We know code, and you should too because not only does it put you ahead of code-less job-hunters, but you never know when someone’s going to say “hey, do you know HTML?”. When that time comes, you want to be able to cry “YES. YES I DO” and take a bow. As opposed to cry. We got three lovely people to review O2′s Decoded online code tutorial for beginners to see if it’s any good.

Roadtester #1: Dave, 25, PHD Student from Manchester

Is it easy to use?

The website looks pretty slick and flows really well thanks to some pretty nifty HTML (right click on the webpage and click ‘view source code’ to totally confuse yourself).

Best bit?

I think the ‘try it yourself’ box that instantly shows the results of your work is really important – you can only really learn code by trying it out. Sites like Udacity already use this feature and it works really well.

It’d be nice if there was an introduction about how to set-up your own website (i.e. buying a domain name and hosting, seeing as this is what most people want to learn code for). For example, coding is about trial and error and you have to make sure to make notes in your code along the way, so when you come back to it you know what each section is doing. Although, I understand that people don’t really like being bombarded with too much info.


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I would recommend this to anyone who wants to start learning html – it is better than most other sites out there even if it could be improved.

Road-tester #2: Luis Ouriach, 22, graphic designer from London

Easy to use?

My HTML skills are already at an intermediate level but I’m going to suggest this to a colleague at work- it seems very simple to use and gives a clean and appropriate introduction to what can be (on other websites) a dense subject.

Best bit?

The responsive and slick design. Also, audio is a nice addition because sometimes it’s easier to listen rather than read when being taught something like this.

Room for improvement?

I’d suggest speeding up the hover animations as I tended to leave the hover area before the tooltip showed up. Also, in order to build a semantic page we need to start with a title – so why are titles the second lesson?

The images lesson seems way too brief – getting the image/media in the correct directory and writing the src attribute to reflect this can cause a lot of headaches. Lesson 7 (Javascript) goes from a plain div-less page, to a fully structured HTML and CSS page. You’ve got to think about explaining what Javascript is and why you use it -  JavaScript is a scary language even for those who have worked with it in the past, let alone someone who is only just getting to grips with HTML


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Good, but sometimes you get the impression the course has been designed by a seasoned developer who doesn’t remember how tricky it was to grasp simple concepts when starting out.

Road-tester #3: Ian Brakspear, 16, student from Reading

Easy to use?

The site had a clear and easy to understand navigational system at the top of the page which anyone would be able to make their way around. I would most definitely want to use the site again for future reference; the layout is clear and user friendly and I love the fact there’s an activity at the bottom of each section.

Best part?

I would say the small activity at the end of each lesson! It is a good way to check what you know. I’ll definitely be checking back when attempting to make different parts of a website.

Point for improvement?

Maybe a different colour instead of yellow…?


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As someone that has always wanted to learn how to use HTML code, the site was a fantastic learning tool as I have always been unable to find a website which I could understand. This one is great.

So there you have it from three horses’ mouths. Decoded may get a little complicated for some during the Javascript and CSS tutorials, but on the other hand, it’s unanimously one of the simplest sites our road-testers had seen.

Other sites to check out for HTML code tutorials are Code Academy and the slightly less aesthetically appealing – but still helpful – Tizag

Happy coding…