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Web Design and Great Web Design

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Some FAQs about web design, to provide you with a reference point to judge what makes a website good or bad.

What is web design?

Web design is the process of designing and creating web pages and web sites. Some people use the term to describe creation of the entire website, while some make a distinction between web design, which involves the appearance of the website and web coding, which concerns the way it is constructed. In this article we will use the term to mean both the creation of the appearance and the underlying code.

What is the frontend and backend of a website?

The frontend is the part that is visible to visitors, and includes the HTML and JavaScript code that is recognized by most browsers. The backend is the part of the website that is not visible. This part can be coded in PHP, ASP, Perl or any number of different computer codes, and it is the part of the website that carries out more complex tasks, such as forwarding emails, checking form inputs or updating a database.

What does cross-browser compatible mean?

There are many more internet browsers than the popular Internet Explorer - Firefox and Safari are two other popular examples. Each of these different browsers interprets the code that websites are built from slightly differently. This means that a web page viewed using one browser may be very unlike a page seen in another browser. If a website is cross-browser compatible, it has been designed to work in more than one browser. The ultimate goal is for a website to look and function the same, or at least look good and function well, in all browsers.

What is good web design?

Good web design should first of all meet the goals of the website, whatever they might be. To be effective the design should be visually appealing. However, there is much more to good web design than simply aesthetics. Good web design should create a website that:

  • Achieves the goal of the website
  • Has valid code
  • Is visually appealing
  • Is as clear as possible to the user
  • Is fast loading
  • Is accessible to all, including disabled users
  • Is search-engine optimized

How can you design web pages well?

First of all, follow a methodical design process. If you do this, you have won half the battle. Good coding is vital to increase the speed a page loads and also for accessibility reasons. With respect to the visual design, this should be based on principles of website usage, such as where on a page a typical user will focus their eyes, and how they may scan through page.

How can you tell the difference between good and bad web design?

A bad visual design will be obvious at first glance, but a design that looks stunning, can still be very bad design if it is slow, or difficult to use. A well designed website will look good and at the same time demonstrate the attributes of good web design detailed above.

At Real Free Websites, with many years of experience in creating websites, we ensure that all websites we make strictly adhere to the principles of good web design.

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