Web design is the process of creating the visual part of a site. That is, it involves designing what the site’s visitors see on their web browser when they request for a web page. It involves the use of client side programming languages and in some instances, the use of ready made templates.
Web design is often mistaken for development. Web development mostly deals with the coding behind a site’s functionality. To differentiate the two, take the example of a form. The design involves what you actually see on the browser including input fields and buttons. Development on the other hand involves the creating the code that allows certain actions to occur once the form is submitted. For example it can involve saving the submitted details on the server.
- 1 Programming languages used in website design
- 2 Reasons why website design is necessary
- 3 What goes into good website design?
Programming languages used in website design
The main programming languages used in designing a website include
This is used to provide structure to web pages. It is the language of the web. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language – and continues to evolve over time. Each version of HTML adds more features to handle the ever changing web.
Cascading StyleSheets – is used to provide styling to web pages. It makes colors and user interface easy to apply to an entire website. CSS comes in many different forms – but all are text commands which are applied at the time a web page loads.
Used mostly for web development – PHP is a scripting language that runs on the web server side. Before HTML is sent tot he browser – PHP can run and grab information from a database or remote site for data.
Reasons why website design is necessary
Every website undergoes some design regardless of the programming technology used. Some of the reasons why design is necessary include the following.
Make the site “readable” by browsers
Browsers can only read and interpret certain programming languages. Without website design, a webpage cannot be loaded onto a browser for viewing.
Give the site structure and styling
There are billions of websites on the internet. Besides the domain name, one way of distinguishing between two sites is through the site layout, structure and styling. Web design allows you to determine where specific elements go on a web page. It also helps you decide on the colors, fonts, and media to use on a specific site. Design also helps you add dynamism to the site and therefore promote user interaction and experience.
A website’s design can be used as a branding tool. Since it deals with what the site visitor’s see, good site design can be used to make your site stand out among others. Elements such as colors, fonts, images and your site’s logo can be used to make the site more appealing and memorable.
What goes into good website design?
A well designed website is both appealing and user friendly. Some of the key elements that go into good site design include the following.
Easy to distinguish sections
Modern websites comprise four main parts, the header, navigation, main content and footer.
The header is the top most part of most websites. It’s the part where you can place elements such as your logo and contact information about the site. It’s also a great place to make use of colors which set the theme of the site.
The navigation is simply a set of links which direct the visitor to other pages on the website. Most sites employ a top navigation, side navigation or both. A general rule about navigation is to make it as easy as possible for site visitors to get to a specific page with the least clicks.
The main content area can contain a number of items. These include an article with links, images, and video. When designing the content area, it’s advisable to make it easy for your reader to view the content included. For example, black font against a white background with proper use if spacing is more effective compared to a red font against a green background.
The footer is the bottom most part of the web page. It can be used to provide links to special pages within the site such as terms and policies. It can also be used to provide contact information, a sitemap, copyright information and links to the site’s social media pages.
As mentioned, site visitors should be able to find a web page with the least number of clicks. In addition, sites that are easy to navigate make is easy for visitors to distinguish between normal text and a text link. Making your site easy to navigate is also good for indexing by search engine bots.
Fast loading time
Web design plays a huge part on how fast a web page loads. To increase load speeds, minimize the amount of files a page needs in order to load. You can also use technologies such as CSS rather than bare HTML on your files to speed up page loading.