The Beginnings of the web

Before 15-20 years ago when all the Internet boom was happening, we had a very poor choice of “CMS” systems. Moreover, I can’t remember any of them present at that time. What we had was a pure and simple HTML code and a notepad to write our code on. Designing a website at that time took months and months on the end and it was very pricey. Looking back, those web-pages looked more like the Las Vegas “Strip” back in early 60’s. Take a look at these samples below…

Old The Weather Channel site Old Google Site OLD ESPN Site Old Apple site

We have evolved…

Quite a lot in last 20 years. Google has become an absolute leader in the search field, and completely devastated MSN Search, Yahoo, Altavista, HotBot, Lycos and many others. I remember the days when in if you choose Yahoo to search for a “chocolate chip cookies” you would get some sort of a rubbish with links to the adult sites. For the same query on another engine the gardening and flowers would pop up as a search result. So we had to jump from one SE to another in order to get the relevant results.

As Google has started plowing the road for better and more relevant search results, web designers started getting more and more tools of the trade available at their fingertips. One of the first was the Dreamweaver by Macromedia back in 1997 that has shown some serious potential in speeding up website development. Macromedia was later acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.

With the rise of the “Search” the website development tools have become a must for every digital web designer out there. In order to succeed, web designers had to jump on the wagon and learn new skills and practices which had become an industry standards.

WordPress…

Is by far the most used CMS platform today. Unlike 20 years ago, you don’t have to be a web designer, programmer or a script kiddie in order to make a perfectly looking DYI website. A friend of mine, which I’m dedicating this post to, is a carpenter by trade who has been living in USA until 2011, then permanently relocated to Croatia, has absolutely no formal web design education, yet he has put together this beautiful website about his swimming pool business in Croatia. I have asked him how long it took him to put it all together and he told me that for initial website with 12 pages and basic photo gallery took him one weekend. Please take a look at bazenirijeka.com and see for yourself. CMS’s use of plugins is a revolutionary step towards the simplicity of the website designing and general development. I am very confident that the future brings even more simple ways and tools for website designers and developers.

Online job that is pretty easy to train for

2-1-300x260Online jobs are getting more and more popular, and since we’re becoming more and more of an information based society, online information is pretty relevant. Of course, humans don’t interface with data directly, we need visual interface, and that’s why there’s a whole industry revolving around making information look good and be easy accessible. A job of a web designer is to make all of the data available to you for easy access.

Now, that may sound simple enough, but the reality is a bit different. There are all kinds of devices that we use to access data with, from smart phones to home PC’s, and they each use different browsers that read the web code differently, we have screens that are different in size and not all of us have high speed internet connection that is able to handle sites with tons and tons of graphics. It’s the job of a web designer to make sure to create an attractive page with all of it’s features plainly marked out and with all of the data being easily accessible.

The basic tool for making a web page is called HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and allows for making of a very basic site layout, for basic formatting of the text and some other simple commands. It’s a language that anyone who has every worked with computers can handle in a few days, and even the beginners can go over all of it’s commands and learn how to utilize them properly in about a week. If you want something more advanced, there are always expansions to the HTML language like XHTML and HTML5.

A logical continuation of HTML web design language are Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a form of a script language that is very similar to HTML and that allows you to format pages in much greater detail as well as to make style sheets that you can apply to multiple pages without having to work on a design for each of the page yourself. Another pretty easy language to get used to with lots of tutorials available online if you are interested in it.2-2-300x214

For a bit more advanced web design, I recommend that you dip your toe into the world of PHP and SQL, this will give you some basic knowledge about handling databases at the very least, even if you don’t go in depth, and if you do you’ll be able to create some complex online databases.

Getting a job in this field is pretty easy – as long as you’re able to demonstrate your skills and show that you can do what the boss needs you to do, so if you’re interested in getting a job as a web designer, get learning, and in a month or two you should be able to get started at the very least.

Web design as one of the interesting online jobs

1-1-300x221You have some talent for computer skills and enough free time, and you are not employed? Well, how about you spend a month or two of your life to train yourself to become a web designer? While there are courses and classes that you can take that will lead you into the business, it’s much more important that you can dedicate a lot of time and effort into what you are doing, while web design can’t be said to be hard you still need to be able to think in a certain way, and, of course, to have a creative flare – that’s what all designers should have in common.

First of all, a web designer designs web pages, but that isn’t just the visual page, how the site looks like (although that is a pretty big part of it), but what are it’s features, how does it run and so on. A web site is a person’s window into the content they are looking at, and if that window is not functional, not looking well and not allowing for easy and clear access, then the content’s value drops rapidly. Web designer has not only to make a site appealing to the eye, he has to make sure the search engines (crawlers) can access the site and assess on what it is for and what topic does it cover so the site itself can be listed as a search result. Web designer is a coder as much as a designer, and while there are solo web designers, they usually work in pairs or in threes, sharing the responsibilities and work load.

What do you exactly need to be a web designer. Well, first of all, you need to understand the basic coding language online, HTML and it wouldn’t hurt to know some of it’s expansions (XHTML). This is an easy part, as HTML itself has only some basic commands, and you shouldn’t expect to spend more then a week getting familiar with that language. 1-2-300x300A solid knowledge of CSS script language is also something every web designer should have in his sleeve, as that is what makes a site look pretty good in all of the browsers. Speaking of browsers, code and design optimisation take up a lot of time of a web designer – internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox and many more display some components of a web site differently, so you have to be prepared to optimize the site for all of those browsers if you want to get a well paid web designer job.

These two are nearly the basics, there are other things that you can work on if you want to really broaden your options. Knowing PHP, SQL, Java, knowing how to work in photo design and so on – all of these things complement your basic skill set on the way to becoming a web designer.

How to make the best impression with your web design

webdesign-1It goes without saying that web design has become as important as the internet itself. No website can function without a solid design that will make it fast, accessible and convenient, and employers worldwide are becoming more aware of this. Of course, some fifteen years ago the internet wasn’t ubiquitous and many companies didn’t even have a website, or if they did, they didn’t pay too much attention to it. Now all that is history, as it’s considered that, unless you can be properly ‘Googled’, you don’t even exist, so to speak. Internet websites have literally become the most important way of communicating since they will usually be the very first thing you will encounter when making an inquiry about a company or anything else for that matter.

If you’re a web designer, or have any design knowledge, you surely already know this. The website you will create will be your company’s ‘window into the world’. It will be the first impression they will make on everyone, from potential partners to clients and random bystanders. And just imagine how many visitors and inquiries you will get if you make a great website. In this brief article, we will try and draw your attention to some of the things you need to pay attention to if you wish to create the best website possible.

A clear layout is essential
The website layout is perhaps its essential component as it determines the entire look of the website. If you want to make it fun and playful, feel free to do so, but remember to make the navigation easy, so people don’t get confused by your ideas. They are there for the information, not you.

Nothing flashy, just lean content
This sounds obvious, but many designers get carried away and create flashy, fluffy websites, where the text is impossible to decipher. Remember to make your text a dark color on a light background and easy to read.

Contact details should be everywhere
This is also a basic so many designers forget about. You never know which page of the website the potential client will access and if they will have the time and desire to sift through the pages just to find your contact details. So make sure they are visible on every page.

Fonts matter
Make sure they are consistent and never too small. Some people have problems with their vision, even if they wear glasses.

Colors need to be toned down
Many people see the appeal of flashiness, but the truth is it simply doesn’t work for websites, especially if you’re trying to sell something. In this case, more doesn’t imply better and you should make sure the website you’re creating doesn’t contain more than three colors in its base.

The website has to be fastwebdesign-2
It is crucial to have fast page load time, so if you don’t, you should check your design graphics and the content itself. Is there too many? If you upload 50 pictures per page, the website won’t work properly. Keep everything simple, people shouldn’t scroll incessantly and wait for ages for the websites to open.