Best Online Web Design Courses: Learn To Make Epic Webpages

Best Online Web Design Courses: Learn To Make Epic Webpages

With the world edging even further into the online realm, demand for eye-catching websites is set to soar. Web design is a booming industry, and it’s not too late to snag yourself a slice of the pie.

Whether you’re a first-time designer or an industry vet looking to bolster your skills, there’s an online web design course out there to suit your needs. But with so many options cluttering the marketplace—many of which are dubious at best—how can you sort the wheat from the chaff?

We’ve researched and reviewed the best online web design courses to help pinpoint the ideal option for you. And to make sense of it all when perusing our reviews, we’ve included stacks of supplementary info on what you need to get started and how to find the perfect course.

Orientation: Getting Started

A well-designed website is a magnificent marketing tool companies can use to sell goods and services online. But it’s not good enough to just have an online presence; a website needs to be attractive, informative, compelling, and user-friendly to entice browsers into a sale.

With so much competition, only the most refined website designs will stand out from the pack. Companies around America and throughout the world are paying big bucks for skilled and creative designers to deliver the goods.

Qualifications

Unlike other IT sectors, kick-starting a career in web design doesn’t require any college qualifications. While a comprehensive four-year degree from a flashy university may look great on your CV, it’s not strictly necessary come crunch time. Employers are more interested in your proven track record than your education history; your key focus should be on building an impressive portfolio.

To create a compelling portfolio and obtain real-world work experience, your first step will be to learn the art of web design. And that means doing a course; although this isn’t the kind of gig where you can learn everything on the job.

The Tools of the Trade

Like a carpenter needs a hammer and nail, the web designer dips into a toolbox of powerful computerized applications. Exactly which software suites you opt for comes down to personal preference and project requirements, although there are a few universally adored options to familiarize yourself with.

  • Illustration and Photo Editing: Photoshop, Sketch, GIMP, Illustrator
  • Local Dev: XAMPP, DesktopServer
  • Front End Dev: React, Bootstrap
  • Interaction Design: Invision Studio, Adobe XD
  • Animation:js, Animate.css
  • jQuery: Parallax Scrolling, Lazy load
  • CMS: WordPress

Other Essential Skills

Not only will you need to wrap your head around the technical jargon, but there are a slew of other generalist skills you need to master to succeed in the sector.

As you might have guessed from the name, you’ll need a keen eye for design in this field. Web design is a creative pursuit that requires a basic understanding of critical design principles: color, layout, typeface, purpose, and communication.

You must understand the fundamental concepts of consumer psychology, including social proof and decision paralysis. Using grid-based layouts and an “F pattern” design can help lure eyeballs towards the most important portions of your page. What’s more, the business side of the job is just as important as the design itself, especially if you go down the freelance route. Research how to price projects, negotiate conditions, and pitch proposals.

If you feel you could use a little help in these areas, pick a course from our list that includes the relevant concepts.

Course Comparison Chart

For a quick overview of our recommended web design courses, we’ve put the most critical information into the following chart.

CourseCostLengthCertificateSuitable ForRating
Web Design for Beginners$9911 hoursYesBeginners5.0
CSS BasicsFree5 WeeksYes, but paidCSS skills5.0
The Basics of Web-Design Layout$19 per month3 hoursYesLayout skills5.0
Full-Stack Web Development With React Specialization$39-79 per month3 monthsYesReact specialization4.5
Ultimate Web Design CourseFreeFive hoursYesWebFlows designers4.5
BYOL Beginner Web DesignFreeFour hoursNoBeginners4.0
freeCodeCamp: Introduction to Responsive Web DesignFreeFour hoursNoResponsive design4.0
Treehouse Web Design Track$25-40 per month40 hoursYesEveryone3.5

Course List

woman sitting at a laptop computer

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s check out the top eight online web design courses on the internet today.

We’ve researched and reviewed the most reputable options from the world’s leading online educational services, plus thrown in a few independent educators for good measure.

Top 8 Best Online Web Design Courses 2021


1. Best for Beginners: Web Design for Beginners

  • 11 hours of video lectures $99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Easy-to-follow, well-structured course aimed squarely at rookie designers
  • Affordable one-time payment (no reoccurring fees)
  • Covers HTML and CSS

Why we like it

With no software or skill requirement to speak of, this widely popular Udemy course offers a superb introduction to the art form for beginners.

Who The Course Is For

While you will find some intermediate-level content in this popular Udemy course, the comprehensive video lecture program is primarily targeted towards beginners. As a result, there’s no need for any special qualifications to get started, and the course doesn’t require any expensive software applications.

The course is suitable for beginners seeking to obtain a general understanding of front-end web development.

Review

This widely popular course from esteemed educator Brad Schiff currently boasts over 60,000 students and counting, making it one of the most sought-after beginner-friendly web design options on the platform.

Above all else, the program stands out for how easy it is for a novice learner to follow, with a clear explanation of jargon and simple outlines on HTML and CSS theory. By the end of the course, students will have learned to create an attractive website without relying on a restrictive site-builder tool.

As a neat bonus, Brad updates the content regularly—it’s a best-seller, after all. In July 2020, for example, he added a section on making a website live using the GitHub Pages service.

Pros

  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Great for beginners
  • Covers essential HTML and CSS

Cons

  • No advanced content
  • Not as all-encompassing as other paid courses
  • No communication with the facilitator


2. Best for CSS: CSS Basics

  • 5 weeks (5-7 hours per week) Free (certificate costs $183USD) Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: Available for a fee
  • Learn how to select basic CSS properties
  • Master web design best practices
  • Discover core CSS selectors

Why we like it

This well-designed course walks users through the basics of CSS, enabling them to transform their websites from “bland to bold” through simple step-by-step instructions.

Who The Course Is For

This comprehensive five-week course is ideal for beginner to intermediate web designers who’ve already obtained a decent understanding of HTML and would like to enhance their CSS expertise. The program starts from scratch, with no prior knowledge of CSS required.

The course doesn’t spend much time tackling HTML, and you’ll need a reasonable knowledge of the standard mark-up language to work your way through. Nonetheless, Kasey throws in some HTML code where required, so it’s not necessary to be an HTML guru.

Review

Kasey Champion from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) runs this wonderful CSS course, which is a superb option for anyone looking to obtain a solid understanding of this essential style sheet language. Through the power of CSS, Kasey teaches you how to create brilliant, stylized designs with a professional look and feel.

Students learn how to obtain complete control over the look and feel of their creations, tweaking the color, layout, and font as they please. By the end of the course, you’ll understand key CSS concepts, select basic CSS properties, choose fundamental CSS selectors, and be able to adopt Web Design best practices.

The course is comprised of five distinct modules, which you’ll need to work through sequentially over five weeks.

  1. Getting started with CSS
  2. Building CSS rules
  3. HTML targeting with CSS selectors
  4. Layout and positioning
  5. Designing your Web site for your audience

As a self-paced course, learners can obtain new skills in their own time. It’s exclusively available in English and doesn’t come with any foreign language subtitles.

As usual for edX, it’s available for free, though you’ll need to fork out US$183 if you want a certificate (and to support the platform).

Pros

  • Great option for enhancing CSS skills
  • Self-paced learning
  • Comprehensive five-week program
  • Free course

Cons

  • Some HTML required
  • Only available in English (no subtitles)


3. Best for Layout: The Basics of Web-Design Layout

  • 25 lessons / 3 hours $19 per month / $99 per annum Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Master the art of positioning
  • Learn to use an array of apps
  • Get the lowdown on margins, padding, and borders

Why we like it

Skillshare superstar Rich Armstrong custom-built this in-depth web design course for students who need help with layout, and the results are sublime.

Who The Course Is For

Novice web designers who would like to learn more about layout and spacing should enrol in this course on Skillshare. Strictly speaking, you won’t need prior experience with HTML and CSS to get value from the content, although it certainly does help.

If you’re an absolute rookie, you’re probably better off doing an introductory course such as Web Design for Beginners first.

Review

From technical aspects to the eye for design, layout can present problems to rookie web designers. And considering this fundamental aspect is among the most crucial components of effective website design, it’s vital to get your layout done right.

TapTapKaboom founder Rich Armstrong has achieved a Top Teacher rating on Skillshare for his outstanding design-related courses, and this program is no exception.

One of the things we love most about the course is how targeted it is. Throughout the 25 bite-sized video lessons (about 3 hours in total), Rich exclusively focuses on layout. Topics include using margins, borders, display types, and padding to perfect the balance on every page.

Rich gets a bit technical during the lessons that cover positioning, but he still manages to explain the essential elements (static, relative, absolute, fixed, stick, etc.) in a clear and concise way. All lectures get straight to the point, with minimal fluff. In other words, you get a lot of value out of those three hours.

As the icing on the cake, students learn how to master the basic functions of various web design apps: Github / Github Desktop, CodePen, Surge, and Sublime Text.

Pros

  • Exclusively covers web design layout
  • Discusses the technical and creative components
  • Easy-to-follow lectures that get straight to the point

Cons

  • Hard to follow without some HTML and CSS skills


4. Best Full Stack: Full-Stack Web Development With React Specialization

  • 3 months (expect to put in 10 hours per week on average) $39-79 per month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Covers front-end frameworks like Bootstrap 4 and React
  • Learn to use MongoDB for implementing NoSQL databases
  • Become a specialist in React

Why we like it

Run by a prestigious professor from a well-regarded international college, this full-on full-stack course gives you the tools you need to specialize in React.

Who The Course Is For

Budding full-stack developers with a passion for React will get plenty of value out of this extensive three-month program. However, note that learners should already have a solid understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; thus, it isn’t a good option for anyone new to the field.

The online course follows a flexible schedule over three months (about 10 hours per week), making it perfect for professionals to complete in their spare time.

Review

Offered by the highly regarded Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, this 100% online course covers both front-end frameworks and the server-side. Associate Professor Jogesh K. Muppala runs the program, which includes an eclectic ensemble of quizzes, videos, and assignments to complete.

One of the great benefits of this intermediate course is the self-paced structure, which allows practicing industry professionals to enhance their skills outside of office hours. A certificate at the end of the three-course specialization provides proof of your newfound expertise.

Jogesh recommends doing the courses in sequence to optimize comprehension:

  1. Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools: Bootstrap 4
  2. Front-End Web Development with React
  3. Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express, and MongoDB

If you already feel confident in certain areas, you can opt to take individual components rather than signing up for the whole thing.

You’ll need to subscribe to Coursera to get started, but auditing the course is free.

Pros

  • Great for full-stack web developers
  • React specialization
  • Offered by a reputable university
  • Certificate provided upon conclusion

Cons

  • Longer than other courses
  • Only suitable for intermediate learners


5. Best for WebFlow: Ultimate Web Design Course

  • Five hours (100+ videos) Free Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Learn the basics of CSS and HTML
  • Get pro tips on typography, layout, backgrounds, and effects
  • Discover how to use styling basics on WebFlow

Why we like it

From introducing HTML and CSS to typography tips and styling theory, this all-encompassing course from WebFlow University offers stacks of helpful info for free.

Who The Course Is For

Newbie designers interested in learning how to master the WebFlow platform should take this free online crash course from WebFlow University. The platform allows designers to create captivating web pages from an entirely visual canvas; no need to learn complex code to tame this beast.

Review

Although it mightn’t be quite as powerful as other web design suites, there’s no denying WebFlow is easy to use, especially for creative types who like to visualize every website and aren’t keen on coding.

The course is entirely free, but you will eventually have to pay to unlock the WebFlow platform’s more advanced features. On that note, it’s essential to understand the intent at play here: WebFlow provides the course for free to get you hooked on their paid subscription platform. Nonetheless, if you’d like to go down this route, the course is surprisingly comprehensive and well structured.

Also, to their credit, WebFlow goes beyond teaching students how to use their specific suite. Throughout the course, you’ll learn about styling, typography, layout, SEO, and the basic principles behind HTML and CSS.

Pro Tip: As there’s no obligation to follow the course in sequential order, you can skip ahead to the sections that interest you most.

Pros

  • Great introduction to the WebFlow platform
  • Comprehensive course covering most web design principals
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate users
  • Teaches applicable related content like SEO

Cons

  • Only suitable for designers interested in using the WebFlow platform


6. Best Free Introductory Course: BYOL Beginner Web Design

  • 4 hours Free (paid option available) Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: No
  • Learn HTML5 & CSS3 through a step-by-step guide
  • Discover how to use Visual Studio Code, a powerful (and free) web design tool
  • Build four model websites using your newly acquired skills

Why we like it

If you’re considering dipping your toes into the web design world but aren’t ready to throw down cash for a paid course just yet, this no-cost option is as good as you’ll get.

Who The Course Is For

This in-depth online course is aimed at novice web designers with zero coding experience. Although give this one a miss if you’ve already got some skills under your belt.

As a free YouTube course, it’s also an excellent option for beginners who would like to try their hand at web design without investing in a paid course. Low-income learners will also appreciate the actionable, no-cost content found within.

Review

You can learn how to do just about anything on YouTube these days, including all the intricate details of web design.

Popular YouTube channel Bring Your Own Laptop boasts 250K subscribers and counting for its easy-to-follow tutorials. And this superb course is on track to hit a million views. While viewer metrics aren’t always the best measure of quality, it does give some indication as to how many people out there appreciate this entirely free offering.

The four-hour course has been broken into 33 bite-sized chunks, each covering a unique topic or theme. Throughout the program, BYOL teaches you how to create a professional-looking website from the ground up using the popular free source-code editor Visual Studio Code.

We love how BYOL gets learners to build four websites during the course, as performing tasks firsthand is a more effective way to memorize new skills than watching videos. There’s also an extensive series of exercise files you can download and work through at the conclusion of each chapter. Above all else, though, the course excels at explaining complex concepts in a simple, easy-to-digest manner.

Upon concluding the course, you’ll have a solid understanding of basic HTML, CSS, responsive design, flexbox, and Bootstrap—all this without spending a dime.

If you’d like to own the course forever, it’s available to purchase on Udemy. And if you love the BYOL teaching style as much as we do, consider investing $12 per month to get access to all 28 courses.

Pros

  • Explanations suitable for complete beginners
  • Uses the popular and free Visual Studio Code
  • Includes practice exercises and website design assignments
  • 100% free and no sign up required

Cons

  • Too simplistic for intermediate or advanced users
  • Restricted to Visual Studio Code
  • No certificate


7. Best for Responsive Design: freeCodeCamp: Introduction to Responsive Web Design

  • Four hours Free Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: No
  • Learn to create websites for any conceivable device
  • Step-by-step guides on building a responsive website
  • Learn about HTML tags and CSS units

Why we like it

Responsive design is a critical aspect of web design these days. This comprehensive course teaches you how to master the art of creating compelling websites for any device.

Who the Course Is For

Years ago, you could design a website and publish it to the internet straight away, safe in the knowledge it’d look great on any standard computer screen. But nowadays, with consumers viewing content on everything from oversized Smart TVs to cell phones and tiny little watches, it’s imperative to incorporate responsive design.

This highly focused free web design course teaches students the fundamentals of the approach, with in-depth advice on tweaking websites for all modern-day display types. If you struggle with responsive design, then this course is for you.

Although the course doesn’t assume much prior knowledge, you’ll get more out of it by having some familiarity with web design. After all, it’s intended as a responsive design gap filler rather than a general introduction to web design.

Review

freeCodeCamp created this popular responsive design course back in 2019, and it’s earned legendary status among the web design community ever since. Within the four-hour video course, students learn everything from CSS units to rems, page structure, and widgets—all with a keen focus on responsive design.

Kevin Powell is the teacher running the show: he’s been highly praised by thousands of alumni for his ability to explain complex concepts concisely. To help you put your newfound knowledge into practice, the course includes a step-by-step guide on creating a responsive website that looks superb on a range of devices.

If, like us, you adore Kevin’s teaching style, then you’ll be pleased to hear he offers various other free web design-related videos on YouTube, including CSS and HTML.

Pros

  • Completely free YouTube course
  • Highly focused content
  • Doesn’t require in-depth knowledge
  • Great responsive design gap filler

Cons

  • Not suitable for total novices
  • Restricted to responsive design
  • No certificate


8. Most Comprehensive: Treehouse Web Design Track

  • 40 hours Courses are $25 per month and Courses Plus $40 per month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Covers a broad spectrum of content
  • 15+ hours of HTML and CSS alone
  • Excellent Bootstrap component

Why we like it

If you’re looking for a long, in-depth course that will inundate you with oodles of web design expertise, this is it.

Who The Course Is For

As the most comprehensive course on our list, this option spans a whopping 40 hours and covers a wide range of web design-related concepts. As a result, it’s suitable for busy professionals who either wish to dabble their toes in web design or transition into the field full-time.

As the content requires a monthly subscription, you’ll need to complete the course relatively quickly to obtain the best value. And that’s easier said than done when you’re already working a full-time job.

Review

Online learning platform Treehouse offers a solid selection of IT and coding-related Tracks, including this nifty 40-hour introductory course to web design. If you’re happy to fork out a monthly fee for a one-stop-shop learning experience, it’s a worthy option to consider.

What makes the Treehouse Web Design Track great is the level of detail that lies within. Rather than a few brief explanations on each core concept, as you would expect from a free course, the creators have taken the time to delve deep into the nitty-gritty.

Spanning HTML, CSS, typography, branding, and color theory, the introductory component runs at a beginner-friendly pace. Consequently, you can digest the information without prior web design knowledge.

Once you’re done, the intermediate section covers more complex components such as HTML tables and CSS selectors. The Track progresses onto the open-source front-end framework known as Bootstrap, then covers how to create CSS transforms and transitions to brighten up your webpage. That’s only a tiny taste of what’s in store. There really is a lot to learn in this in-depth web design course.

While intermediate and advanced users will definitely learn new things, it’s worth noting there’s no option to purchase portions independently.

Pros

  • Covers a broad range of web design concepts
  • Is an easy-to-follow introductory course
  • Suitable for a wide audience

Cons

  • Requires an on-going subscription
  • No option to purchase specific chapters


FAQ

If you’ve still got a few questions, check out the following FAQ.

There’s no such thing as a “best course” because the ideal option depends on your budget, learning style, and educational aspirations. We’ve compiled a list of eight excellent options that appeal to a wide variety of budding web design pros.

At a minimum, aim to cover the following concepts:

  • CSS
  • HTML
  • Typography
  • Visual design: line, shapes, color, form, textures, grids
  • UX / UI
  • Layouts
  • Back end versus front end

In a word: yes. Web design is more important than ever now that everyone has an internet-enabled device in their pocket. There’s high demand in the sector and lucrative salaries for workers with proven expertise.

Web designers draw on a plethora of powerful software applications, including:

  • Design: Photoshop, Indesign, Adobe XD, Illustrator
  • Development: WordPress, Dreamweaver, Google Web Designer, Notepad++, Atom, Brackets, Sublime Text
  • Testing / Debugging: Browserstack, Firebug, Google Chrome Inspector

Is Web Design Difficult?

While web design isn’t anywhere near as technical as programming, it does require a degree of IT expertise. As a result, some concepts may appear daunting to beginners, especially at first. However, with time, most students succeed in wrapping their heads around the jargon.

Does Web Design Require Coding?

Yes and no. A prospective professional should learn HTML and CSS as you need coding chops to make it in the field. A one-off or hobby web designer, on the other hand, can create a fully functional webpage code free via platforms such as WordPress or WebFlow.



Extra Credit: Picking the Perfect Web Design Course for You

close-up of web design on paper

Truth be told, there’s no single online web design course we could confidently proclaim as the “best.” After all, what’s best for one student won’t necessarily be the ideal option for you.

To find a web design course that offers the most value to you, you need to factor in your budget, learning style, and intended outcomes.

Focus

The most critical thing to consider when shopping around for web design courses—whether free or paid—is what you hope to get out of the program.

Some courses teach a broad range of skillsets, from beginner techniques to advanced expertise. Others offer a novice-friendly introductory crash course, while some hone in on specialist web design skills.

If you need something specific, remember that almost all web design courses allow you to skip ahead to the relevant section; there’s no need to run through an entire program to learn one unique skill. Having said that, with paid options, you might feel you’re not getting good value for money if you only need one chapter out of a lengthy course.

Free Versus Paid

We love a good freebie, and the no-cost options we’ve presented on our list are all outstanding. However, there are a few considerations to factor in when looking at a free course.

The first factor is time. While you won’t be investing any money in a free course, you will still be required to make a substantial time investment. A class isn’t exactly “free” if you spend hours slogging away without learning lots of new valuable information. Sometimes, it’s better to pay a small fee to get access to precisely what you need, especially if you’re currently employed full-time.

Another vital thing to consider is certification. Free web design courses—especially those on YouTube—don’t offer any formal certificates to prove you’ve done the legwork. As these make you more attractive to potential employers, they’re often worth paying for.

Some free course providers, such as edX, give you the option of paying for official certification. However, it’s impossible to verify you’ve completed a course on YouTube.

Finally, free courses don’t tend to be as up to date as the premium offerings (though there are some exceptions). While free courses can be brilliant, the author doesn’t have any financial incentive to add new components as the web design profession evolves. Paid courses, on the other hand, can generate sufficient income to warrant frequent updates.

Instructor Style

Learning is supposed to be fun. There’s no point suffering through a lengthy course run by a monotonous, low-energy lecturer. Not only will you be bored out of your brains, but you’re far less likely to retain essential information as well.

Every instructor has a unique teaching style; you must choose someone you find both informative and engaging. As we all have different learning styles and personal preferences, not every student will vibe with every instructor. Before signing up for a course, watch a few sample videos to gauge whether you think the instructor will be a good fit.

Most paid courses offer at least a small sample of their content, which lets you get a taste of what’s to come before pulling out your credit card. However, some educators only allow you to audit (view) the written component before committing.

Let Your Creative Juices Flow

So, we’ve outlined what to look for when signing up for a web design course, and we’ve whittled down a list of some of the best options available today, both free and paid.

All that’s left to do now is pick your preferred course and let the online learning begin. Upon solidifying your new skills, you’ll be left to let your creativity soar. After all, web design isn’t all about learning complex code; there’s ample opportunity to express creativity through the concepts of visual design.