Skip to main content

Modern Web Design Demystified

Lesson 21 of 37

Code Literacy

Andy Pratt, Jesse Arnold

Modern Web Design Demystified

Andy Pratt, Jesse Arnold

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

21. Code Literacy


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:09:10
2 The Design Flow Basics Duration:18:27
3 The Designer as Co-Creators Duration:06:48
4 Get to Know Your Material Duration:17:07
6 Mobile First: Working Small Duration:09:46
9 Prioritize Your Users Duration:39:42
11 Intro to Scrum Duration:04:24
12 User Stories & Epics Duration:35:53
13 Content Basics Duration:27:40
14 Defining the Visual Language Duration:22:31
15 Starting with Type Duration:35:31
16 Starting with Grids Duration:15:40
17 Gutcheck & The Product Brief Duration:22:03
18 Working With Developers Duration:12:33
19 Communicating with Developers Duration:16:25
21 Code Literacy Duration:04:37
22 Sitemap & Wireframe Basics Duration:33:48
23 Prototyping Basics Duration:12:02
24 HTML Prototypes Duration:13:28
26 Developer Lingo Duration:07:23
28 Designing for Performance Duration:18:19
29 Progressive Enhancements Duration:07:00
31 Workflow Examples Duration:20:25
33 Alternative Workflow Duration:23:04
34 Alternative Workflow Part 2 Duration:21:52
35 Tech Requirements Duration:21:53
36 Retrofitting an Existing Site Duration:12:15

Lesson Info

Code Literacy

So code literacy. This is again, we're not learning how to write code, but we are learning how to read code. So all browsers come with a function called Inspect Element, which we'll dig into in another segment, which allow me to click on any object in the interface and see the associated markup underneath it. Just a general overview, just to get everybody on the same page, you're gonna be looking at HTML and you're gonna be looking at CSS. And they have some specific rules. Again, you don't have to be a maestro in it but you need to understand the mechanics of how it's put together. HTML tags, the good news is HTML was written for anybody to use. Like if you look at programming languages, capital p programming languages, it hurts, it hurts my head. I don't understand. But HTML, it's like a series of nested dolls. It's just here's a container that contains this container, that contains that container. Every container has a start and stop. And what I love about the designers of HTML is I...

understand that metaphor. My head is at the top of my body and my feet are down below. Oh dude, thanks for keeping it like (clicking) crystal, crystal clear for me. Can't mix that up. Although some people will put the header down. But the idea is that at the element level, it's written in such a way, and more and more with HTML five, you have more and more of these elements that are written in such a way that are more semantic, describing how they relate to each other. So again, just to be clear. Starter tag, closing tag, content in between. That's about as much as you need to know about HTML to start, alright? We're gonna add classes to these things. CSS classes work like this: I'm gonna have a name, this is gonna be maybe a component name. This is some of that name space, this would be slacked, right? It's gonna have a property, we'll say that's color. It's gonna have a value. You're, as a designer in the beginning, all you do is you live in value land. This is as you're learning. The developers, you're gonna work with a developer to sort of get the nomenclature around the classes together. But all your editing are gonna be these sort of value blocks and this is what that looks like. Again, CSS Guidelines is a great resource as far as learning CSS statements, how it's put together. And he gives this breakdown. So this is my class name, baz. Here are the properties associated with that class name, so anywhere I put baz on an HTML element, it'll be displayed as a block, background color green, and color red. Again, I was telling Andy I love how they use green and red here. Which are statements you can use in a browser. You're gonna have to get used to seeing hex colors, which I'm sure most of you are familiar with on some level. And again, CSS Guidelines, we'll walk you through a lot of that. The reason we're doing all this stuff is so that we can be just a little bit more informed when we have a conversation and we create a ticket in one of these project management tools. I can no longer tell a developer, I need to change the sidebar from purple to blue, please. (laughing) I need, I feel you need to update the background color of .aside-secondary, which is the class name of that object, to .primary-blue, which is the class name for that color. So and if you can, also give them associated hex colors so you know you're talking about the same thing. Again, we'll take a look at how we get all these values from the browser. So again, things to remember, the days of design and dash are over. We're in a long term relationship, we're goin' steady, with our developers. We can utilize collaborate documents like chat, hack session, white-boarding to stay connected. We're gonna establish a common language of parts that will make for iterative parallel efforts. And then as designers, it's our responsibility to read some code.

Class Description

Online web design is not just about choosing fonts, colors, and layouts. The days of throwing a static visual comp over the wall are ending. Designers are now encouraged to work side by side with clients and developers. In Modern Web Design Demystified you’ll learn how to communicate with developers and collaborate with your clients in order to design websites that function as well as they look. You’ll learn about: 

  • The fundamentals of responsive web design
  • Working with Clients to identify and prioritize goals
  • How to communicate with Developers
  • Best practices for project workflow
In this online web design course, Andy and Jesse will share real world case studies to help you understand exactly what goes into creating and launching a website from the ground up. They’ll tell you about the tools they use and offer tips on working with everyone from the coder to the client.

High-quality web design is complex, but it gives businesses and orgs the opportunity to really connect with their users. Learn the ins and outs of the entire web design workflow process in the Modern Web Design Demystified course.

Bonus materials include: 
  • Sample Dev Tickets
  • Responsive HTML Wireframes
  • HTML Pattern Library
  • Sample High Resolution Visual Comps
  • and more! 



I've already taken several web design classes, but there were still some details that I found confusing. Andy and Jesse did a great job of explaining things like; programming languages and how they interact to form the structure of a site, work flow responsibilities between team members and the blurry lines between them; and agile methodologies applied to work flow. They used case studies to illustrate how this all happens, where variations crop up, and how to address them. If you're new to web design, or just want to understand the functions of other team members, this is a great real world look at the whole process. I haven't found this in any other class, either on-line or local. Andy and Jesse are both very experienced working designers with current knowledge. They're very responsive to questions and seem to really enjoy teaching. Having two instructors is a great benefit because you get double the perspective, knowledge, etc.

Junko Bridston

I worked with Andy when he was a Creative Director at Funny Garbage, a design studio in New York City. I found him to be knowledgeable​, articulate, and lovely to work with. I learned so much from him at the beginning of my career. In response to a previous comment: it seems silly to dismiss this class because Andy wears t-shirts with his blazers. If you think leaders only wear suits and ties, then maybe this class isn't for you. But if you want to learn from someone with loads of experience and a friendly manner, I really recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.


I was looking for a class that would not only address the web design basics but also their place and function as part of a workflow. This class did not disappoint and Andy's and Jesse's engaging presentation style made it easy for me to follow along during the 2-day live session. By using real life examples, the presenters provide plenty of tips and strategies how to best work with clients and developers alike — the many, often intangible ingredients that go beyond technical expertise and can make or break a project. Highly recommended.