Web Design – What Is It?

Web design is often the project catchall starting point whether you have a website already or are looking to have your first site developed. But you may not even really be sure exactly what web design is.

Web design is the process of creating a website using various web technologies such as HTML, XHTML, CSS, server-side languages, javascript, Flash, etc. At this point, the differences between any of these are not all that important. Just understand that these are the underlying technologies, along with web graphics, used to create the individual web pages and the various functionalities of those pages.

But web design encompasses much more than just designing web pages.

Web Design Starts With A Plan

Do not start with a layout or a design. Because it is so visual, it is very easy to jump in with some idea on how you want your website to look. A good web design company will help you to determine the goals and purposes of your website first. Otherwise, you may end up getting a website that looks the way you want it to, but doesn’t do what you need it to do.

Your Website Is More Than Visual

Websites are more than the sum of its parts. What you see when you look at a website is often very different than what goes into creating what you see. It is very important to understand that, while visual and perhaps very similar, a web page is entirely different than a printed page; even when looking at an identical reproduction of a printed page, they are two different things.

As design goes, web design involves more “coding” than what you might consider “artistic design”. We encourage you to look at the source code for a web page to get a better understanding of what’s behind what you see. For example, view the source of this web page (you can often right-click your mouse and select “view source” on any web page). Scroll through the page and you may pick out enough of the text to see that it matches. You don’t need to understand all the cryptic XHTML code, that’s what your web designer is for. Just understand that the underlying structure is very different than a print document, so asking to move something over, up, down, or making it wider or narrower, is very different than what you might do for a document, brochure, or flyer that you are creating.

Website = Building

Think of a website as a building. Imagine you were building a new store, office, or even a home. Building a website is very similar. You determine where you want it to be, in this case, your domain name. You determine why you want it or what you want it to do. You calculate your budget to determine what you can afford. You work with your architect to create a design that both visually and functionally, meets your needs. Working with your web developer, based on the goals of your project, you then determine how to allot your budget to best serve and achieve your goals… maybe you put more money towards flooring, and less on paint, save the 3-season porch for a future addition, but add another room. And then construction begins. It is very important though to work openly with your design team so they understand your goals, your plans for today and in the future, what is most important to you, and the budget for your web project.

Web Presence

Web design is only one aspect of your web presence. Web hosting, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), web marketing, and domain name management are other important areas that combine with the design of your website to create your unique web presence.