Designing professional Web sites is not just about making beautiful pages: It’s about understanding your audience and crafting an information structure that not only meets their needs but fulfills business goals as well.
It’s about working with a team of people, and understanding the interworkings of the production process from content development through to visual design, comp production, and technical integration.
Over the course of the next 300 or so pages, I show you how to understand the Web design process from start to finish, with an emphasis on creative design and development. At the end of this book, you’ll have the understanding it takes to tackle a major, commercial Web site project. You’ll still need lots of practice and experience to turn out the good stuff, but this book gives you the solid foundation that you need to succeed.
The Web Design Kick-Off
Professional Web site design involves a lot of moving, interconnected tasks. To be a successful Web designer or Web manager, you must understand the entire production process and the people you’ll work with along the way. Chapter 1 introduces you to the roles and responsibilities of a typical Web project while Chapter 2 outlines the production process and how to manage it.
Understanding your audience and then crafting a site structure that not only makes sense to them but also attains business goals is a tough balancing act. Chapters 3 and 4 help you to draft the blueprints for your Web site, and Chapter 5 helps you to design visuals that help people successfully navigate your site. Chapter 6 shows you how to test your designs with the end user to see how well they work before you invest a lot of time in final production.
Designing Web Graphics
Designing the actual graphics for a Web site is the fun part. Chapters 7 through 12 discuss graphic design issues and techniques according to how they relate to the Web, along with all the technical color theory and palette stuff that you need to know. I also show you graphic production techniques and how to prepare client presentations.
Producing the Final Web Site
After you determine the graphic and user interface design, the real work begins — assembling the designs into a working Web site. Here’s where the scary technical stuff comes in. Don’t worry — Chapters 13 and 14 give you a friendly tour of the inner workings of HTML, the basic language of the Web, and an introduction to Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. Chapter 15 takes you a little further and illuminates the technologies that really turn Web sites into movin’, groovin’ business machines.