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#1 itsjimmy91  Icon User is offline

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Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:59 AM

First let me start this by saying I'm a web developer. I have a job working with ASP.NET and C# and I am fluent in PHP and Javascript. I can do all of the back-end of a website and get it all to work to a client's needs. My huge weakness, however, is the design of a website. I know HTML and I know the basics of CSS, but in terms of design, when I try and put a website together it pretty much looks like it's straight out of the 1990's. Yes, it works, but the design is pretty lame and unimpressive.

So, this leads me to a few questions. Maybe they're basic or maybe there's no right answer, but I'm looking for opinions and advice.

I am very bad with Photoshop. All of the big-time designs, are they done with .psd files? Is it possible to create a modern looking website strictly with CSS? What are some things that I should look into to really be able to develop good website layouts and designs? Should I force myself to learn the Photoshop side of things?

What do you guys do?

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Replies To: Design Aspect of Web Development

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:12 AM

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I am very bad with Photoshop. All of the big-time designs, are they done with .psd files?

I am not sure what you are implying there, but a PSD is just a photoshop image file, right? You don't just slap that on a hosted site and some how it automagically works. What people tend to do is mock up a site in photoshop and use the slice tool to break out specific jpgs/png/gifs/etc and optimize them for the web. They still need to hook up the images to the html, and that is typically done with css.


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Is it possible to create a modern looking website strictly with CSS?

Yes, see above.


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What are some things that I should look into to really be able to develop good website layouts and designs?


If you don't have an artistic eye it'll be a hard road.. but typically find some of the bigger sites, read what they are doing, try it out, etc. Heck just search for "X best web site layouts" and see what people are doing.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/books/
http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/
http://sixrevisions.com/
http://forrst.com/

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Should I force myself to learn the Photoshop side of things?

I don't know.. do you? I mean you could easily just toss out the work to a quick consultant and continue on.. or start cranking down on the artsie side. I am unsure of the motivations (work, career development, shame, family, etc), but might as well, right?
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#3 itsjimmy91  Icon User is offline

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:17 AM

Thank you for the quick reply. In terms of the .psd file part, I know that you don't just plop the image onto the HTML page. But, you mentioned that people slice the images from the files and use those within the HTML. I guess this is where I run into my issue since I am not fluent with Photoshop and can't whip up one of the mocks and then use the images that I slice from there.

This post has been edited by Dormilich: 24 April 2013 - 12:10 PM

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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:21 AM

Okay.. so don't use it. I mean hell... I can crank out some easy div background graphics in paint.net if i really had to. The placement on the screen, size, etc are still dictated by the CSS.

You can substitute using photoshop layers and what not with a piece of paper, a pencil, and some imagination.
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#5 itsjimmy91  Icon User is offline

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:05 PM

Right.. I can do that also. I can build your typical fluid, columned page with CSS. I guess my question is, is some type of image editor almost vital eventually to make the site really pop? Maybe I'm asking a stupid question, I'm not sure.
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:10 PM

No.. the tool doesn't automatically make you a grade a super star/artsie designer. Sure it helps, but if I sketched out all the parts on paper (with a super cool stencil), I can still draw up those individual parts.

So yes.. if you are trying to make graphics *some* sort of graphics program, but having said program isn't going to by pass the need for a developed artistic eye.
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#7 Dormilich  Icon User is offline

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:11 PM

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Is it possible to create a modern looking website strictly with CSS?

for an impressive demonstration, look at the CSS Zen Garden.
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#8 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:04 PM

I suck at graphic design.... but I do alright with web design. With one simple trick (just like the Facebook weight loss ads about the local housewife!)....

I look at web design as laying out a series of colored boxes on a screen. If you can organize those boxes, you can create a web layout. That's what you're doing with that .psd file, by the way, you're cutting out the individual boxes... and then you'll put your little puzzle back together with CSS.

Not sure if my little goofy way of doing things will help you, but when I made the connection between the boxes and the code, my design skill improved greatly (web-specific design... my graphic design skills still suck).
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#9 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Design Aspect of Web Development

Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:37 PM

My portfolio is purely CSS with no images whatsoever. Admittedly it needs some work, but it serves for a point: http://www.baweaver.com
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