Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks: Does Age Matter in Learning Web Design?


A lot of people say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,  that old people have nothing to learn and should suit themselves just watching sunsets and daisies blooming while sitting in an old wooden rocking chair at the porch of the house they bought at the countryside. Most young designers tend to think that older people have no place in web design since the field is technologically inclined in nature thus requiring a more youthful and fresh mind.

I, for one, believe that this notion is not always correct. Older people have their own places in the realm of web design. In fact, they could still learn, given the opportunity, access to information and of course, an unbreakable will. In fact, I strongly feel that they can even attract clients and make this craft their new source of income!

Learning Web Design at Age 30, 40, or 50 – Does it Matter?


You see, the good thing about web design is that it chooses no age. Web designing, unlike other fields of employment, does not really constitute a lot of physical stress. It means that web designers need not to be physically strong to design a website. Truth is, you might not even need to move a lot to design the page. (Well, except perhaps, if your back aches at times so you have to stand up). Just an open mind and a creative brain will do.

No matter the age, learning the ropes of web design is still a good option. But how?

First of all, we have just put together our best content ever published here as an ultimate free training course about topics starting from graphic design theory to web design, to freelance business training.

Now that’s a different thing:


The first trick to learn about web designing is thinking. Yes, to successfully design web pages, you need to picture it in your mind first. You need to know how it will look like, what colors will you use, what themes are better to go with your design concept, what icons to utilize and many others. Having a forethought on what your website looks like will help you actualize it. Remember that we can only create what we can imagine. So it might be seemingly impossible to design a website accidentally of out of nowhere. The source of all designs is, of course, the mind.

Now, you might be asking yourself, ” I’m 50 years old; how can I possibly think of new designs?! I’m old, my designs would just be retro.”


The answer is pretty simple. Look, observe, learn. Since designing is a facet of art, it is very difficult to teach, like the way technical and scientific fields do. As a student of design, you have to learn the theories and see their actual applications. You need to take out what is important and learn from what is not needed. This skill will surely boost how you work with your designs in the future. From now on, you should start looking at different websites. Browse the Internet correctly. Never fancy yourself in being swarmed by Facebook notifications or Twitter updates all day. Just let them be and think of how you could improve yourself. Visit websites; be inspired.

For further reading on website inspirations, you could look for :


The next thing you should learn is how to put those thoughts into your screen by making a wire-frame or a mock-up. A wireframe is the skeleton of the design. Wireframing enables you to properly place the elements you have thought of. This makes your designing process easier because you already know where to place them. As the design’s skeleton, the wireframe is very much needed for starting designers. There are a lot of wireframing resources on the Internet. You just need to select one and Kazam! You can now start designing.

Here are a few wireframing links for you:


After having successfully finished your wireframe, you can now place the elements. In this step, you should remember the design you thought of and try to improve it along the way. You can start placing text boxes, images, texts and other design elements. Most web designers use this step to be able to slice the documents properly. Note that in this step, you should know the basics in color combinations, iconography, logography, typography and other design basics out there. Now this step becomes challenging because you need to use Photoshop, a very complicated software to some.


But never fret, you can still learn by reading these:


Here is another complicated step: you need to transfer the design into code. Writing codes can be crazier than you think. But, provided the proper guidance and remembering the most important and basic codes, it won’t be as hard as it really seems. As a starting web designer, you should first acquaint yourself with HTML and CSS codes since these two are the foundations of a webpage. But as you traverse the world of web design, you will begin to learn other coding languages.


Here are a few tutorials:

Once you know enough about HTML and CSS, it’s time to start learning WordPress, because it is one of the easiest and fastest way to start building professional websites for clients.

If you are a bit more experience, definitely consider taking a look at Genesis WordPress framework, to really step up the way you build websites. It’s a super time saving tool, theme shop for developers. No need to start from scratch, put website together like Lego bricks.

Releasing your website

So given that you already finished your first ever website, you know that this won’t be the end. Of course, after finishing it, your website should be known by the people. It should be marketed towards every place possible so that future clients might see your work. Now this becomes easy when you have your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Just post and post updates to your website. Tease them. Let them be hooked to your website and until you are successful with that, your website would just be another of those forgotten domains in the world.


The Truth

After designing, coding and releasing your very first website, of course you will wait for clients. You might be under the impression that this comes easy, like a walk in the park. But I must warn you that this could be a pain in the arse. Worse comes worst, no one will hire you. You’ll just be frustrated that no one ever noticed your page. All those nights of thinking about design concepts, designing, coding, revamping, thinking again, designing again, coding again and on and on will seemingly be thrown away out of futility. Yeah, that is very frustrating but these are roadblocks you’re supposed to expect.

Some will not hire you because you’re old, and just started designing. That’s true. It happens all the time. Older people are stereotyped as people who have old ideas. People who can’t offer something new, who can’t learn new knowledge. It can happen, yes. But you should remain true to yourself. Never be shy when your clients ask for your age. If they turn you down, start again.

But the thing is, you never stop trying. You revamp and revamp, commit mistakes again and again, be dumped a lot of times and you learn. Never stop learning. Read tutorials, visit websites, observe! Take all the lessons of the past and be mature enough to know which to take and which to forget.

I remember a friend who just started photography. He actually studied Social Sciences. One day, his aunt gave him a DSLR camera. Not knowing what to do with this, and considering he was 34 years old, with two kids, this was not something he should learn. But then, I gave him a photography book for Christmas. He was inspired. He read, read and read, took a thousand photos, even broke one of his lenses. And after a few years, he became a good photographer. Now, he’s one of the best in our town.

The moral of the story is, anyone can learn new tricks if they let themselves learn. In technology, age is just a number. It’s how you think. Young people are open to new knowledge. That’s what makes their ideas fresh. You could do that, even if you’re sixty years old.

The thing I have learned about web design for the past years is, sometimes, you have those roadblocks, where a code seems to be malfunctioning or anything of that sort. Or a design seems to be very unachievable or when time becomes so limited. But if you’ll not look where the error in the code is, or how to work around that design and stretch time, you won’t go anywhere. So better try to fix it.


Web design is a very good field to venture in. Since the Internet is slowly becoming a very potent tool in propagating knowledge, it is very advantageous for a person, notwithstanding their age, color, gender or race, to learn how to build webpages. We all started from the basic. We all made ugly designs. We all committed grave errors. And as I allude from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Every great web designer in the world started from what you are now – newbies. If they can do it, why can’t you.



  1. If you are curious to learn something then age doesn’t matter. What matter is how much your are passionate, and do you really wanna learn. Great Work. Keep Going.

  2. Remya R

    I am a web designer for more than 12 years now and I am 45 years. From my experience I would say there is a difference if you learn at 20 and you learn at 50. Experts know enthusiasm, creativity, HTML coding, and adrenalin rush to do something is definitely there at very young age. Instead of being a designer I would suggest to be a owner of a website design firm.

  3. Miguel

    Mmm. Well-meaning perhaps and lots of great resources (Thanks!)

    However the tone is very patronising especially to seniors and the article is poorly written. Shame because this us such a good blog.

    Great to see so many people in their 50s and 60s in here getting into web design. I’m 43 and learned programming at the age of 13 and mastered lots of now defunct languages. Recently resolved to resuscitate my skill set. I’m proficient in WP but now learning HTML/CSS and will do Php / Java. Loving it.

  4. Willie Meier

    I am 66yrs old and designed my web site written in HTML5 and with CSS3 animation inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek to showcase the features of the JWPlayer

  5. John

    Good initiative by the author to write about this. Discussing misconceptions (no only regarding age, but also gender, race, etc.) is an important first step to correct prejudices and biased attitudes in the workplace on in personnel selection.

    The impression I get from the content of the article is that the author thinks that ‘older’ people need to be persuaded to learn new things (web design specifically). I don’t think that ‘older’ people do not want to learn new things. The prejudice about the relationship between age and willingness to learn is often more found in younger people.

    If you want to convince ‘older’ people to get interested in web design I think the information provided should be more specifically targeted to this group. What I read here is all pretty basic and general. Could apply to any newbie to webdesign. And – maybe it’s just me – but the style of writing seems to address people with the intelligence of a 7 year old.

    If I wasn’t already interested in webdesign I wouldn’t become interested after reading this article.

  6. Heather

    FFS we can do without this kind of ageist article. It’s condescending and patronising.
    Maybe to a young person someone over 50 is “old” but that’s not the case any more and often our life experience contributes far more to a project than raw enthusiasm.
    I’m unsubscribing – there are plenty of better informed teachers out there. I don’t need this kind of crap.

  7. sudip pal

    what is the charge per month for learning in indian currency ?
    need to know the duration of the course?
    the process of learning?

  8. A.Qureshi

    Rudolph thanks for such a great article… I am writing for the first time to any article you made me do it. I have not encountered any old fashioned designer so far… Mature and aged clients or layout dictators are the too boring and are disaster to the design industry… I don’t know how rigid I will be in my 40s just saying… All I found is every body tries to be a Web Art UX/UI expert even if they are doing it for the first time such an attitude with zero flexibility is priceless and thats I think this is because “Self done is Always Well Done”.
    After reading your this lovely Post they may not end up at garbage.

  9. This article hit me in the best moment. In an age of 59(!) I recently started my webdesign freelance company. I have already done quite a few websites and it became the moment for me to do it more professional. And believe me, I know many young designers with old ideas.
    Keep your work going, I like you website a lot.

  10. Great article and great responses. Learning keeps you young. Don’t forget to exercise no matter what your age is. Web designing is definitely a desk job. You’re never too old if your health is good!

  11. I also am a 60-year-old web designer, and have been involved in web design for 17+ years–an early adopter. I was a sysop for an online BBS for several years before that. Age has nothing to do with it, willingness to learn and tenacity to keep on at it is far more important. I was self-taught in those early years, when everyone online shared their knowledge willingly (and some still do, thankfully). I love what I do, still do, and THAT is the single biggest factor that keeps me motivated and learning… true of any job, really. I work at keeping up with the trends and new ways of doing things, and love being able to help those I serve. As Alex said above, I’m never bored, always have something new to learn, and I can be anywhere in the world (as long as there’s an Internet connection!) doing it. I love this “job”!

  12. Richard Norby

    As I started reading your article I just had to laugh. I’m 63 and web development is my passion. I don’t think it’s a matter of age, I think it’s a matter of how flexible your mind is. I started teaching myself about 3 years ago and I love it. I just completed my first big freelance project, creating a Learning Management Platform from the ground up. I don’t intend to stop ever!

  13. Ian

    After working in the computer industry since 1980 as a hardware engineer, repairing anything from PDP8’s to modern work stations I finally retired. After the first few months of “freedom euphoria” I was bored with having so much time on my hands so after puzzling how to use my time I turned to web design. In the last year I have learned Photoshop, HMTL, CSS, JQUERY and WordPress. OK maybe not to a proficient level but certainly to a useable level where I feel able to design and code web sites for other people within a given time-frame.

    Too old? ….I DON’T THINK SO.

  14. Theo

    I turned 59 today and have been learning web design for the last two years. I have no formal background in this area. In my experience learning web design/front end development isn’t difficult. It’s starts with being naturally curious. Contrary to a lot of stereotype perceptions of what happens when you grow older curiosity doesn’t really change. I have always enjoyed learning new things and still do. Learning web design is actually a lot easier than learning a lot of other things. For one thing it’s quite easy to find good info about web design. There are plenty of good (free) tutorials and resources to learn and practice web design. Another aspect that makes learning web design fun is that you can get results quickly. You get instant feedback. Learning web design/graphic design might be harder because it depends on how creative you are. When I started learning web design I noticed that it was a lot harder finding good info and tutorials for that side of web design. Sure there are lot of tutorials about how to use Photoshop. But that’s focused mostly on how to use the software.

    • Cool. My 59th birthday was Sept 10th too! Happy B-day to us!
      I started web design at 53 on top of digital design & illustration . After years of fighting the fight I got a job doing both.
      Never give up! never surrender!

  15. BenQQ

    Does age matter? Then does race? National origin? Hair color?
    Demographic Alert! There is a huge generation of people who have developed
    skills over a lifetime of using the computer and still do on an ongoing basis.

    People’s perception of aging is a self reflection on their own.
    That’s how they come to “understand” aging. Hence, age discrimination,
    especially in marketing gafs like this one.

    How the question is presented here with its assumptions and pictures
    of a rickety old person on a computer is ageist in itself.

    Finally, I would submit there’s more unjustified age bias toward younger
    people and computers–you hear this meme all the time–than older persons
    with a lifetime of experience using them.

  16. alex

    I’m 44 years old, begin webdesign 1,5 years ago, begin to work with an agency 1 year ago, they let me work from home, so i travel 6 month a year, i also have my own clients, now i’m specialized in wordpress, and i make custom templates using genesis or ultimatum framework; i’m actually building my own website and a honk kong company.
    I make money, my work is my favorite hobby, i’m never bored because i always have something new to learn, and best of all i can be anywhere in the world, i’m totally free!
    the only age that matters is the one you have in your mind! personally i never suceed in being an adult, and this job suit me perfectly :-))))

  17. Joe

    I’ve been a web developer for more than fifteen years and one of the largest reasons I chose this field was because I recognized it as an ever-evolving technology. Concepts and practices that were used in the beginning have drastically changed and will continue to do so for a very long time. That being said, anyone who is in web design and wants to continue on with that profession needs to understand that, regardless of age, you will constantly continue to learn. So no, I don’t think you are ever too old to learn new things.

  18. I learned to work with the Web in 1996 and have been freelancing ever since. I’m well into my fifties and have no intention of not working with the web, and I intend to keep up with advances and maintain my skills and knowledge as long as I can.

    It’s not about age, it’s about interest, and persistence.

    Lifelong learning is a fact.

  19. As a 60 year old web designer I’m sure folks in my age bracket have a lot to offer in this area. But, then, I’ve geen a programmer, analyst, sysadmin type since my first real job in the 1970’s. I can say that I don’t think webdesign is any more difficult that migrating from an IBM mainframe to Unix, or learning a new programming language. If you have an eye for design, and patience to learn a bit of code, you can go far. And, age might be an advantage in that we have a tendency to go for practical and easy to use over glitzy and possibly difficult to interpret.

    • Hear, hear, Beth!

      As a 63 year-old career database programmer who is looking for something more creative than just learning yet another programming language, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

      Not only do I have an opportunity to apply my skill-set in transitioning to MySQL, Javascript and PHP, but I am learning new skills in visual design, page markup and styling, Photoshop and Flash … and even learning some of the finer points of photography.

      While I do not have the energy I used to have, I do have a lot more experience in both a business and a personal sense. My only problem seems to be the switch from left-brain to right-brain. It’s tough sometimes, but gee it’s fun.

    • True!

      Quite a lot of people are asking this question during our webinars. We make it a point that as long as you have the desire to learn, no matter how old you are or what educational/work background you have, nothing can stop you!

  20. Saeed

    I am 32 years old. I started to learn web designing about 6 month ago. sometimes i think with myself that it is too late for learning web design. but i keep going to learn. what ever happen is not important. i say with my self i do it for pleasure.

  21. As one who is in her late 60’s I can attest to the fact that age is not a barrier to website design.

    But at the same time it is probably not as easy for someone my age as for my 16 year old grandson. Not just because his brain is younger but because the things he does on a computer come second nature to him. So I have to work a lot harder at it…..perhaps it is just a different thought process involved.

  22. Kristi

    I turned 50 this year. I am learning web design and I definitely don’t feel like my age is going to hinder me – in fact, I think it will be an asset.