Web design? For children? Absolutely. While it might seem like a role for an adult, teaching web design to children can be a valuable and enjoyable form of creative learning. Find out what exactly web design is, why children should learn web design, the future of web design, resources to support your child and how you can motivate your child to want to engage with web design. You will be surprised at how much your child will benefit from learning this sought-after skill!
What is web design?
First of all, let’s clear up some misconceptions about the meaning of web design. Web design refers to the look, layout and content of a website and focuses on the user experience. How the website functions, through coding, is considered web development. Both play a vital role in the performance of a website and are often interrelated; for comprehensive understanding, it is suggested that your child learn both interrelated elements of website creation. For the purposes of this blog post, we will be focusing on web design. If you’re looking for more information about the best ways children can learn web development, read our blog post here.
Why should children learn web design?
You may be wondering, why should my child learn web design? Not only will web design inspire creativity and critical thinking, but there is also a sense of accomplishment that children will feel once they have completed a project. Furthermore, children will have to consider the audience when creating the design of a website – not just their own preferences. Inevitably, any career path will involve an element of satisfying a client/audience (even for those of us who work for ourselves). Developing a child’s understanding of this skill is important for future career prospects in any field.
What is the future of web design?
Did you know that there is a website built every three seconds? The future of careers involving web design is bright! As of 2023, 71% of businesses have a website, and, since the Covid-19 pandemic, most companies have recognised the value of maintaining an effective online presence. This trend is expected to continue well into the future, giving rise to many opportunities for web designers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for web designers is set to increase by 8% by the year 2029 – much faster than the average of other professions. What’s more, a web designer can choose to be freelance, remain self-employed or work exclusively for a company. Check out common requirements for a career in web design, the potential salary and more. As mentioned earlier, web development is closely associated with web design; many often choose to learn both together as complementary skills, broadening the career paths available.
What are the basics of web design?
Web design focuses on the look, layout, content and overall feel of a website. Each element works closely together to ensure the best user experience. With 48% of Internet users viewing web design as a crucial element in determining the credibility of a website, it’s important that web design is done well. A child who learns these skills early on will be well-positioned for a career in web design or creating a website for their own future endeavours.
Look: Encompasses everything from colour schemes and fonts to the selected images. Each element of the overall aesthetic of a successful website will be carefully thought out and aligned with the website’s purpose. When selecting colour schemes, a web designer will need to consider which colours will align best to the site’s intention, but also which will be most suitable for the user’s experience. Similarly, font choice is an important aspect when designing a website. Often children will want to choose the most elaborate and quirky font possible, despite its legibility; it is important to ensure that the chosen font communicates the text with ease. Images must support what the website is trying to convey, not detract or distract.
Layout: The layout of a website contributes to the overall flow of information. This encompasses the arrangement of visual elements, as well as the arrangement of the website’s different components (e.g., tabs). The layout supports how the content will fit together, as well as how it will be presented to the user. Layout also affects how navigable a website is, with the ultimate aim being to create an easy user experience. The layout should allow any user to explore a website with ease.
Content: Refers to text, visual or audio content that is consumed by any visitor to a website. Strong writing skills are an important factor for content, as websites use text to convey important information. Visual and audio elements will include videos, as well as images and any sound present on the website.
Feel: Often an overlooked element, the feel of a website is central to a user’s experience. The feel conveys how a website appeals to its visitors, forming the basis of a website’s first impression. The feel of a website welcomes users but also informs, entertains, educates, serves or a combination of all these purposes.
Are there resources for children who want to learn web design?
If your child is keen to learn the design elements of building a website, there are many options out there. With the advent of website builders, the focus on web design takes prominence without the need for applying web development (i.e., coding). We’ve rounded up the top four website builders for children. Better yet, all of our recommendations feature free plans, so you can see which website builder your child responds to best!
Site123: Referring to itself as one of the “easiest, free website builders”, Site123 is a great way to introduce web design to children. Their free plan offers a free subdomain, 250MB of storage, plenty of templates, 1000s of free images and easily customisable elements.
Weebly: A beginner-friendly website builder, Weebly’s free plan offers 500MB of storage, the ability to add an Instagram feed, chat/email support and much more. With over 38 website themes to choose from, your child will have a great time creating the perfect design for their website.
Wix: A “free, user-friendly website building platform”. Wix is a great option for children who want to experiment with web design. It features many kid-friendly templates and easy-to-use drag-and-drop creation.
WordPress.com: “The world’s most popular website builder” features an excellent selection of website templates. With their free plan, your child will receive a free subdomain, hosting and storage (1GB). Children will also enjoy the simplicity of its drag-and-drop creation with numerous visual design elements.
Canva: If you’re keen for your child to try web design without actually having a website, Canva offers a 30-day free trial and includes multiple templates for websites. While Canva does host web domains, your child can just explore the elements of web design without actually launching a website. It’s a great way to experiment with the look of a website.
How else can I support my child to learn web design?
While the above website builders provide your child with platforms to create a website, there are other ways you can support your child in learning web design.
Colour Theory: As mentioned above, the look of a website is comprised of many elements, one being colour schemes. Colour theory – the collection of rules and guidelines that influence how designers use colour to communicate with users – can be used to support your child’s understanding of which colours to use when designing a website. A simple web search will provide ample resources for introducing and exploring colour theory. Not only that, learning colour theory will likely put your child at an advantage during their art lessons at school!
Writing: The written content of a website, alongside the look, layout and feel, is essential in communicating information to its users. Your child will need to practise their writing skills, as well as ensure their work is grammatically correct. While your child will be practising this on a daily basis at school, it is incredibly beneficial to continue to do so outside of school; The National Centre for Writing has multiple writing courses available for children (many of them free) that can help your child enhance their writing skills.
The Internet: ‘Surfing the web’ is a great way to gain insight into web design. Have your child visit websites they use regularly (ensuring age-appropriate material) and make a list of the pros and cons of that website’s design. For instance, have your child consider the colours used for the website. Does it make it easier or more difficult to read? What about the font size and type? Does it make for a comfortable reading experience? Have your child consider the layout of the website. Is it easy to navigate? Is there too much going on? You may even want to direct your child to some poorly designed websites, just to consolidate their understanding of what is not good practice. Discuss with your child what you, as a consumer, look for in a website. Show them some of the websites you visit when purchasing or learning and tell them what you like and what could be improved upon.
How can I motivate my children to learn web design?
As you now know, web design is a field that offers many opportunities for future careers, as well as reinforcing important skills. So how do you convince your child to engage with web design if they’re not naturally interested? With the aforementioned free website builders, creating a website is a fantastic way to present a project for school, keep a blog/diary, showcase their talent or curate information.
School projects: Teachers will be absolutely blown away by your child, not only presenting their project, but doing so with a website they created themselves. Hello, extra credit! Once the website is built, future projects can be easily included. A website also allows your child to easily share their projects with friends and family. Using a website to present a project will ensure your child considers the audience (teachers and friends/family) and the overall user experience.
Blog/Diary: What better way for your child to practise their writing skills, than through a website to record blog posts or diary entries? The blog can be centred around something they’re passionate about (e.g., sports teams, animals, etc.,), whereas a diary can be a way to express their thoughts and feelings, which can then be shared with the wider public, shared with family and friends, or kept private. In the interest of safeguarding, it’s best to discuss these privacy options with your child and to remind them about how to manage their digital footprint; for the most part, once something is online, it’s always online.
Showcase talent: Is your child a budding artist, musician or athlete? Have your child design a website that showcases their (or a sibling’s) talents. Using a website to showcase a talent will really incorporate the skills of considering the look, layout, content and feel of a website. They can also explore how to incorporate images, video and audio to enhance the user experience. Again, remember to discuss their digital footprint when promoting themselves, a loved one or a friend.
Curate information: If your child expresses keen interests (e.g., sports, music, animals, etc.,), a website can be a great way to curate information about that particular topic. They could include links to apps and games, other websites of interest, YouTube videos, or include a blog about their chosen interest.
From enhancing critical thinking skills to expressing creativity, web design is an excellent way for your child to learn. Not only will learning web design open up a number of career paths, but it will also engage and stimulate a number of other vital skills. Encourage your child to give web design a try, they will be proud of their accomplishment and will have a website that can be shared with family and friends wherever they are!