First ever web design,How do you start?

  Trev-199290 15:36 25 May 2004

I,m just about to start building a web site but I have not got clue what to do.
Whwere do I begin?

easiest thing to do is get whatever software you can get your hands on (from a coverdisk or download)and then just play with it,

the behind the scenes code can be ignored in the very beginning but before long you will find that you have subconcsieously absorbed a lot of HTML and will get a feel for what other specific things you want to learn.

I treat web-design ( very differently from other people) like making pictures with clickable bits and have treated the learning curve like I would any graphics package, make pages and pages of rubbish, click every button on the program till you know what they do ( and then I made more pages of rubbish and published them, click here )

Another good trick is to look around the web and see what you like and what seems to work. after a while you will be able to view the source of pages and understand it and be able to learn from it.

In terms of the actual site you wish to publish though it's important to have a clear idea of what you want from it, have a clear layout and ,as Fourm Member intimates, keep it simple.

in conclusion, my advice would be to get some software and just play with it and read every book, article, forum post and help file that you come across. it seams that web-site building can be as simple or as technical as you want it to be, just go for it.

ps. get a good spell checker before you publish otherwise, like me, you will have all manner of garbage flowing from your sub concies subconcsiencs sunconsience somewhere in the nether regions of your brain.

  Taran 23:48 25 May 2004

I'd agree with the above to a large extent.

Web designing software is readily available on computer magazine covermount CDs or perhaps you have FrontPage installed as a component of Microsoft Office, in which case you already have almost everything you need for now.

Experimenting with the software and taking advantage of its help files is the best way to learn and with web design possibly more than any other package, experimentation often leads to discoveries you would never have made had you followed a step-by-step book or user guide.

Look around online and see what you like. This could be anything from a page layout to visual elements on the page like graphic banners or particular colour schemes.

Get a pen and paper and note down some ideas, sketch out a couple of possible layouts and keep a pretty firm idea of what you would like to see for your output. Conceptualising is a lot of fun but it serves a very real purpose. You can cut design time right down if you have a better than good idea of what you'd like as an end result. Adding a bit here, removing a bit there and generally messing around is fine for learning but for a good end product it really does help to have a firm goal in mind.

One of the most important aspects of starting out is subject matter. I lost count years ago of the people I've spoken to or read about who all desperately wanted a website. The trouble is, not as many people have a topic they can wax lyrical about as those who all seem to want a site.

The best suggestion I have on that front is that if you have a hobby or passtime that you are particularly passionate (and knowledgeable) about, use it as the basis of your site.

Whether it's stamp collecting, chalk stream fly fishing (one of my own favourites), yoga or Jazz clarinet doesn't matter. What matters is your ability to write about it and present it in an informative and hopefully interesting way.

Finally, images are all important. Use original images if possible, or if you want to use an image from another site or source always, but always, make sure you have permission to use it. Images on web pages, when used properly, help to break up intimidating large bodies of text into manageable chunks and, as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Keep them crisp, clear, and small enough not to take an age to download.

A brief summary is this: play with the software, get to know it, research your preferences in web layouts and colours and choose a topic you are familiar with. If you do all of that you'll give yourself the best chance of success from the outset.

Finally, you know where to come for help when you need it, and we all expect you to post the address of your first site so that we can admire your work.


  Trev-199290 11:05 26 May 2004

I work for a charity (alcohol rehabilitation) and the site will be as simple as possible, with information, links to other sites and personal accounts. The input will be only from Alcoholics, and for me to just be the messenger.
I don,t think I,m being too ambitiuos am I?

Anyway thanks for the info I,m going to suck it and see and I,ll let you know how I get on.

  Trev-199290 12:05 28 May 2004

I think thats an excellent idea, I did not know about ready made forums, would there be much to do in the way of maintenance or can you automate it.
I found a copy of straight2web which I am playing with at the moment.

  Taran 13:05 28 May 2004

There are loads of excellent forum packages available for use. Many are free.

Take a look at phpBB click here YaBB click here or if you don't mind spending a little bit Invision is superb click here

The above are not only forums, they are a complete community website that is more or less ready to run. You can populate them with some or all of the optional elements of the site and they are all very good at what they do.

However, running any sort of discussion forum is rife with possible problems. Inappropriate or offensive posts can cause havoc and there are certain possible legal implications involved.

Carefully thought out and implemented forums are a joy to be part of. It's important though, to prevent things from running away with you and you have to stick to a certain standard.

  Trev-199290 10:59 13 Aug 2004

I have got hosting with click here
Its free just pay for domain name.
Tried a few packages including a look at heartinternet software.
Have decided to go for Microsft Frontpage 2003,
(which is paid for me, Charity etc.)
Got half of content together, will eventually publish start of Sept.
In cojunction with a school alcohol aware project.
I know I have been taking my time but that is just me.
I have a forum ready for use, thanks to you guys for suggesting that.
Any further progress I will let you know.
and let you see the site when done.

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