Which tools work best for website designers?
Adobe, after taking over Macromedia have all the software packages required for web designers. Photoshop is probably the very first Adobe product I ever used and probably one of the most used in the industry. Photoshop can easily and effectively create a beautiful graphic design for use within a website I am about to build.
I then move over to Dreamweaver to build the website layout. Some website designers use photoshop for the full design and layout. This method produces a graphic mock up however I prefer to build a web browser based mock up as that is what the client is going to view the site with.
For example, anything is possible graphicaly with Photoshop, however the same can not be said for web browsers and how they render. Â Yes, you can use any font, but it won’t neccessarily look exactly the same in Photoshop as in your finished website, so I prefer to use Photoshop for all graphic elements of the site, then move to Dreamweaver for all text. This makes more sense for speech readers and Google too.
Useful techniques for the design/development process
Web design covers a wide area of topics and another favourite place of mine is the W3C Validator service. You can supply a URL, direct input or even upload a file for the W3C to validate. This is a great service and will help you understand how a web document needs to be laid out schematically. Once your web page is valid you get a congratulations message along with buttons to add to your site to show that it is valid. A validated website works not just for you but also for the browser and will ensure the site is easy to keep updated.
Why choose web standards and what are they?
The Web Standards Project (WaSP) fights for standards that reduce the cost and complexity of development while increasing the accessibility and long-term viability of any site published on the Web.Â For example, using XHTML & CSS to control not just the look of your website but also the layout. Some people use tables to build websites, however using CSS to control the layout allows the website designerÂ to place graphics and content anywhere on the page that can be read easily by web browsers, mobile phones and speech readers.
You know you have covered everything if you have built your site using web standards.
Were to start and continue learning.
Here are a few websites that have helped me over the years.
At W3Schools, you can study everything you need to learn, in an accessible and handy format. The website covers pretty much all areas of web development HTML, XHTML, CSS, TCP/IP, ASP, PHP, Ruby on rails, etc. You name it - this site covers it along with working examples.
This site is visually fantastic and regularly publishes articles that are of interest to designers.
The Smashing Magazine website has a magazine format, and showcases leading areas in design. It offers great tools, articles and inspiration.