What should a web designer have in his bag?

  Revi 07:05 24 Oct 2005

I am learning and using FrontPage 2003, html and CSS. With the knowledge that I have so far acquired I can easily set up a fairly average and amateurish website and also make it function on a webserver. I know nothing about databases or password protected pages. What I would like to know is, beside continuing to go deeper in the subjects that I am already learning, what other subjects should I learn so that I can properly evolve on the path of becoming a better web designer.

  mco 10:44 24 Oct 2005

When you find the answer Revi, you can tell me because I'm somewhat in the same situation! It seems to me one thing webdesigners need is a good artistic 'eye' for layout and presentation - and good photoediting software. Whether you can 'learn' that or it is just an inherited ability I don't know, but I would be interested to see what suggestions others come up with in response to your query.

  djinn 11:29 24 Oct 2005


A sound knowledge of html and css is a good start.

For web development - I reckon asp, php or CF, as for web design I reckon you need really to be born with it, a good eye, good colour coordination and the abilty to put it altogether using the tools you have.

For colour coordination, I found myself struggling, I tended to stick with colours I was happy with at first, of course this won't do when given a remit by a client - I found this to be a lifesaver.....

click here

btw - I don't know any server side languages, but will probably go for php/mysql.


  Revi 11:34 24 Oct 2005

I quite agree with you that without an artistic flair you cannot make a good designer. But without the required technical skill you cannot put your ‘artistry’ to much use. Today the huge plethora of software that you have in the market makes one wonder if one could really master all of them in a single life time. Which only leads one to conclude that one has to make the right choices and not plunge into everything that is available. Experienced members of this forum could definitely guide the likes of us beginners so that redundant skills are not acquired unnecessarily. By the way, what as per you are good photoediting softwares? I have Adobe Photoshop 7 is that good enough? Thanks.

  Revi 11:39 24 Oct 2005

Thanks djinn! I missed your posting while I was writing to mco. My next target will be asp, php/ CF. Anything else?

  PurplePenny 11:48 24 Oct 2005

One facet of web design that is often overlooked, but is essential since the Disabilities Discrimination Act, is a knowledge of accessibility; hand in hand with which is usability: it is no good designing a beautiful site if people can't use it very easily.

Much of this may seem obvious: use a font that people can read, keep navigation consistent etc., but you only have to look around the web to see that there are plenty of sites that are not very usable, let alone accessible.

This is a topic to keep in mind whilst learning Frontpage, HTML and CSS so that you learn to use them in an accessible and usable manner from the start. (Always easier to learn good habits rather than having to relearn techniques later.)

Here is the W3C's accessibility section:

click here .... but it isn't very friendly!

This is probably the most useful page in that section -- a checklist of accessibility points:

click here

For a friendlier and easier to use accessibility source take a look at WebAIM:

click here

  Revi 11:59 24 Oct 2005

Thanks for the eyeopener! Will go through the links later.

  ade.h 17:35 24 Oct 2005

It's handy that you should ask this today; I was going to post a query relating to graphics/paint programs, such as Paintshop Pro.

I gather that a lot of pros use the above for their own website graphics, but I wondered what amateurs on a budget should choose? Is there an ideal program for web graphics that doesn't cost too much, or is free, even?

MS Paint is easily over-stretched by this kind of use, although I have seen some incredible wallpaper images that have been designed with Paint by people with exceptional talent and patience.

I hope you don't mind me adding a related question to your thread, Revi.

  Revi 18:00 24 Oct 2005

Your question only strengthens my query, so it is all the better I should say!

  Forum Editor 18:36 24 Oct 2005

Well, apart from the more obvious items like software,and how to use it you will need the following if you are planning to design commercially:-

1. Some design sense - the more the better.

2. Some marketing knowledge - ditto.

3. A basic knowledge of server technologies - ditto again.

4. An awareness of legislation relating to Accessibility, copyright, data protection, and defamation/libel.

5. A strictly controlled archiving system.

6. A reasonable amount of available server space for testing and practising.

7. Good communication skills - customers like someone who is articulate, and exudes confidence.

8. Commercial sense - there's no point in producing fabulous sites at a loss.

  ade.h 18:51 24 Oct 2005

Tips 1,4,5 and 6 apply to us all. No. 5 is particularly important, as I discovered yesterday when NOF's autosave feature was not working properly on the very day that NOF decided to start crashing with a corrupt file. Four hours of work that had to be re-created. Whoops! Just as well it was my site and not one of those that I'm working on for friends/relatives/etc.

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