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On my last post I discussed the importance of focus groups and explained why and how they can be used to get insight on your users before embarking on your web design. If you think about it though many of the information garnered from focus groups can actually be collected via questionnaires. So why should you spend time on putting together a focus group instead of simply disseminating questionnaires and conducting a survey?
Nowadays there have been customisable websites that have been coming out that are notable not only because they are different in that they are customisable but because they are actually actually pretty popular. One perfect example of this customisable website is the Google Homepage (iGoogle). Once logged in to your own Google account you can customise iGoogle and customise so many things, from the skin or theme to the actual content of the homepage.
The tools for web design and hence the web pages that we eventually create out of it has evolved through time. Back then, website design needed only a few things: a text editor to edit the html mark-up, and a browser to test the design on. But now, we have a dizzying array of web design IDEs and tools, and everyone has learned to leverage the power of more complex and dynamic web development languages: dynamic html and AJAX. But as the tools and web pages become complex, web designers who offer web design services become more and more prone to creating confusing navigation for their web design. It is therefore important to know the basic rules of navigation design.
When you’re offering web design services, it’s not uncommon to have similar design specifications even from different clients. Although ultimately the content will be different and there may be special cases for each client, it is important to note that for most of your web design work, you’re actually repeating design elements. This is where CSS frameworks come in. CSS frameworks, much like an application or development code framework, serves as a basis for your design implementations that share fairly common and core elements.
One of the core principles of modern web designs is the separation of structure and design. Successful website design companies have perfected this process of designing and implementing client websites in a more efficient and distributed way; designers and content experts (usually on the client side) work hand in hand on the project with a clear separation of roles and expectations. Content management is the next step in this separation.
One of the things that you need to be able to do to be a good web designer is to write W3C compliant code. I have mentioned this time and again but I cannot stress this enough. If you are new at web designing this may be one of the biggest hurdles in your way. If you find that the sites you design do not pass the W3C markup validation service though, don’t be too down on yourself. The truth is that the web is littered with sites that do not have validated code. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it is alright for you to keep on designing sites that are not W3C compliant. As a new web designer, this only means that you should start learning more about W3C and the current web standards and guidelines that it has developed and set.
Apologies for almost having forgotten to delve deeper into the difference between the two. The first time I mentioned the importance of knowing the difference between the two what I neglected to emphasise is that, aside from merely knowing the difference, a good web design company should be skilled in both aspects of web development.
Despite all the signs I previously mentioned that pointed out that a web design company is a good one to work with, they’re all pretty meaningless if you cannot gauge the technical knowledge of the web design company. This is especially important if you do not know anything about web design since there are plenty of smooth talkers out there that might convince you of the superiority of the web design services, when in fact they’re just a start up company that lacks technical knowledge and experience. Now there isn’t anything wrong with start up web design firms after all everyone has to start somewhere. My point is simply that you should learn to check whether a web design firm really does know what it’s supposed to be doing.
Aside from having a great website, good people skills, and postive feedback from previous clients the other signs of a good web design company include.