July 23, 2020

A Guide to the Best Online Web Design Courses in 2020

Web design has undergone a massive evolution. In the beginning, websites were large blocks of text with the occasional graphic and underlined blue words called hypertext. It wasn't until the mid-1990s that "designers" began to see the potential of what websites could be. Since those times, what it means to be a web designer has changed drastically as well.

Websites and web and mobile apps have become increasingly more relevant in today's society. The interface, functionality, and user experience of a product are core components of web design, and modern technological tools and capabilities have also advanced to allow for greater complexity. As a result, the range of subjects, skills, and careers within web design has expanded.

As the field broadens, the job demand for web designers is increasing. The current expected job growth outlook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an increase of 13% between 2018-2028 with the projected addition of 20,900 jobs.

While you can choose to pursue web design as a general field, you can also specialize in an area like UX or UI design. Online courses are a cost-effective way to explore the different skill sets needed for a career in web design. They can also act as a bridge toward enrolling in a web design bootcamp or degree program. By exploring courses, you can discover what area of web design appeals to you and determine the best career path for you.

Our list of online web design courses provides the different course types available, including free web design courses, bootcamp prep courses, beginner courses, courses offered by universities, as well as the variety of course offerings like UX design, UI design, coding, use of design tools, and courses for other key skills. The list will also help you find courses for your skill level.

Choosing the Best Online Web Design Course for You

Because there are so many areas of web design, it's beneficial to decide what skills you are most interested in gaining or advancing. Ask yourself a few questions before settling on a web design course that could help you discover which career path is right for you:

  • Do I have the basic skills needed, like creativity, coding, or graphic or visual design?
  • What are my ultimate career goals? (Think salary, position, or company you'd love to work for)
  • What skills do I want or need to gain, and will they help me advance my career or get a job in the field?
  • How much money do I want to invest in new skills?
  • How much time do I have to dedicate to web design courses?
  • What courses best suit my learning style (e.g. scheduled or self-paced, live instructor or videos, available support community, hands-on practice, or challenges)?
  • What do you need most; for example, coding for web designers or how to use web design tools like Sketch, Photoshop, or Dreamweaver?
  • Are you interested in a specialized position like UX or UI design?

Use your answers to narrow your web design course search. Look for courses in areas that can help you narrow your career path or help you look for degree programs or a bootcamp that will further build your skills.

If you still have questions about web design, jump to our Web Design FAQs at the end of our list.

Guide to the Top Online Web Design Courses in 2020

Alison

Alison is an online resource with free certificate, diploma, and learning path options for individuals pursuing new professional skills. Alison's online diploma in web design is a 15-hour curriculum for beginners. Classes cover the use of key web design tools and basic programming languages while diving into user interface and other important concepts. A 4-hour beginner course in web page development is also available for free, and focuses on the basic coding skills that web designers need. To complete one of Alison's programs, students must achieve 80% or higher in each assessment.

Alison's web design courses are:

  • Beginner level
  • Courses that cover HTML, Adobe Dreamweaver, Cascading Style Sheets, Flash, and more
  • Free

BrainStation

BrainStation offers part-time, online certificate programs in UX design, UI design, and Design Thinking. Depending on the program, students can build skills in many areas such as user research, sketching and wireframing, information architecture, prototyping, typography, and the design thinking process. BrainStation courses emphasize collaboration and feedback through its real-time platform.

BrainStation's web design courses are:

  • Beginner level
  • Specialized courses in user interface, user experience, and design thinking
  • Paid

Coursera

Coursera provides users with hundreds of individual course options and specializations in web design. For example, The University of Michigan hosts Web Design for Everybody, a beginner-level, 6-month specialization requiring just four hours each week. California Institute of the Arts hosts specializations in Graphic Design and UI/UX Design. Johns Hopkins University provides an individual course dedicated to basic programming languages essential for web designers. Coursera programs are entirely online, and many offer free enrollment or free auditing, though specializations typically require membership through a monthly subscription.

Coursera's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, advanced levels, collegiate and professional
  • Specialized courses, such as Introduction to HTML5, Prototyping, WordPress, and more
  • Free and subscription

Designlab

Designlab has three main goals: providing affordable education, offering a challenging curriculum, and emphasizing mentorship and community. Designlab has 4-week short courses specifically geared towards user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). These short courses have specific start dates, but students complete work weekly at their own pace. Individuals may drop a short course at any time and still receive full reimbursement. Designlab also offers free seven-day courses in Photoshop, Figma, and Sketch.

Designlab's web design courses are:

  • Beginner and intermediate levels
  • Specialized courses, including Design 101, UI Design, UX Research and Strategy, and UX: Interactive Design
  • Paid

EdX

EdX courses aim to teach students and professionals more technical abilities to enhance their understanding of web design. There are individual, self-paced course options and professional certificate programs. EdX's platform offers courses from top-tier universities and corporations such as Harvard, Microsoft, IBM, and NYU.

EdX's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, collegiate and professional
  • Specialized courses, such as Designing the User Experience, CSS Basics, JavaScript Introduction, and more
  • Free and paid

General Assembly

General Assembly offers a 10-week, online web design class called HTML, CSS, & Web Design Circuit as well as short-form classes in web design and a free coding course. In the Web Design Circuit, the curriculum is a self-paced collection of video lectures, quizzes, and hands-on activities. Participants also work with a mentor for additional support and feedback. Other course offerings include on-demand learning courses for UX design, which can be accessed for 12 months following purchase. Some of the available classes include Psychology in UX, Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp, and Design Thinking Bootcamp.

General Assembly's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Specialized courses in HTML, CSS, typography, color theory, and Adobe Photoshop
  • Paid

Interaction Design Foundation

Interaction Design Foundation lets you choose from various learning paths, such as UX Designer, Interaction Designer, UI Designer, Visual Designer, and Usability Expert. Each pathway offers courses, which are online and self-paced and typically take six weeks to finish. Lessons are available on a weekly basis, but all course materials are available throughout the duration of a student's membership. Students can choose to take individual courses or complete the entire learning path. The UX Designer and UI Designer learning paths are each a 10-course curriculum.

Interaction Design Foundation's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Specialized courses in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), user research, emotional design, and mobile design
  • Monthly student or professional membership fee

LinkedIn Learning

Lynda.com, now LinkedIn Learning, has hundreds of web design courses available. Users may opt for an individual course or pursue a learning path. Web design-based learning paths include Digital Illustrator, Graphic Designer, UX Designer, and more. LinkedIn Learning operates on a subscription model through which customers receive unlimited access to a library of courses, career services, and personalized course recommendations. Upon completion of each class, students receive a certificate.

LinkedIn Learning's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Specialized courses in InDesign, Fontself, WordPress, Adobe Dimension, Adobe Photoshop, UX design, and more
  • Subscription, but library cardholders may have free access

Pluralsight

Individuals seeking a web design course from Pluralsight may choose either a specific class or follow a learning path. Learning paths range in content and time commitment, though some have as many as 15 courses and over 40 hours of class time. Students engage in practical examples before moving on to bigger, hands-on projects. After the initial 10-day free trial, users pay a monthly or annual fee for access to the entire course library and additional resources.

Pluralsight's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Specialized courses in Illustrator CC, A/B Testing for Web Design, SVG Filters, and HTML
  • Subscription

SkillCrush

All SkillCrush courses are online and self-paced and are designed to be completed in three months. The User Experience course includes instruction in UX research, information architecture, prototyping, and user testing. Participants receive lifetime access to course materials. There are no prerequisites, and the syllabus includes step-by-step lessons along with class projects. Students have the chance to learn Figma, InVision, and other important design tools. By course completion, students will have a UX design portfolio and receive a certificate.

SkillCrush's web design courses are:

  • Beginners
  • Specialized courses in UX design, visual design, information architecture and prototyping, and user testing and iteration
  • Paid

Skillshare

Those interested in becoming web designers have plenty of online choices through Skillshare. Courses range in length and can be found in UX/UI design, graphic design, and web development. They follow a curriculum of short video tutorials and real-life projects. Each course includes a summary, a discussion board, and user reviews, so interested individuals can vet each course before fully committing. While some resources are free, premium options require a monthly or annual subscription.

Skillshare's web design courses are:

  • Beginner level, though some include intermediate and advanced materials
  • Specialized courses in as Adobe XD, HTML5, CSS3, Figma, and more
  • Subscription

Springboard

While Springboard has a part-time, tuition-based bootcamp for individuals seeking a career change, beginners can access free learning tutorials in UX Design, a Beginner's Guide to Front-End Programming, and Search Engine Optimization. UX Design's free curriculum contains videos and exercises that are all organized into an easy-to-follow sequence. Students have the chance to learn design research techniques and interview users for real-world projects. Upon program completion, both a paid 4-week Intro to Design and a full-time immersive UX Design bootcamp are available.

Springboard's web design courses are:

  • Beginner level
  • Specialized courses in Mobile Experience Design, Design Thinking, Human Centered Design, and more
  • Free

SuperHi

SuperHi's Intro to User Experience Design course is an intermediate-level option for individuals interested in UI/UX design. The curriculum covers user research skills, wireframing, prototyping, and testing. Students have lifetime access to the SuperHi community, where participants around the world learn to code together and engage in real-world projects. All coursework is self-paced and encourages creativity and flexibility. There are no prerequisites to enroll. SuperHi also offers similar courses in discounted bundles, such as the Design+Code Bundle option.

SuperHi's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Specialized courses in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, D3, branding, data visualization, and more
  • Paid

Treehouse

Treehouse provides a number of different tracks in which a curriculum of multiple courses is collected into what they call a "roadmap." Available entirely online, each course varies in length, some less than 10 hours. Those seeking a web design course can pursue tracks in Web Design, UX Interaction Design, UX Research Process, Web Programming Skills for Graphic Designers, and more. The beginner Web Design track is a 43-hour path that covers basic concepts like color theory, typography, and coding languages. After a seven-day free trial, subscriptions are available at the basic, pro, and tech degree level.

Treehouse's web design courses are:

  • Beginner and intermediate levels
  • Specialized courses in CSS, SVG, HTML, Typography, and more
  • Subscription

Udacity

Udacity's courses are entirely online, part-time, and self-paced. Individuals interested in web design may select one of the following program tracks: the 3-week beginner Intro to HTML and CSS or the 2-week intermediate Responsive Web Design Fundamentals. Both are available for free and include interactive quizzes and access to the Udacity community. The Responsive Web Design Fundamentals course is hosted by Google. Individuals can also opt to enroll in one of Udacity's nano-degree programs.

Udacity's web design courses are:

  • Beginner and intermediate levels
  • Specialized courses, such as Intro to HTML and CSS and Responsive Web Design Fundamentals
  • Free and paid

Udemy

Udemy offers thousands of online course options for those seeking to advance their expertise, Users pay for individual courses, and Udemy even offers a 30-day refund guarantee. Web designers have dozens of course topics to choose from, including Web Design for Beginners, Adobe Illustrator, and CSS: The Complete Guide 2020. Classes are available on-demand and in 23 different languages. Once students complete a web design course, they receive a certificate of completion and maintain permanent access to course materials.

Udemy's web design courses are:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and expert levels
  • Specialized courses in WordPress, Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Adobe Dreamweaver, UI design, UI animation, CSS, HTML, and more
  • Free and paid

UX Academy

UX Academy offers a beginner-level user experience (UX) course taught by experts in the field. The curriculum is designed to cover the basics and is delivered via live, online sessions. Students enroll in a small cohort for the 8-week program. Participants have the chance to learn prototyping, wireframing, research techniques, and user testing. They will also complete hands-on projects. Post-course assistance to build a professional portfolio is also available.

UX Academy's web design courses are:

  • Beginner level
  • Specialized courses in UX principles, interaction design, prototyping, wireframing, discovery research, user testing, and user iteration
  • Paid

Web Professionals

Web Professionals offers online, self-paced courses in web design that highlight programming languages and fundamental concepts. The main web design course package is created for those with little to no experience in coding. Students have access to hands-on labs, video lectures, and instructor feedback. For an additional fee, individuals may opt for one of the company's Web Design certification exams, which provides mentorship and additional resources.

Web Professionals web design courses are:

  • Beginner level
  • Specialized courses in HTML, CSS Animation, WordPress, JavaScript, search engine optimization, and more
  • Paid

Web Design FAQs

What is web design?

Web design usually refers to the frontend aspects of web development, which includes user experience and user interface. Web designers build and maintain websites, mobile apps, and desktop apps. They are focused on the product's appearance and functionality.

What do web designers do?

Web designers design, build, test, and maintain websites and apps. Web designers oversee everything regarding the user experience and user interface. This includes the visual aesthetics, architecture, user flow, brand incorporation, and more. There are several careers within the web design field, including the more general web designer or a specialized title like front-end designer, UX designer, or UI designer.

What is the difference between UX and UI?

UX focuses on the user experience and UI stands for user interface. UX designers concentrate on all of a user's interaction with a company's products while UI designers cover interactivity and digital attractiveness and responsiveness. In essence, UX encompasses the overall experience and UI is about the look and function.

What skills do web designers need?

Web designers must have the technical aptitude to work with graphic design programs like Illustrator and Sketch and will need to code using languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They also require strong communication skills to work with clients or coworkers and collaboration skills if they are part of a larger design team.

How do you become a web designer?

There are many paths you can take to become a web designer. You can pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, web design and development, or graphic design, or you can attend an immersive web design bootcamp or certificate program.

What jobs can you get in web design?

Web design is a broad field with several job titles and career trajectories available. The necessary skills typically include graphic design, coding, SEO, UX/UI design, and a variety of soft skills such as communication and collaboration. Some of the jobs you can pursue include:

  • Web Designer: Web designer is the most common job listing in the field of web design, and the primary responsibility is constructing visually pleasing and functional websites or apps using programming languages like CSS or JavaScript and testing and optimizing interface and the user experience. Web designers address navigation elements, translate user needs into features, how to present content, and brand and style through colors, layouts, and fonts. Developing a functional design is at the core of their job, and they are often a part of maintenance after a project is completed.
  • UX/UI Designer: UX and UI designer positions are on the rise. They are two facets of web design that work closely together, and they can be separate positions but they can also be combined into one position, depending on the company.
    • UX Designer: User experience designers focus on how the product feels, meaning how the user experiences a website or app. Their daily tasks might include conducting user tests, exploring several approaches to solving user problems, incorporating UI specifications, or setting up deliverables like storyboards, sitemaps, or wireframes.
    • UI Designer: A user interface designer oversees interactivity and the digital attractiveness and responsiveness. They may spend their time creating interactive programs to enhance the customer's experience with a brand, designing visual elements, or building and establishing a style guide.
  • Front-end Designer: Front-end designers create the code that makes up the user interface. Front-end designers differ from front-end developers because they focus on the look and feel of a website or app rather than focusing heavily on the code, bugs, or how the front-end hooks into the back-end. Front-end designers will typically work with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and have and use general knowledge of UX principles and best practices, visual design, and coding.
  • App Designer: App designers are similar to web designers, except they design for mobile and desktop apps instead of websites. They will still need skills in UX/UI design, graphic design, and coding as well as the ability to communicate and work together with a team.

How much do web designers make?

According to Glassdoor, the average national base salary for web designers is $52,691. The average national salary for UX designers is $85,277, and UI designers have a listed average salary of $76,115.

Learn Web Design Today

A web design course can help you build or expand your skills and is also a great way to decide whether to pursue a degree or enroll in a web design bootcamp. If you're ready to start working toward a new career, you should enroll in a web design course now.

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