Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawing, business process, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns).Design has different connotations in different fields (see design disciplines below). In some cases the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management, cowboy coding and graphic design) is also considered to be design.
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 guidelines.
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a set of related web pages containing content such as text, images, video, audio, etc. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet address known as a Uniform Resource Locator. All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web.
A webpage is a document, typically written in plain text interspersed with formatting instructions of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML, XHTML). A webpage may incorporate elements from other websites with suitable markup anchors.
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 version, 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 also 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 centre aligned, to make objects look more aesthetically pleasing on larger screens.
Fluid layouts developed around 2000 as a replacement for HTML-table-based layouts, as a rejection of grid-based design both as a page layout design principle, and as a coding technique, but were very slow to be adopted. The axiomatic assumption is that readers will have screen devices, or windows thereon, of different sizes and that there is nothing the page designer can do to change this. Accordingly, a design should be broken down into units (sidebars, content blocks, advert areas, navigation areas) that are sent to the browser and which will be fitted into the display window by the browser, as best it can. As the browser does know the details of the reader’s screen (window size, font size relative to window etc.) the browser does a better job of this than a presumptive designer. Although such a display may often change the relative position of major content units, sidebars may be displaced below body text rather than to the side of it, this is usually a better and particularly a more usable display than a compromise attempt to display a hard-coded grid that simply doesn’t fit the device window. In particular, the relative position of content blocks may change, but each block is less affected. Usability is also better, particularly by the avoidance of horizontal scrolling.