With the advent of the World Wide Web, the designing of websites and web applications has emerged as a lucrative new profession. Typically, the web design process occurs in three basic stages.
-The web designer sketches the layout of the website using Adobe Photoshop;
-The designer then uses Adobe ImageReady, which allows him/her to “slice” the layout into performing various functions on the website;
-The programmer then implements the design into html code, and the site goes online.
The web designer must strive to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and accessibility. A lot of web designers are coming at the field from a background in graphic design. The result is that they oftentimes obsess over how a page looks, without taking into consideration how a surfer is going to find the page.
Then there are SEOs – search engine optimizers – who are obsessed with the opposite – that is, getting as much traffic to a particular website as possible. Their focus is on how the sites works, and often care little for what the site looks like. In fact, SEOs and web designers often come into conflict over this very issue. The SEO will demand a lot of “ugly” features that they feel will bring more traffic to the site. These common features include bullet lists, text links, and lots of keywords. A collaborative solution must often be sought in order to strike a harmonious balance between function and appearance.
What this means is that it is vital for a web designer to have a strong background in visual communication. Graphics can be employed to serve business and communication purposes, and a designer well versed in this language will be more likely to build a successful website.
What’s more, by loading up a page with tons of graphics, designers often times anger and alienate surfers. The more graphically complex a web page, the longer it will take to load. Of course, this is less of a problem nowadays, since nearly everyone uses a high-speed Internet connection. In fact, designers are aware of this, and thus use increased bandwidth as an excuse for more artful webpage’s.
When designing a website, the most important issues to keep in mind are the purpose of the site, the audience, and the content. By deciding on all this at the outset, it becomes easier to set and meet goals of both a short- and long-term nature.