Web Design Decoded

March 28th, 2011

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A common topic that comes up with current and prospective clients is the difference between a custom site and simpler solutions like themes or templates and what really goes into a website “design.” Since we understand that ours is a complex, ever-changing field with an intangible product, we thought it was time to “decode” the code.

Web Design Decoded

So, what is web design? The simple answer is: it’s a blend of marketing, graphic design, copywriting, coding, programming, and search engine optimization. It takes fluency in the languages of (X)HTML, CSS, jQuery, AJAX, PHP/MySQL and servers, as well as an understanding of Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and search engines…and that’s really just scratching the surface.

Strategy, Design, Coding & Love

Here’s a glimpse of what’s entailed in a Chee website design…

  • Consulting with you to understand your target market and your unique functionality needs
  • Researching your field and your competition
  • Strategizing the most important elements of the future site and wire-framing navigation and page flow
  • Designing graphical mock-ups in Photoshop
  • Converting the graphics into web ready images and CSS/XHTML layouts
  • Using coding standards to build the CSS/(X)HTML production (which might include installing WordPress or Drupal software or a cart like CS Cart or Zen Cart)
  • Programming custom elements or functionality (such as shipping calculators or custom registration forms)
  • Writing, editing and optimizing copy as well as important page headers
  • Creating clear calls-to-action to guide users to intended locations
  • Styling buttons, text and adding interactive features with jQuery
  • Integrating newsletter subscription, social media links and most important – custom crafted contact forms to collect important information from your leads
  • Loading pictures, products, articles or other vital information
  • Analyzing appropriate search terms and using these terms to add unique titles and descriptions to each page
  • Testing the nearly completed site in all major browsers and troubleshooting the product which must work in 10 browsers and 2 operating systems
  • Desgining for Mobile platforms and others (like an iPad, for example)
  • Editing and testing further to ensure all links, buttons and forms are working
  • Reviewing with you and making final tweaks and additions
  • Uploading the site to your preferred server and installing Google Analytics
  • Tutoring you on how to update your site (events, links, portfolio, products for sale, etc.) as needed

Not all web designers take these steps, but it’s important that you know they’re all a vital part of creating a website that works – for search engines and most importantly for users.

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