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Issues Website Designers Face

Jul 15, 2008
Website design is an art form. Website designers face many challenges in order to bring you the sophisticated websites they offer. Successful website designers overcome these challenges and continue to produce some of the most effective and attractive websites. Often, the website is a customer's first glimpse at a company. It is very important that the company put its best foot forward, even online. Creating a website that is available to everyone, including people using handheld devices and the visually or mentally impaired, is of great importance to website designers.

Code Issues

Before designers begin work on a website, they must first decide the type of code required to achieve the optimal website. Will they use HTML, XHTML, PHP or something else? Will they need to take advantage of other aspects of web design like cascading style sheets or JavaScript? Maybe the specific website will require a combination of all aspects of website design they have at their disposal. They must take every small detail of their client's needs into consideration during the initial planning process. More than the design itself, poorly written code is often the downfall of potentially great websites.

After designers begin, they must be sure their code is up to par with the World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C has a set standard for website code in an effort to bridge the gap between websites Internet-wide. The standards set forth by the W3C were put in place to help ensure that the Web continued to work properly no matter who built tools to support it. Today's website designers strive to follow the recommendations of the W3C to ensure properly functioning websites that are properly indexed with search engines. Search engines use programs called "crawlers" or "spiders" that crawl through websites looking for keywords so they can properly index the site. A site not built to W3C standards isn't as easily indexed. It is very important that a website designer be familiar with the W3C "best practices" rules. A website designed by the rules set forth by the W3C is displayed properly in a variety of web browsers.

Design Issues

Color schemes are one of the most challenging issues facing website designers. Oftentimes business owners have the perfect website in mind. They describe in great detail what their wishes are. The designer designs the website precisely to the wishes of the business owners, and the website fails miserably. Some color schemes simply work more effectively than others. Sometimes the website designer must speak up and inform the business owner that certain colors may not work well together or a different font may be required. The reputation of the company hiring the designer isn't the only one at stake.

Innovative layouts are increasingly more difficult to come by. According to statistics, people tend to look in specific areas for things like menus and contact information. If those links aren't readily available, the website in question probably won't receive the attention it deserves. Layout is one of the most important aspects of website design. After all, it is often the first impression a customer gets.

Visual issues aren't the only design issues the website designer faces. Businesses wishing to do online business with government agencies must also have a website that is ADA (American Disability Act) compliant. Government agencies will not do business with any non-ADA-compliant website. Visually impaired computer users utilize "screen readers" to read content from a website for them. Websites that are not compliant with these programs for the visually impaired often lose that potential customer base.

Graphic Design

You don't have to be a graphic designer to be a website designer. Website design and graphic design are completely independent of each other. A nicely created website does indeed consist of graphics and text, but the content usually comes from the business requesting the website, not the website designer. The ability to place the graphics where the business owner wishes is the responsibility of the website designer. Website designers and graphic designers have the ability to create multi-functional websites by creating image maps of a photo or other image. Extensive knowledge of graphic design software is not a requirement.

Content Issues

Website designers aren't directly responsible for the content on the website. They must rely on the business owner for text and graphics to fill the pages they create. This is often a challenge if graphics are too large or too many. A website filled with graphics takes longer to load and often receives less traffic because of it. If it takes more than 20 seconds to load, people lose interest.

The business owner often relies on the website designer to provide a working, fully search engine optimized website. The website designer may request that the business owner provide professionally written content to aid in that quest. In order to be fully search engine optimized, the keyword density needs to be correct, as well as a few other stipulations met.
About the Author
Chris Coleman is a Business Analyst at Capita Technologies. Capita Technologies provides web design services for a wide variety of clients.
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