Monday, August 5, 2013

Guest Post: Sam from Bits and Pieces

It's time for a guest post from my fav fellow blogger friend, Sam from The Bits & Pieces Life.  
Sam has helped teach me HTML and worked on the layout of my blog, which you can read more about here.  I asked Sam to do a guest post so that she can share her story on learning web design and understanding the language of computers.  

Design is such a funny word. In it’s bare bones definition, it’s a creation of a process/plan for an object. When it comes to word “design” people often think fashion or interior designs.  I, for one, still look to my mother to help me out with fashion and I literally just copy the interior designs in Ikea to get a decent looking room. But when it comes to web design, it sort of come natural to me because it blends two of my favorite seemingly clashing worlds, technology and art. 

I got my artistic side from my mother, who encouraged me to sketch and draw, act and sing. And I got my tech know-how from my father, who was introduced me to videogames at the age of two and taught me how to build a functioning computer by the age of seven. As for when I got started in web design, it was in the days of Myspace, where you were able to customize your MySpace profile page with whatever you felt expresses you. I didn’t realize what I was doing was graphic and web design at the time; I just wanted to make my Myspace page awesome. So I learned how to copy the bits of code of profile themes I liked and paste it along with other bits of code until it formed a cohesive profile. I remember tirelessly creating backgrounds with Microsoft Paint (I couldn’t afford Photoshop back in the day.) When I did finish my first profile page that I actually loved, I felt so proud of myself. But then I had a thought creep into my head “I could do more.” Creating something so artful out of little pieces of code lit a fire within me. I remember in high school I spent hours researching and teaching myself basic HTML and CSS, and offering to do my school’s Drama Department site as well as taking commissions online to make blog webpages. However I realized there was only so much I could do with Paints, and with so many talented graphic artists using Illustrator and Photoshop, web design just fell into the background when I started college.

For my minor I had to take a basic computing class, where one of the projects was to actually build a cohesive website. By this point I finally got training in Photoshop and I knew all the basic coding that was covered in class! I remember getting an A- on the project because I didn’t follow the professor guidelines (Even though he made note that I had the one of the best looking sites he has seen a student do.) However, it reignited that spark and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve designed websites for my chapter of my sorority, my father’s budding business, projects my friends started, and I try to keep improving myself every day by looking at other web designers and figuring out piece by piece on how they coded their websites. You wouldn’t think it’s fun, but I actually enjoy designing blogs more than actual blogging!

So that’s how I learned how to do web design and whatnot. If you’re a budding web designer, who has the creative side but doesn’t have the computer chops to back it up, here is my advice. Don’t be afraid of the code. Seriously, it’s just a bunch of characters, HTML is super easy to pick up and if you can’t get something right, there are so many resources that the internet has for troubleshooting, you just got to look. But if you find yourself, knowing the tech sides of things but have trouble getting an artistic scheme to your site, look around! Discover what elements of sites you do or do not like. And just break it down, structurally. No matter what though, when it comes to web design, I just want to say, you might just surprise yourself with how much you actually do know. 

Thanks Sam!  
How did you learn to code?

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