Found what looks a great site

  erkmatrix 14:28 16 Apr 2004

Has anyone ever used click here looks to have all these great designs that you can buy, has anyone used one of them are they totally customisable if I used Dreamweaver or frontpage etc. Looks great some of the designs but does anyone know if they are any good templates like these. Would I have to learn proper web design to use them. I have dreamweaver and frontpage and quite a few abode programs but never really used them yet.


  PurplePenny 15:43 16 Apr 2004

The site says that they are "compatible with FrontPage, DreamWeaver, GoLive, and other software". They offer a free sample template so why not download that and have a play around with it.


  Taran 20:41 16 Apr 2004

There is nothing in them that you can't create yourself with a little time and some software and by your own admission you already have the necessary software to begin with.

The trouble with templates is that you and any number of others can download and pay for them, unless you pay a lot of money for exclusive rights to it. That means any real advantage you may have had in terms of a unique site layout vanishes instantly.

I'd say you'd be far better off looking at some of the Photoshop tutorial sites on how to generate your own layouts using your preferred designs and colour schemes. Originality counts for a lot these days and for the sake of spending a little time learning to use the software you already have I see no real point in buying something you could make yourself.

  erkmatrix 00:00 17 Apr 2004

oh I'd love to be able to design pages like that, don't know if I have quite what it takes though , must be quite hard, don't web designers earn alot. Is there any free courses in using dream weaver and Abode golive or frontpage. I know very little about these software programs which is prefered by people in here. You certainly got me thinking if only I could design nice looking sites, but where can you get hold of logo's and fancy graphics for sites like the ones on the templates.

Any advice on beginners courses on the software would be appreciated or would I have to spend on a learn direct course or something.


  Taran 10:34 17 Apr 2004

I'm not a great fan of Learn Direct either.

The last web design course I saw offered by them taught you how to generate a very basic page or site in an old version of Microsoft FrontPage and everything the course contained was in the FrontPage help files to start with. I admit that I've not looked recently to see whether they offer anything else, so my apologies in advance if my information is outdated.

Anyone can design pages like the ones on that template site.

All you need patience, time to experiment and learn, and a couple of software programs.

Any good image editor will more than cut the mustard for generating your own graphics and you can create web sites using anything from Notepad that ships free with Windows if you are willing to learn and work with raw code, or by using a third party WYSIWYG [What You See Is What You Get] program like Dreamweaver, if you can afford it.

Now, to dispel a myth:

No, we designers do not necessarily earn a lot. The market is flooded with an awful lot of people who seem to think that as long as they have FrontPage or Dreamweaver they can charge the earth for mediocre designs that the program does for you. There is money to be made in web design, but this is by finding your own specialist niche and sticking to it. Design talent or skill is something you either have or you don't. You can learn it up to a point, but if you judt don't have a good eye and natural feel for what makes a good site for a given purpose, you're goosed.

I personally do a lot of graphics design, a small amount of paper based DTP work for some of my clients, and a lot of programming, database work and web applications, where an underlying database drives the site. This can be anything from an online product catalogue to an easy way to manage large amounts of information where you pull the content of a page from the database and load it into a template page. It's an extremely efficient method of managing very large sites where one or two template pages can be filled with content from the database.

I also have to offer marketing and general IT strategy advice and a whole load of other things, and I think I speak for most web designers when I say that if I had to rely purely on web design as a source of income I wouldn't do half as well as I do now. The design side is just one of many aspects of deploying a good website, and it can and should be influenced by the information, products and/or services you are trying to deliver on the site.

Without a regular influx of graphics, programming and database work, I wouldn't employ the staff I currently employ. In fact if I was only doing web design, that is, designing a site to fit a certain criteria, I think I'd probably be a one-man business.

For learning material your best resource is the web. Go to Google click here and type in the name of the program you want to learn about in quote marks, followed by the word tutorial, like this:


Some Dreamweaver tutorials to get you up and running:

click here

click here

click here

click here

Adobe GoLive tutorials:

click here

click here

click here

Photoshop tutorials:

click here

click here

click here

Don't feel that you must have the latest or most expensive software though. I have gone back to a lot of raw coding with simple text editors like the excellent and free HTML Kit click here

There are loads of sites where you can learn HTML or XHTML to code your own pages:

click here

click here

click here

Look around the web, decide what you like on different sites and why. See which sites deliver their content well and see which ones don't. See which sites have a design that works well for the content and enhances it or shows it in an appropriate light.

Then sketch out a few ideas and go for it. I'm a great believer in make it, break it and put it back together and learn how to fix it. It's one of the best ways of learning, by simply doing. Don't get discouraged if your early efforts aren't a work of art. My own first sites were pretty awful and nobody enters this arena at the top.

Finally, the current issue of PC Advisor ships with NetObjects Fusion MX, an excellent beginners web designing program. It could help get you up and running in short order for the cost of the magazine.

Best of luck.

  erkmatrix 13:50 17 Apr 2004

Aw thanks so much for taking out time and writing that long message with your advice, I'll take a look at the NetObjects Fusion MX in the PC Advisor mag and have a look at the tutorials, yeah I do know a little html from a course I did a while back using notepad like you said, My mate uses dreamweaver for work and says its great but looked a bit complex to begin with. So I reckon the netObjects might be the right place to start to get a feel for it. I have used moonfruit site builder in the past, I know its not really web design using a site builder like that cause its already done for you but it did give me a feel for site design and what looks good.

Cheers again


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