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 standardized 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 guidelines.
Web development is a broad term for the work involved in developing a web site for the Internet (World Wide Web) or an intranet (a private network). Web development can range from developing the simplest static single page of plain text to the most complex web-based internet applications, electronic businesses, and social network services. A more comprehensive list of tasks to which web development commonly refers, may include web design, web content development, client liaison, client-side/server-side scripting, web server and network security configuration, and e-commerce development. Among web professionals, “web development” usually refers to the main non-design aspects of building web sites: writing markup and coding.
For larger organizations and businesses, web development teams can consist of hundreds of web developers. Smaller organizations may only require a single permanent or contracting webmaster, or secondary assignment to related job positions such as a graphic designer and/or information systems technician. Web development may be a collaborative effort between departments rather than the domain of a designated department.
Tools and technologies
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 standardized 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 optimization tools may be used to check search engine ranking and suggest improvements.
Skills and techniques
Usually a successful website has only a few typefaces which are of a similar style, instead of using a range of typefaces. Preferably a website should use sans serif or serif typefaces, not a combination of the two. Typography in websites should also be careful of the number of typefaces used. Good design will incorporate a few similar typefaces rather than a range of typefaces. Most browsers recognize a specific number of safe fonts, which designers mainly use in order to avoid complications.
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.
Responsive Web Design is a new approach, based on CSS3, and a deeper level of per-device specification within the page’s stylesheet through an enhanced use of the CSS
Quality of code
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 favorably. 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.
User experience design
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.
Search engine optimization
SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.
There are key points of good web design
A designer has to know what the visitors are looking for. Here are some key points that you should keep in mind when designing your website:
1. Guide the eye: good webdesign is about information. Your visitors are on your website because they are looking for something. Use colors, titles and bold if needed to guide their eye to the parts that they might been looking for. Keep more important information on the top fold. The first few second is crucial to keep your visitors interested longer.
2. Spacing: don’t crowd your website. Keep it clean and easy to read, use spacing
3. Alignment: keep things lined up. It shows professionalism and it is easier to read.
4. Navigation: it is very frustrating if you cannot navigate the website or find the information you are looking for. Navigation has to be clear and on the top of the page.
5. Usability: provide the information for your customers what they are looking for.
6. Web accessibility: refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality.