If you are a business owner or planning to develop your own website for any purpose, in the highly competitive online market scenario, it is essential to develop a stunning and effective website at the first point. You need a website, which is not only attractive at the first look, but also has all functional aspects well planned in order to ensure user-friendliness and comfortable usage.
Many of those who are new to the concept of website making may get confused upon hearing about various technologies while approaching web designing or development firms. There is also no clear-cut rule about the fee they can charge in terms of web development. So it is essential for the service takers to have a base level understanding about the web designing and coding concepts to take an insightful and cost effective approach to making websites.
Web designing & coding
Web designing and coding (web development) are two terms, which are used interchangeably by the web companies and freelancers to describe their services, which may confuse you from the very beginning. In real, these terms refer to two of the fundamental aspects of a website development process. Read through the below excerpt to get some clarity on this.
In a nutshell:
- Web design refers to giving an aesthetic look to your website and the UI (user interface) part of the website. Web Designer Adelaide make use of different tools and programs like Adobe PhotoShop, Flash etc. to create the web layout, images, buttons and the visual elements on a website.
A closer look at web designing
Professional web designers always start by considering the actual objectives of the clients to plan and develop an Information Architecture (IA) about the information hierarchy of a website, which will act as a guideline through the designing process. Once this is ready, web designers may start creating an outline wire frame and then finally move on to the designing phase. The experts may use various design principles to create an aesthetically pleasing design, which also ensure a good user experience.
Basic design principles
To develop a good website, there are various basic aspects, which need to be in good sync with the user needs. Here we will discuss a few important things about it:
- Contrast – Designers need to have a close eye on color contrasting i.e. complementing colors. There are many areas in terms of a web design where contrast is crucial. Designers need to look at the size, shape, and textures in order to define attention to various sections of the website.
- Balance – Next, it is important for the designers to make a balanced layout. In web design, there are heavy (dark and large colors) and light (lighter small colors) color elements. It is imperative to use the correct proportion of each color, which is critical in order to achieve a well-balanced design.
- Emphasis – Similar to contrast, emphasis is also a crucial design principle which is important to project certain key elements of any web page. It is a bad approach to emphasize everything. Imagine how troublesome it will be to identify the key points if you get a book with almost 90% of text yellowed.
- Unity – It is the relationship between different parts of a site, in terms of the layout and also the composition as a whole. Designers should be aware of the Gestalt theory as per which unity deals with how the brain organizes data visually by grouping similar elements into particular categories.
- Consistency – A rhythmic finish is important to website and to maintain this repetitive rhythm, consistency is a key principle to follow. Consistent and straightforward navigation is proven to give the best user experience to the site visitors.
Overall, web design is a creative approach to documenting the visual designs to ensure acceptance on the high competitive platform of World Wide Web. A visually appealing and engaging website can surely win a lot of results by bringing in more visitors and also by keeping them for long on your platform.
A closer look to coding – web development
Making a website is similar to constructing a house. It requires proper planning, a good architectural design as a guideline, a skilled and experience contractor to build, and an interior designer cum landscaping specialist to decorate it. A design professional will not be able to take care of the functional aspects too, and you require separate specialists for each. Similarly, in case of website making, you need coding specialists to take care of the functional aspects of it than fully relying on designers.
Web developers are the specialists taking care of giving life to a website, and they are also called as programmers. They take the design as the base and build a completely interactive and functioning website. Developers use coding languages like HTML or more dynamic languages such as PHP to add functionality to various website pages. Now, developers also use many easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla etc. to streamline the development process and comfortably do the maintenance.
Whether it is a new home as discussed above or a website, we have to start with laying the foundation right. In web programming, the languages like HTML, XHTML, and XML have the tools to lay an apt foundation for website, and the frame offers the essential structure to a site on which one can build the design of the entire website.
HTML expanded as Hypertext Markup Language is a basic programming language, which uses hypertexts to help establish dynamic links to various documents. HTML is known as specialized web’s programming language, which is meant to provide an underlying structure to the web pages. All the web pages you see lately are HTML files.
The root HTML documents are simply text documents, which contain the content of a web page and special instructions known as tags. Tags are meant to give instructions to the browsers on how to display the text and graphics on a page and how to control the user inputs. You can easily identify tags as they are enclosed in brackets, i.e. < >. There is a starting tag and ending tag enclosing each text, for example, <b> and </b>, if you have to put in a header, in an HTML file, it will look like <b>’Heading'</b>.
All the HTML documents open with the <html> and the closing bracket it </html>. These are the tags, which give instruction to the web browsers to run the code between the tags and show adequate output. The most commonly used program to help create HTML codes now is the tool called Dreamweaver. This is a user friendly application, which offers a simple graphical user interface which helps the developers to click, drag, and drop components to web page. By doing this, Dreamweaver can generate the HTML code on its own for the users. However, hand coding has its own benefits.
Next, Extensible Markup Language, abbreviated as XML is another programming language similar to HTML, but without any predefined elements. XML is supposed to complement HTML, but cannot replace it. XML is used to add tags to the described data. XML is also called as meta language, which means it allows users to describe the markup language for specific purposes. XML will allow the developers to create specific attributes and tags which suits to the basic needs of the users. XML offers the flexibility to coders to add new elements which will further extend the HTML capabilities.
The Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (abbreviated XHTML) is now replacing HTML as an advanced internet standard. XHTML is also a markup language which is similar to HTML, but it is based on XML. Basically, you are writing XML codes itself with some restrictions based on several predetermined elements while using XHTML. In other words, we can it combines the best effects of XML and HTML to become a much powerful and functional programming language.
Cascading Style Sheets (abbreviated as CSS) is used as a simple styling language, which offers the users the power to alter the presentation and appearance of a website. CSS is the coding language now describing how a web page should look on a browser. Without CSS styling, a website may look and dull and bland. CSS is standard which was developed by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), which is now extensive used as a standard in controlling colors, backgrounds, typography, and other general design characteristics of web pages.
Any organization, small to medium or big sized, will look forward to making a website or re-designing of the existing one at some point soon. Even though there are many professionals who can handle both designing and coding, most of the professional organizations now assign specific tasks related to both these aspects to specialists in each area. From a user point of view, hope this article help clear some basic doubts and misconceptions general public have about web design vs. coding and development.