You’d like to invest yourself in Webdesign skills?
Here are some ideas to avoid committing common mistakes.
The goal of this article is to give advices to those who may feel lost in what we may call "the web creation processus". I also give my opinions about webdesign.
If you think I’m wrong, on any point discuted in this article, I’d be glad to read your opinion in comments, and discuss about it. What I say is not about established "facts", or the only one truth in this world about webdesign; I only say what I think about it, and god knows I may not be right
What’s your target?
When you design a web template, you should always know where you’re going. Keep in mind what should be the final result of your work, and how it’s going to work for real.
Webdesign has nothing to do with Web development, languages, will you tell me? Quite the contrary, you’ll design a template in a whole different way if you know all technic details of a project. You’ll certainly work better if you really know what’s going to be the final appearance of the website, not only a bunch of layers in Photoshop. Webdesign is more than that, it’s all about interactivity!
Some people would probably start designing a template on Photoshop, and then having a look to site’s structure and content, etc.
It’s, in my opinion, a big mistake; design must be accomplished after having had a deep look on lots of these questions. Webdesign is not only about esthethics, it’s also about the website in its whole idea, from the beginning to the end, including all facets of ergonomics, information structure, etc.
Never value an effect, a filter, etc., over ergonomics. Ergonomics is extremly important, always think about it when you’re creating a design. At any step of development, put yourself into a visitor’s shoes, never ignore ergonomic deficiency by lazyness.
Flexibility of the layout
Some designers, when they’re creating a website, completely forget about the use of their layout design in real life. They won’t have necessary thought about its flexibility. Here is a typical example :
If a template is designed in a Photoshop file 1000px large, what will happen if you’re having a look to this "future" website on a giant screen? or a very small one? Did you think about it? Your design will be very different, depending on which background is used beyond layout zone. Is the website centered, aligned to left, aligned to right ? etc.
Use of web typography
The main tool of Web is text. For instance, don’t design a menu made of images, if the font you used is called Arial, black on white! To play with real text and good CSS could lead you to a very different and much better solution. The text will always be readable no matter what the browser and the platform of visitor are. It’s pretty nice for SEO, it’s natural and it’s downloaded within a split second.
Web typography is beautiful and wise, because easy to use. To decide using a menu made of images, the use should be justified and the font should’nt be a Web font.
Web is not print
Old generations still think that Web is the same as print media… that’s a enormous mistake; Web allows you to live a wonderful experience, because it’s an application, interacting with a user, himself being somewhere in its own different environment.
it’s possible to adapt print media to Web, but you must take the time to do it. To adapt doesn’t mean to copy and paste.
Animated stuff : Flash
Really a lot of people think animated stuff is incredibly sexy. Beside that, a normal HTML website looks dead, boring. Lots of proof are there to proove that animated elements are often distracting the user during his user experience. Sometimes, it’s really getting on their nerves (loops, music), especially when they come back a second, a third, a 20th time on the website. The best example for that is Flash intros, what a pain in the ass!
Flash isn’t pretty SEO-friendly. Google is now able to read text in Flash files, but cannot if there are dynamic imports, and there are some other problems like that… It’s possible to simulate HTML pages with Flash, but still there, that much trouble must be justified by very good reasons!
Do you agree with things discuted in this article? What’s your opinion?
Get inspiration everyday
Like everything, you will not reinvent the wheel. Lots of directories are dedicated to nice CSS websites and nice Flash websites. Could be a good idea to have a look on a regular basis, to see what are last fashions, it’s not evil.
Here is list of CSS galleries :
Note : it is a RSS feed, so it keeps updating alone.