Before you even begin as a web designer, you’re going to need the right kit. We’ve got our own personal list here, but keep in mind that everyone has different opinions on which software is the best, with a million different suggestions for every type of job.

Our list includes what are generally considered the most popular tools. They also offer the largest amount of help and tutorials, so they are perfect for beginners.

Hardware

Obviously you’ll need a PC to do web design. You might be thinking that you would already have to own a PC to read this, but is it good enough? A slow or old PC is going to work against you as a designer.

If you can afford the price, many programmers prefer using a MAC. If you’re on a budget or simply prefer Windows though, you won’t be at any disadvantage as many of the most popular tools work across both platforms.

Having a large amount of RAM is the most important consideration for designers. You’ll often find yourself opening up several memory intensive programs at once. Having these programs all communicating with each other eats memory fast, so you’ll need at least 2GB to work efficiently. Anything over 4GB tends to be overkill right now.

Because you won’t often be working with 3D graphics or video editing, you won’t need a particularly fast processor. If you’re on a tight budget, you can upgrade the memory in your computer for around £30, which should give you a good speed boost if your computer is a few years old.

Other extras you should consider are a graphics tablet and dual monitors. These will greatly increase your productivity, but can be expensive.

Software

o Graphic Editing: The jury is still very much out on which program is the best for beginners to learn graphic editing. The argument is generally between Adobe Fireworks and Adobe Photoshop. There’s a wealth of training manuals available for both, and it’s worth your time to familiarise with both anyway. Adobe Illustrator is also a very useful program to have on hand.

o Web Browsers: One key challenge for web designers is to make their site look the same on every single web browser. Because every browser interprets things different, you need to make sure they are acting as you expect. Download Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera and Safari as these are the browsers that will be most used by your clients. Luckily, all of them are free!

o Design: Hands down the best tool for web designers is Adobe Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver let’s you mess around with all sorts of page elements visually, so you can actually see the effect of your changes. Other features like a colour system for your code and auto-completion will come in very handy for beginners.

The cost of the software will be the main problem for many budding designers. There are alternatives to the costly Adobe products, however. Nvu can replace Dreamweaver and GIMP can replace Photoshop. Both work on Windows and are completely free, but neither will be able to offer the range of tutorials and guides available for the bigger name programs. Adobe often offers 30 day trials of their products, so you can try them out to see if they are worth the high initial cost.

While there are various other programs required (or desired) by designers, with just a few major programs you should be able to learn a considerable amount about the trade.



Source by James Godwin