Killersites Newsletter Archive

Steps to Take when Starting Web Design

Killersites Newsletter Archive: December 29th, 2003

A Quick Tip

Let's say you have a page that is designed to look great at a particular window size (not a good idea), but the problem is that you have no way of controlling the window size with which people will be viewing your pages. There are no sure-fire techniques, but there a few ways you can manipulate the user's screen size.

The easiest method is to use a little JavaScript. Place this code in between the <head> and </head> tag at the top of your HTML page:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"> 

Next, change this line:


to the screen size you want. Now it is set to 1024x768, a common resolution. But you may need to set it to another screen size, like 800x600. The above JavaScript code (the programming language of the web browsers) uses one of JavaScript's built-in functions, 'resizeTo'. JavaScript has many functions that allow you to do all kinds of interesting and, sometimes, even useful things.

(Remember, functions are like mini-programs that have little jobs to do.)

At this time, the most common resolutions people seem to be using are 800x600 and 1024x768. Because of this, if you have a public website you'll probably want to design your pages so that they fit nicely in 800x600. Also, when you want the page to fit 800x600, you have to create a little extra room for the browser scroll bars, etc.

Don't mix up screen resolution with window size; screen resolution refers to how many pixels the entire monitor can display, whereas window size has to do with how many pixels the browser window is.

Steps to take when starting web design

The question:

I am going to start my web design classes in January; what would you suggest I start doing, right now, to help me with the classes next quarter? Should I take the courses at Tucson Design College? I would like to know your opinion so that I can be successful. I love the Internet and want to do some websites. Also, what is an excellent resource for job placement? Are there places I should look into to get me on my way down my career path?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The answer:

In the web design industry, experience and skill are everything. Your first priorities are to build websites, and to build up a portfolio. College can help speed up the process, but, in the end, the teacher will just be pointing the way; you will still have to do all the work. I would do the tutorials on and start building websites as soon as possible. You should also get feedback from other web designers on the forum. You will find that a little reasonable criticism of your work will go a long way in helping you build a solid foundation as a web designer.

I strongly suggest that, first, you learn to code (HTML, CSS) by hand, and later jump into Dreamweaver. Learning to code will give you a huge advantage over the competition, and it will also make your life much easier in your day-to-day web work. You will also need to learn Photoshop and the basics of design theory.

You need to determine whether you are a better designer or coder; people tend to excel at one or the other. Understanding this about yourself will go a long way in determining where to focus your studies and work.

I can't speak about job placement because I have always owned my own company. But, I would suggest that, once you have some basic skills, you look for a company who needs a website that you can help build. Look for a small company, and do it for free, just to get some real experience. Who knows, you may find yourself running your own web design company!


Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

If you liked the article and you want to see more let me know!

Stefan Mischook.

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