Getting Started on Web Design
In a prior post, I stated that I was starting to look at web design. While I have designed websites in the past, I found that designing an attractive and professional website is difficult and time-consuming.
Let me test some of my assumptions with you guys. My goals with any new websites are multifold:
- Professional appearance. While I want the site to be attractive, I am not trying to win a beauty contest. Thus, I prefer to emphasize content over form, subtlely over garishness. I am also banning frames.
- ASP.NET-2.0–based. My sites will generate dynamic content, but I also want to minimize the server code I need to write and test, something ASP.NET 2.0 promises. I also like how ASP.NET abstracts away the differences of multiple browsers. I also like the simplicity of creating my own server and user controls or even use third-party controls.
- Maintainability. I am relying on CSS to separate content from presentation. This would enable to change the look of my site with touching each of the webpages. This also makes it easier for me to generated pages on the fly with XSTL transforms.
As for tools, as much as I applaud some of the efforts of Microsoft FrontPage 2003, I can’t help wonder if the developers and product designers have ever designed a commercial website. Thus my development is confined to Visual Studio and Dreamweaver.
Divyesh Jariwala, a reader and web developer, who has offered to design one of my sites, pointed me to a few introductory resources in which he mentioned the following:
- www.DesignOutpost.com. This is a site where one can set up a contest to have talented graphics designers compete to create a logo, template, and many other product. The cost is typically over $150–200 but you will able to view several alternatives logos, suggest changes, and select a great logo.
- www.BoxedArt.com. This is a site with a number of templates and graphics resources. Instead of paying 50–100$ for each template, one gets access to all the resources in the site for $50 a year.
- www.CSSZenGarden.com. This site is the place to go for design inspiration, if you plan to go the XHTML + CSS route. In this site, you can change to different style sheet (or no style sheet) and watch the page undergo dramatic transformations that you would normally expected to be possible.