David Slack - Web developer

Design

How do you go about designing a perfect website? Well, I can't answer that, but follow along and I can give you a few pointers and maybe stop you doing something stupid!

First things first, tables are for data, not for layout! Get it out of your head now, before you start. We wont use any tables for layout or design.

What we will be doing is designing a basic website for a client who sells 'stuff' but more importantly the client will be writing content to share. The site is 'Dodgy Dave's Discount'

The order I create a website is:

  1. Client meeting and deposit
  2. Design and client sign-off
  3. Create the site and add test content
  4. Create and add the theme
  5. Add content
  6. Test the site, last payment and go live

These are very basic steps and each step breakes down into more steps. I choose to do it in this order because once the design is complete we can see what navigation we will need, if we need header, footer and body, what columns we need, etc, etc and can get the client to sign off at this point.

Next, we create the CMS and site components e.g. headings, forms, fields, etc. All of these components are on the page and can be changed in the CMS (if needed) but no design is added at this point. We also add test content here to make sure the site will act as expected i.e. you don't crash the site when you add a png image.

Once I have design and site ready only then do I start on the Theme which will control where all components are placed and what they look like.

Next we add in the real content, this will be pages, projects, calendars, products and any other types of content split into image, video, text and other bits. We need to get this from the client in any format from the word go or this will hold up the build and ultimately the live date.

Once the content is in place we need to test it in all the major browsers and platforms. It's all well and good the new site working in Safari on the Mac but what about Internet Explorer 8 or the iPhone? When all the kinks are worked out its time to get the last payment and go live!

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