Developing your Website

There is a term called “Wireframing” in relation to web design that means to create a basic sketch of your web sites user interface. Starting to wireframe websites can range from something as simple as sketching layout ideas on a napkin to using more advanced wireframing software, such as OmniGraffle for OS X users or MS Visio for Windows users. Other options include graphing paper, which helps make straight and measured lines, or web-based options such as Mockingbird or Balsamiq Mockups.

If you are thinking about designing your own web site, or designing for a client, it is always best  to sketch your web sites design in the first instance to get a clear picture of the site layout and design. This is important for when you construct your site as you are going by an agreed concept.

You will then need a software, such as;

  • Adobe Dreamweaver (Windows/Macintosh)
  • Microsoft Front Page.
  • Joomla.
  • Adobe Creative Suite Web Standard.
  • Microsoft Expressions Web.

The link at Webdesign.about.com gives an insight as to what software you might chose for constructing your web site.

Next, make sure you have a good grounding in Cascading Style Sheets ( CSS), as you may want to design your site using only css. There are other ways of designing your site which we will come on to later. You will also need a good image editing software such as Photo shop Elements , Photo shop, or Gimp for your image rendering.

Once you have all designs and software together, you then need to ‘define’ your site, creating local, and root folders, and a testing server for testing your HTTP communications. You also need to create your websites ‘file structure’ for the storing of your text, css, and images in the appropriate folders.

On completion of your web site, always make sure that your HTML and CSS code is valid in its mark-up, you can do this by either using the validator in the ‘result’s section of your dreamweaver software, or by using w3c html code validator for authenticating your code. To authenticate your CSS code you can use the CSS validator at jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/. You do this is because some browsers will render your website differently from others, so to combat this, you have to test your web pages in different browsers, like Mozilla Firefox,  Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer before uploading to the internet. There are other specifications like editing the screen size, and calculating the dial-up time etc.

Now we come on to the subject of  acessibility, this ensures that it will be accessible to all visitors of your site, and is done in two ways:

  • A user-friendly and accessible front-end, including graphics and well-structured information, this must also include information for those with disability. See www.w3.org/Talks/WAI-Intro/slide7-0.html to ensure accessibility. W3c estimates that about 10% of the worlds population has a disability.
  • Secondly, your website should download easily to your visitors computer and connect properly to databases, depending on the network and server, also know as the back-end.

Due to the length of time your website has been on the internet, some of your site links can become broken, if this happens you can update them manually yourself, or use the link checking service at validator.w3.org/checklink to check all the links on your website.

You will also use a suitable ‘host’ for your web site, depending on your site needs. I use Fasthost to power my website, though if you want to avoid costs you can also create your own web server, of which most web developers do for uploading, and updating of their sites.

You can also add other pages like MonsterTwitter or  WordPress to your website, to create a wider audience like I have at Littleoldbloggerme.co.uk for instance.

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