Do you want to become a web designer, but don't know where to start? There are hundreds of tools available, but sometimes a short list of recommendations is enough to move you from the overwhelmed paralysis stage to an active beginner. Here are 3 tools for the aspiring web designer.

Web designers need to be proficient in HTML and CSS. W3 Schools provides free online lessons on both. A key advantage of W3 is that you can start the lessons at any point. If you’ve never written code before, W3 teaches you from the beginning. If you already have some knowledge, W3 you can pick and choose what you need to fill in learning gaps. W3 uses an interactive HTML editor that lets you practice and see what you are learning. For example, if you are learning how to make a list, then W3 gives you the base code and tells you how to modify it to show numbers or bullets. As you change the code, W3 shows you what it will look like on a web page. Start with HTML then move on to CSS.

GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop. It doesn’t have all of Photoshop’s features, but GIMP is flexible and powerful enough for most web design projects. You can manipulate photos, build logos and graphics, and create original artwork. It’s the perfect tool to create mockups or user interface models. The GIMP framework is open-source, so you can customize the source code using several languages including C, C++, Perl, and Python. Or you can download one of the many plug-ins shared by other GIMP users.

Bootstrap is another open-source tool that is useful to the aspiring web designer. Bootstrap is a front-end web framework that uses CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery to create device responsive websites and applications. A website is device responsive if it automatically modifies itself to fit the user’s preferences. Instead of writing multiple versions of your design for phones, tablets, and desktops, you can use Bootstrap to make one design work on any device. Bootstrap guides you through every step of web design.

"Web design can be a great hobby or a fulfilling career" encourages the expert web designers in Ft. Lauderdale at JLB. W3 Schools, GIMP, and Bootstrap will help you get started. When you need inspiration, look at websites of web design companies. There is no limit to your creativity once you learn the basic skills of web design.