4 Replies - 490 Views - Last Post: 19 December 2013 - 09:53 AM

#1 kevin_mchugh  Icon User is offline

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Secret of GOOD web DESIGN?

Posted 07 December 2013 - 04:53 PM

Evening All,

I swear this goes somewhere its just a little long winded.

I was on here the other night there reading a post from some guy who was going to knock up a CMS in his spare time to make money while at Uni (I believe this gentleman was shown the error of his ways....) but it got me thinking about how hard it actually would be to write a small, light weight CMS. The answer it turns out is a couple of hours.

Now this isn't something that is going to have WordPress quaking in its ISP or anything. It has articles, users, tags, comments and pages but can't handle plugins etc. It is written in HTML5/CSS3/PHP, with a nice three tier architecture and lost of error trapping etc. with an eye to refreshing both my web development and PHP skills after a year of .NET desktop work. So form a developers point of view I am very happy with it.

As the week has marched on I realized I have been fine tuning stuff under the hood, to within an inch of its life, simply to avoid doing the front end. Which leads me to my point eventually. I understand HTML, I understand CSS and HOW to use them both but for the life of me every time I try to produce a page it always ends up looking BUTT UGLY! I mean god awful. I could load up a site and sit down and try to copy its layout, fonts, colours etc and it will NEVER look as good as the original. My font never looks as well spaced or as clean, my borders never have the same level of depth or shadow.

Back when I used to use flash (Yeah I quickly saw the error of my ways!) I could quite easily use the WYSWIG environment to get what I wanted. I can produce images in Photoshop that aren't that bad either. I know I am NEVER going to be a commercial artists or a professional designer but I can't help but feel there is something I just don't know about styling and designing web pages.

I guess I am looking for tutorials, advice, general help or the subject of implementing styling properly and how to achieve a better look and feel to my web projects. Not for professional gain but for personal fulfilment. If there is one thing in this life I cant stand its not being able to do something :-)

Yeah I know I am asking "What is the secret to good webdesign?" but I will even take "It's something you are born with get over it." as an answer.

Thanks for the help and apologies to anyone I have upset by putting this in the wrong place.

Kevin

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Replies To: Secret of GOOD web DESIGN?

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Secret of GOOD web DESIGN?

Posted 07 December 2013 - 05:10 PM

You can certainly learn it.. sure the more artsie folk may pick it up quicker, but that doesn't mean you can't. I would suggest reading sites with break downs, reading articles on it, and just keeping at it.

Example:

http://www.smashingm...ategory/design/
http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/
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#3 andrewsw  Icon User is online

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Re: Secret of GOOD web DESIGN?

Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:19 PM

There are a number of online tools as well, that can help you with certain aspects of css-design:

Color Scheme Designer
Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator

Of course, the beauty of css lies in the cascade. You can get a site up and running, and then experiment with the css. (I know that you know this, I'm just trying to be reassuring ;) )

Good luck.
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#4 Fooality  Icon User is offline

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Re: Secret of GOOD web DESIGN?

Posted 13 December 2013 - 04:42 AM

View Postkevin_mchugh, on 07 December 2013 - 04:53 PM, said:

...
I guess I am looking for tutorials, advice, general help or the subject of implementing styling properly and how to achieve a better look and feel to my web projects. Not for professional gain but for personal fulfilment. If there is one thing in this life I cant stand its not being able to do something :-)

Yeah I know I am asking "What is the secret to good webdesign?" but I will even take "It's something you are born with get over it." as an answer.

Thanks for the help and apologies to anyone I have upset by putting this in the wrong place.

Kevin


I have done a few decent designs. The secret I think is to put function before form. Priority 1 is that its accessible to all users, including the blind. (alt tags, a sane structure in the HTML etc.) Review it in multiple browsers, using the sites that do this for you if necessary. (http://www.testize.com/) It must look good on the smallest cell phone screen, as well as on a large TV.

The second priority is speed. The design should load very fast. Everything that a user wants to see should be visible on the first page, loaded fast, and with very little visual searching.

Then after that comes the actual visual design. If you want to know what the design of a highly visited site looks like, first you should go to http://news.google.com, then you should go to http://newyork.craigslist.org/ The moral of the story of these two sites is to look at the minimalism, the lack of graphical elements, the speed at which you can find what you want.

As far as the tech side, use HTML 5 as a way to logically divide up the content in a page, period. Use CSS for all the layout. Take as long as you need studying CSS to master it. The result will be very fast sites, who's appearance depends on the device viewing them, without server side voodoo.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. I don't design professionally now days.
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#5 AfterBurner66  Icon User is offline

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Re: Secret of GOOD web DESIGN?

Posted 19 December 2013 - 09:53 AM

I am not a web designer, I only deal with the coding side, but I have the basics of design as I dealt for some years with small to medium projects (to avoid outsourcing a little bit ;)/>) and I believe that the bit of art is not in everyone but the right ways or the right procedures if you will to do something, can be definitely learned. So, if you can relatively fast, conclude about a poor or a good design, and why is this so, by looking at specific points of a website, then you may have the bit of art needed. Then, this is the kind of "magic" that will allow your designs look professional. Many times we deal with needless details and loose our goal. Simplicity, to be concise and no bell and whistles if you can avoid it, are the fundamental rules in my opinion. The tools are more than enough nowadays, so HTML5 + CSS3 + <some good js framework/ library> for the client, is all that it takes. And there is something else as well: many times we see a well designed web site and as you already said, we cannot reproduce it exactly even with its own code. OK, but then we can ask ourselves, could it be designed better? You see, it's better to see the glass as half-loaded than half-empty. This also, can give a great boost to ideas.

This post has been edited by AfterBurner66: 19 December 2013 - 09:54 AM

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