The Web Production Process - Design
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Using the information gathered from the above tips, design the site, using good HTML, CSS, and creative ideas and graphics. Based on the above research, try to maintain the necessary balance between text and html. Utilize the power of Cascading Style Sheets to its fullest and try and keep your individual web pages as close to 100kb as possible so all search engine spiders can view and index your web pages.
Testing is the key; be absolutely sure that both the navigation and link structure work perfectly, all graphics are embedded correctly, proper onpage optimization has been done (if required), and that the site works smoothly. Have either a third party Q&A specialist analyze these aspects of your website, or try getting a friend to have a look through the site for navigational purposes. It is always better to have someone review your site for quality assurance who was not involved in the design process, since theyíre more likely to spot errors and discrepancies. Remember: websites that have broken links can not only annoy your client, but search engines as well.
You are now ready to launch your website. Remember that you donít want to upload your index page until you are ready for the search engines to spider your site. There is always the chance a search engine spider will find your site, and the worst thing you can do is turn an incomplete web page with errors live. Create a temporary directory where you can test and view your pages until they are ready to go live.
Designing a website is more than whipping together 10 pages of graphics and text. Todayís websites need to look good, as well as have a purpose. In order for a website to be effective in whatever it is understood and expected to do, it needs proper planning and research. The ultimate goal of any web designer is to create a site which captures the userís attention and also provides relevant information that is useful to the person viewing the site. In the end, following these steps will only make life easier on you when debugging, updating, and maintaining these websites along with producing a top quality product.
(Note: This article was originally published in the April 2004 issue of Plug-In).
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