Although I created my first web page back in 1997, I began designing them full time in 2004. In 1997 I was designing just text pages and my layout was table based. Now, in 2006 all of layout is CSS based, so if you are starting a web career, you have to know how to design XHTML/CSS valid page.
How to start?
We all started somehow, right? When I started to build my clients web sites with CSS positioning (2005), it was difficult at first. I asked Alen how to learn XHTML/CSS and he said to me that the best way is to visit that kind of pages, read the code behind them, look up to showcase sites like Stylegala, CSS Beauty, CSS Vault, CSS Import, Unmatched Style and to follow the links found there. For now, this is the best advice I had:).
To all starters I suggest them first to learn how to build a single page. Define the elements, draw a sketch of your page (where the elements are positioned), what the colors will be? Then get a tool that you like (I use Dreamweaver for two main reasons – 1st auto close tags and 2nd CTRL+SHIFT+U automatic upload) and learn how to use it to the full potential. Now you are ready to go.
What is next?
So you already followed the steps and want to start, eager to learn? We all talk about XHTML/CSS but if you haven’t build a web page so far, this is maybe a difficult start. Try with tables. Everything on a page can be positioned with tables too. It’s not the best solution but when you learn that table acts pretty much the same as a DIV then the XHTML won’t seem so difficult.
After year and a half designing with CSS positioning I am not insane to go back to table based design, but if I haven’t learn to position element with tables I would have a problem adjusting to CSS.
I will be releasing some articles for beginners in XHTML/CSS to help them start building web sites. I know the problems I had during the learning process so maybe I could help somebody else not to repeat mistakes I made. If I could help one, that is a lot. Stay tuned.