Number One Internet Resources and Services Logo

Web Design info

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites.
The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including
standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often
many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers
will cover them all. The term web design is normally used to describe the design process relating to the
front-end (client side) design of a website including writing mark up, but this is a grey area as this is
also covered by web development. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their
role involves creating mark up then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility

Web designers use a variety of different tools depending on what part of the production process they are
involved in. These tools are updated over time by newer standards and software but the principles behind them
remain the same. Web graphic designers use vector and raster graphics packages for creating web formatted
imagery or design prototypes. Technologies used for creating websites include standardised mark-up, which
could be hand-coded or generated by WYSIWYG editing software. There is also proprietary software based on
plug-ins that bypasses the client’s browsers versions. These are often WYSIWYG but with the option of using
the software’s scripting language. Search engine optimisation tools may be used to check search engine
ranking and suggest improvements.

Web pages should be well laid out to improve navigation for the user. Also for navigation purposes, the sites
page layout should remain consistent on different pages. When constructing sites, it's important to consider
page width, as this is vital for aligning objects and in layout design. The most popular websites generally
have a width close to 1024 pixels. Most pages are also center-aligned to make objects look more aesthetically
pleasing on larger screens.

When creating a site, it is good practice to conform to standards. This is usually done via a description
specifying what the element is doing. Failure to conform to standards may not make a website unusable or
error prone, but standards can relate to the correct layout of pages for readability as well making sure
coded elements are closed appropriately. This includes errors in code, better layout for code as well as
making sure your IDs and classes are identified properly. Poorly-coded pages are sometimes colloquially
called tag soup. Validating via W3C can only be done when a correct DOCTYPE declaration is made, which is
used to highlight errors in code. The system identifies the errors and areas that do not conform to web
design standards. This information can then be corrected by the user.

Good visual design on a website identifies and works for its target market. This can be an age group or
particular strand of culture; thus the designer should understand the trends of its audience. Designers
should also understand the type of website they are designing, meaning, for example, that a business website
should not be designed the same as a social media site. Designers should also understand the owner or
business the site is representing to make sure they are portrayed favourably. The aesthetics or overall
design of a site should not clash with the content so that the user can easily navigate and find the desired
information or products etc.

For users to understand a website, they must be able to understand how the website works. This affects their
experience. User experience is related to layout, clear instructions and labeling on a website. Users must
understand how they can interact on a site. In relation to continued use, a user must perceive the usefulness
of that website if he or she is to continue using it. With users who are skilled and well versed with website
use, this influence relates directly to how they perceive websites, which encourages further use. Therefore
users with less experience are less likely to see the advantages or usefulness of websites. This, in turn,
should focus on design for a more universal use and ease of access to accommodate as many users as possible
regardless of user skill.

Sam DeBono, Webmaster