Web design is a general term that has grown to encompass a wide and growing field of web site development. It includes design, e-commerce, templates, cms systems, programming and scripting, optimization, and photography for the web.
- Design is the artistic side of website design and is where creative thinking and artistic abilities form the uniqueness and distinction that can set your website and company apart.
- Professional web design typically requires advanced design software. Some programs that you should be familiar with include:
- Photoshop by Adobe
- Illustrator by Adobe
- Fireworks by Adobe
- Color themes and tools, color schemes, and the color palette are important in design. Mozilla Firefox browser offers many web developer friendly extensions and tools for free. Three essential tools: eyedrop color selector, measuring ruler, and firebug.
E-commerce is more than just using paypal. E-commerce is a term that refers to a premium suite of electronic transaction tools where all business revolves around the shopping cart platform installed on your server. Popular shopping cart platforms include:
- Zen Cart
Shopping cart platforms are complex software packages built upon relational databases like mysql and often use php. Shopping carts can be customized by modifying the css stylesheets of the template, changing the template, editing internal .tpl files, and by configuring the shopping cart settings.
Templates are pre-designed themes and styles that you can easily integrate into your website design. Templates can provide a solid foundation upon which you base future designs off of and not only save time, but also provide higher levels of sophistication and functionality without costing thousands of dollars. Here are some examples of popular themes that you can start using today.
CMS systems are content management systems and like shopping cart platforms are complex packages of software that maximize website administration and management. Most cms systems come with built in WYSIWYG editors and have powerful administration tools. CMS systems are highly customizable and are recommended for most web projects. These platforms require cms web hosting.
Popular CMS systems
- Expression Engine
Optimization is the field that covers image compression, article writing, keyword analysis, alt tags, anchor tags, meta tags, and other related topics.
Photography adds a critical dimension of respectability and visual communication to any website. Photos set the motif of a website and can add meaning. Website designers can either take the photos themselves, or rely on a popular alternative, stock photography. Stock photography is photo sets that professional photographers and artists have created with many years of experience and precocious talent. Stock photography sites offer a license to use and download photos and images created by graphic designers in exchange for a fee that is split between the website owners and the photographers.
If you'd like a css web design kit that comes with 3d lightboxes, modals, carousels, and more along with step by step tutorials, you might want to try my jQuery combo pack. See the html web design kit.
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