Most Popular Topics

Web Design Process

Web Design Process
The Web Design Process

1. The project brief

It is very important to meet with the client, either in person, over the phone or through e-mail or Skype in order to create the project brief for the website or so you can analyse and discuss the brief the client had already created. The brief should be detailed and specific and must be documented and agreed upon in order to allow it to be referred to later in the process. As a web designer you can also state your price and outline a time frame based on the brief. Without a detailed brief these things would not be possible.

2. Identify key requirements

Based on the brief and your discussion with the client, you should first identify the key requirements that the website must meet. Is it an e-commerce website? Does the client require a content management system? Does it require special effects? Factors like these would decide the design approach you take and these should be allocated the most time in your time-frame and they should be the central features around which the site is designed.

3. Research existing websites

If the website is to be a business venture it is important to first assess the competition. Sometimes a client may request that their new site appears higher in search engine rankings than a competitors or that it have extra or additional features therefore it is important to assess what you are up against, so to speak. It is also important to be aware of what the industry standards are for a particular type of website if you are not familiar with them. As a designer constantly browsing, reviewing and analysing new websites is good practice and can provide a source of inspiration for your future designs.

4. Develop the basic website structure

Before you begin the technical design and programming of the website you should first develop ideas for the basic site structure and layout through sketching and drawing. Ideas can be developed quickly and easily in this manner, much quicker than through Dreamweaver or Photoshop, and 'boxing out' the design will make the actual creation of the website a simpler process further down the line. Refer to the web design tips section for guidance in how best to layout your website. At this stage a quick check-in with the client would be recommended before you progress to the next stage.

5. Create the website graphics

Once you have identified the layout and style you want for your site you can begin to create the graphics you will need for the website. This may include the website logo, banner, buttons, image maps, resizing and formatting pictures etc. All these should be designed with consideration to the style and colour scheme of the website. There are a variety of file formats you can use for your graphics, the most common being .gif and .jpg. To help you choose the format which is best for you see the common file formats section. For help and assistance with the creating the graphics you may find our Photoshop and illustrator tutorials useful.

6. Create and program the website

With the layout decided upon and the graphics ready to be put in place you can now begin creating the basic site structure. Begin with the HTML template and use it to create a site master page which will be the starting point for creating all your web pages. Ideally you you should use CSS media queries to make this template responsive. In most cases the majority of your web pages will have the same basic layout so creating a 'master page' first, which can be the template for all other pages, is an approach which will save you time. Once the template is set the graphics and content created earlier can be inserted into the relevant pages easily and quickly completing the website. Once again this would be a good time to get feedback from the client so they can review the design.

7. Refine the website design

Based on the clients feedback and having reflected on the design yourself, make any necessary changes to the website. This may involve subtle changes to the colours, editing or changing images, changing the font style or small layout changes and spacing. Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O.) should also be part of this process where including certain keywords, tagging images and using meta-tags are all part of the process. For more in depth information see the section on SEO.

8. Website testing and QA

This is a simple task that involves proofreading all the website content, testing all the links and any interactive features of the website. It may also be suitable to get feedback from a select group of people matching the demographic of the website's target audience to test the suitability of the website design and functionality.

9. Launch the website

Getting the website online is the culmination of the process but the old adage of 'build it and they will come' is certainly not applicable to websites. It is vital to index the website in as many search engine directories as possible to ensure visitors can find the website, advertising the site across a variety of media is also useful. On-line advertising through methods like Google Adwords is a recommended approach as well as using social media like Facebook, twitter, Google+ and others will also increase your websites online presence as well as driving traffic to the site.

If you enjoyed this article then perhaps our articles on the graphic, interior, games or furniture design processes may also be of interest.

Mixing Metals & Colors in Interior Decor

You’ve spent days poring over sample paint colors for your room, but have come no closer to deciding the right shade than when you started. We totally understand. Choosing the perfect color for a room can be difficult and stressful. The wrong color can make a room look completely drab and uninteresting, while the right one can bring it to life. Moreover, colors have been show to impact the moods and thoughts of people. Bright, cheery colors such as orange and yellow have a positive effect on people. Many shades of black or brown, on the other hand, are often associated with depression and negativity.And if that was not difficult enough, some colors look different at different times of the day, depending on the amount and nature of light in the room. Phew!

When choosing wall colors for your room, you also have to make sure that the color matches the various finishes and accessories in that room. Since the current trend is all about incorporating metals in interior design, today seems like a better day than any to find out how to team metallic accessories and lighting fixtures with various shades and colors. And the below infographic from Industville attempts to do exactly that!

In addition to some amazing color ideas for various rooms in a house, it also shows you how to marry those colors with metals so that you have an absolutely stunning home. For instance, did you know that the gorgeous gold tone you’ve been eyeing for a long time could lift your living area to a different level altogether? Yes, that’s right! These subtle, but warm and inviting shades are “in” right now, especially when you pair them with muted reds, crimsons, and navy blues. But don’t use them in your study. The best color for a study would be a nice blue. Blues are generally associated with calm, serenity and intelligence. A strong blue aids in stimulating clear thoughts, while lighter shades help in calming the mind and improving concentration. And if you love pink, you are in great luck! Blush pink/rosy shades work in almost every room, except perhaps your gym or exercise room. And what’s even better is that the color is so versatile that you can match them with a whole lot of metallic shades, including gold and copper.

Create your own Angry Bird

The Angry Bird Family
Which Angry Bird will you create? 

Following the release of the Angry Birds Movie we thought it might be fun to practice our graphic design skills and make our very own Angry Bird. This tutorial is completed in Illustrator but all the tools and techniques used are also available in Photoshop. The reason I am using Illustrator is that Illustrator is the best program for creating vector graphics using the pen tool. Logos and cartoons are normally made with the pen tool so they are created as vector graphics, allowing them to be resized up or down without loss of quality, therefore this image will be created using the pen tool. If you are not familiar with the pen tool then you can read this guide to using the pen tool before you start.

Now that that is cleared up, let's begin making an Angry Bird!

1. Go to File-> New and create a canvas 700px wide and 500px tall.

2. Go to the layers window and rename the base layer 'Body'. Select the ellipse shape tool and create a circle, set the colour of the circle to red, as we'll be creating the red Angry Bird, and put a 7px black stroke on the circle.

3. Use the direct selection tool to move the top and left anchor points slightly, as seen in the image below.
The Angry Bird's Body

4. Now use the add anchor point tool (within the pen tool) to add 6 anchor points across the top of the body, don’t be too particular about the placement as we will be moving them soon anyway. See the image below.

5. Next select the direct selection tool and drag the 2nd and 4th anchor points upwards and the use the handles on each anchor point until the shape resembles the image below. (If there are no handles on the anchor points it is possible they are straight line anchor points, use the convert anchor point tool and click and drag slightly on each point to convert them to curved line anchor points.)

The infamous 'quiff' of the red angry bird

6. Now open the layers window and click the button circled in the image below and create a new layer, call it 'belly'.

7. Next, while on the belly layer, use the ellipse shape tool to create the rough shape of the belly, colour the shape in white and set the stroke to 0pt. Then zoom in and use the direct selection tool to move the anchor points and their handles into a shape similar to the image below.

8. Open the layers window again and click the new layer button and create a new layer, call it 'eyes'. If it is not the top layer, move it to the top. Use the ellipse tool to create two circles for the eyes, each circle should be white with a 3pt stroke. To overlap one eye over the other as show in the image below, right click on one eye and select move to front.

9. Next create a new layer, call it 'eyeballs'. Use the ellipse tool to create two small black circles without any stroke. Position the eyeballs as shown in the image below.

10. Again create a new layer, call it 'eyebrow' and ensure it is the top layer. Use the Pen tool and click (do not click and drag) one at a time creating new straight line anchor points in the shape shown below remembering to join the last anchor point to the original point.

The angry bird eyebrow
Getting the mono-brow right is the key to making him look angry
11. The next part of the image is the nose. Create a new layer, call it 'nose' and once again ensure it is the top layer. Use the pen tool to create the rough shape of the nose, remembering to join the last anchor point to the original anchor point. Give the shape a yellow colour and a 3pt stroke. To edit and refine the shape of the nose use the direct selection tool to move the anchor points and their handles around. You may also need to use the convert point tool as the nose shape uses both curved line and straight line anchor points. The image below shows the image alongside the layers used so far to create it.

The angry bird and the layers used so far

12. Finally, create one more layer - call it "tail" and again use the pen tool to create straight line anchor points to make up the tail shape. Position the layer beneath the body layer for best results. If you wish you can use the ellipse shape to create 2 more shapes for the 'freckles' , or whatever they are, on the body.
Red angry bird
The completed angry bird 

TIP: The pen tool can be difficult but remember practice makes perfect so after completing this tutorial perhaps try creating the rest of the angry bird family or other cartoon images.