For someone who is not good working with his hands, I am impressed with how much I learned about web design and how far I’ve come. My first web page, all the way back in October, consisted of an unordered list, links to my work on Snooth and plain text. And that’s it. Oh yeah, it was gray, too. I remember rattling my brain for ideas with my limited skill set, stressing over how ugly the darn thing looked. Now, I’ve got a responsive, striking design and I love it. This may sound like a “duh” statement, but I improved only through practicing and experimenting with the code.
Learning to code is similar to learning guitar (or any other musical instrument, I would imagine). When I first picked up a guitar a few months ago, my fingers stumbled all over the fret board. I couldn’t even press down hard enough on the strings to play the notes I wanted. My head swiveled back and forth between my fretting fingers and my picking hand because I couldn’t navigate my way around without stopping and searching for the right strings. Playing a barre chord was so beyond me that I thought I’d never get it. Then, one day, out of the blue, I played an F chord. I couldn’t believe the change that took place overnight.
It was the same with coding. I didn’t know how to do what I wanted because I didn’t know the selectors, or I wouldn’t upload my CSS files to the right folder (if I had a nickel for every time I did that …). When I first attempted to make boxes, they displayed vertically even though I coded them to display horizontally. The text spilled outside of the box when the browser window shrank, and I had no idea why. Now, I can make a box, position it and house text inside it with no problem. Of course, there’s plenty I still need to learn about coding, but I feel comfortable operating in a text editor.
While I’m mostly happy with the way my website turned out, there’s one big thing I would like to fix once I can figure it out: Right now, text only displays over my first image (which links to my article) when you hover over it. So, if you don’t hover over it, or if you’re using a mobile device, you would never know that image is clickable. Learning the code to impose text over an image is my next goal in web design.
To those who have yet to take Internet and Writing Studies, the best advice I can offer you is to familiarize yourself with the selectors. That’s half the battle right there. Once you know what everything does, you can see how they interact and what kinds of whacky, unintended things they do with each other so you can make them play nice. I enjoyed the course since I always enjoy learning something new, and I plan to continue to practice coding for my own benefit. I am looking forward to starting the Information Architecture course in the upcoming weeks.