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Designing for the Web

Two approaches to web design exist: create something the same way you would for print, but adapt it to work on the Web; or create a true interactive experience from the ground up. In the early days of the Web, most sites you went to were of the former kind—page after page of large static images, garish colors, and illegible text. Granted, two main reasons for that were a lack of powerful web authoring tools and a general lack of understanding of the technical capabilities of the medium.

By the Way

I should note that today's dynamic design environment has also caused a reverse of this effect. Many designers specialize in web design but have almost no knowledge of what it takes to create a quality printed piece. Those who have tried going to press with a 72dpi RGB image know what I'm talking about.

A good web designer thinks about what size monitor he expects users to have, how best to build a page that can be updated quickly and easily, how to add interactive elements to draw a reader's attention, how to provide useful navigation and links to help readers find what they're looking for, and, most important, how to communicate all of it with a design concept that delivers the right message. Some jobs also require knowledge or interfacing with back-end systems and databases. Following are three workflows that are common in the area of web design.

Web Banner

A web banner is an advertisement that appears on a website. Ever since the Internet became a place that people frequent, companies and organizations have found the Web to be an effective medium to advertise their products and services. Most web banners have to conform to specific sizes and formats. Common applications used in the creation of web banners are Photoshop, Illustrator, and ImageReady (see Figure 3.4, shown on pages 5859).

Figure 3.4. An example of a web banner workflow.

Web Navigation

When you visit a website, there are often buttons you can click on that will take you to other pages in the site. A collection of buttons is called web navigation and is nearly an art form in itself. Good web navigation can help viewers find what they need on a website, but bad navigation can frustrate viewers and send them elsewhere. Common applications used in the creation of web navigation are Photoshop, Illustrator, and ImageReady (see Figure 3.5, shown on pages 6061).

Figure 3.5. An example of a web navigation workflow.


What started out as a “fad” in many people's eyes has become a way of life today. Websites are used to sell products, provide information, display family pictures, and present just about anything else you might want to share with other people around the globe. Common applications used in the creation of websites are Photoshop, Illustrator, ImageReady, and GoLive (see Figure 3.6, shown on pages 6263).

Figure 3.6. An example of a website workflow.

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