Web designing is a combination of creativity and technical skills. A successful web designer has a balance of both and others have only one of these attributes. Many professionals feel that availability of web templates have simplified the job of web designers and full web designing is now an easy task. If you are a beginner in web designing you should not rely on such myths and concentrate on your assignment. Here are few things that may help you as a beginner in web designing.
Before you start….
It is important to know about the objective of the site. Deciding about the target visitors and knowing requirements of client is crucial. This helps you to gear up with necessary tools and supporting professionals. Web designing is an interdisciplinary subject. Professionals from different fields contribute in designing a site. Identifying the requirements help in organizing resources and drawing a budget for the project.
After you have decided about the objective it is time to gather resources and draw a detail plan. This helps in improving the workflow. Gather your resources like images and content and plan layout of the site. You may use tools like PHP frameworks at this stage for developing a wire-frame and giving the client an idea about the possible appearance of the site.
With a framework in place developing the site gets systematic. Creating professional looking XHTML pages is the next step. You need to know how to structure HTML and CSS files.
Designing for search engines
Most visitors of your website are likely to come from search engine result pages. As such, it is essential for you ensure that the site can be located easily by the popular search engines like Google and Yahoo. This process is usually referred to as SEO (search engine optimization). Using META tags, keyword rich content and using CSS are few ways of attracting search engines. META tags are only visible to search engines and not to visitors of the site. Make sure to use your keywords in the META tags.
Ensure smooth navigation
Fast loading sites are appreciated by users and search engines. Your website should be loading within 10 seconds of clicking the link. Clean navigation and smart user interface arouses interest of visitors and helps them finding desired information quickly. It is safe to go for commonly used names for sections like Home, Help, Product, Contact us, About etc. rather than opting for trendy alternatives that may confuse visitors. If you are planning to use Flash then make sure to provide an HTML version for fast page loading.
Navigational links should be placed at same place on every page of a site. For long pages you may consider to put them at bottom. Consider using Breadcrumb trail like Home>Section>Sub section>Product. This helps a visitor to switch among different parts of the site easily.
Design a fast loading site
According to latest page ranking policy of Google, a slow loading site is penalized by degrading the page ranking in search engine result pages. Optimizing images and minimizing usage of Flash helps in faster page loading. Try to maintain a page size below 30k. Use of CSS Spirites may be considered only if you have necessary expertise. Compressing CSS, using clean codes and caching helps in speeding up page loading.
Ensure cross browser compatibility
As a beginner in web designing you may feel perplexed with the number of browsers out there. To add to your confusion, each of them has several versions used by different users. A large number of people don’t take trouble of upgrading their browser and designers face issues regarding compatibility of their sites across several browsers and their different versions. It is desirable for a beginner to focus on popularly used browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. There are several online tools available for testing browser compatibility.
Full web designing may appear complicated but a systematic approach can make it smooth and successful. Ensure that the elements are in place. Try to do some experimenting to hone your skills and gain on job experience.
Examples of Great Web Design