I have been an expert & mentor in HTML, CSS, JavaScript. When it comes to teaching new students on how to program using JavaScript, it is straight forward. Students can learn that if you do certain actions, you will be able to get the things right. But often I struggle with teaching CSS or design.

They are extremely good with HTML structuring and JavaScripts, but when comes to CSS laying out and the "creative" and "design" part, I am not sure how to train them like how I am experienced. Has anyone been through this and is there a way to really "teach" design sense and creativity in CSS?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ So if I understand correctly you are not struggling with CSS but with teaching design itself? The two can be - sort of - separate. $\endgroup$
    – vacip
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ You're asking three different questions: How can I teach creativity? How can I teach design? How can I teach CSS? I currently thing this should be closed as too broad until it gets narrowed down. $\endgroup$
    – thesecretmaster
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ @thesecretmaster Thanks for pointing out. I have updated the question. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2017 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ @vacip True that. Now I have clarified it. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2017 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ Consider phrasing the question so that it leads to researched, longer answers. "Is there a way to...?" is less open-ended then "What are the techniques for...?" The latter seems to me to lead to more focused, experienced-based answers. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 23:55

2 Answers 2


If you are struggling with "design" and "beautiful" and artistic mumbojumbo, you can still teach CSS while avoiding trying to turn them into pro designers.

The simplest example task I can think of is having your students create a simple website with a basic style and another style for the visually impaired (and a button to change between the two styles).

If that is done, you can have a contest/assignment: you create a simple website (2-3 pages, few images, a menu), and they all have to create 2-3 designs for it in CSS. Then the class can vote for their favourite. Another upside is that finally it won't be the geeks but the artists in the class that shine.

As for teaching design and creativity, why not ask the help of the art teacher? Maybe you can put together a curriculum for a few classes together? You are a programmer, not a designer, and it is OK to admit it.


I'll let another answerer address the creativity part, but for the design part of your question I can share some insight. I find it useful to ask them to emulate some site that they commonly use, and them make it better in some way. This allows them to practice design by working on and improving already well designed websites. The only qualifier is that you have to approve the websites first, some people will choose badly designed websites.

Another useful idea is to simply explain the basics of UX. In many cases, thats almost as important as regular design, and is certainly influential in how the website is laid out. I'd also talk about how vital testing is, and it could be interesting to have an activity where the students test eachothers websites for usability and give feedback.


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