisting learning the new technologies to change.

If you are going to design websites either for a living or as a side gig, it’s best to allow yourself to grow as technology grows. We are all capable of learning and lifelong learning is a term that is being used all the time. I suggest visiting your local book store or library and getting the latest books on new design technologies, design inspiration, or software. You can even go online to view online tutorials on the many topics I have discussed which is a better avenue for some people as online learning can be quicker alternative. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can accomplish and make the web as beautiful as it should be.