To most people the process of building a web site remains somewhat of a mystery. This confusion probably stems from the fact that there is a cornucopia of web sites on the Internet. Even with wide variety of sites, every single one can be divided into two sections: front-end and back-end.
The front-end is the first thing that it is designed. It encompasses the look and feel of a web site. This is probably the most established part of the web site production process. Design has been around since Guttenberg printed his first bible. Much of what has been used in print media (especially art magazines) has transferred to the web.
Most well thought out web sites start off with sketches on paper. We like using the big huge box of crayons, the one with the crayon sharpener built in. Most of the colors in the “big box” are pleasing to the eye and are web friendly. If you use begin paying attention to sites you’ll notice that only a few colors are actually used, 256 to be exact. Only about 100 of those won’t give you a headache when you look at them. On request we will give these early designs to a client that wants to control the look and feel of their site. The site, of course, never ends up looking like the early designs. The same idea and concept is there but because of restrictions colors and whole images are lost.
This brings us to the next part of the front-end, the actual site creation. This is what many people view as the most important, which is what separates a professional looking site from an amateur one.
The images are created using products from across the board. Mainly, designers stick to industry standards like Photoshop and Illustrator. After getting the basic image in terms of proportions and size the designer should create the static HTML page.
This is the basic page you would see if you viewed the page source. This is one of the most rewarding, most hated and most tedious parts of the web design process. Each browser displays a page differently. Since most users either use Internet Explorer 4+ or Netscape 4.5 we cater to those two. Sometimes we build a different site for each, trying to maintain the same layout.
That concludes the front-end section. Personal sites and some small business sites stop here. While this may be acceptable today, tomorrow any web site hoping to attract and keep visitors is going to have a strong back-end.
There are many sites and website designers that offer premade templates; these have the entire graphical layout that a page needs.
For those with little or no experience with website design software, templates have quickly become a practical solution to professional website design. Most of the top end sites offer a huge selection of very impressive, easy-to-edit website templates. All you have to do is check your email containing the link to download the .zip file. The html in these templates is compatible with Adobe GoLive, Macromedia Dreamweaver and Microsoft Frontpage. The major advantage is the price, they run anywhere from $20 to $70. Another great advantage is you don’t have to hire a web designer, who usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to produce a page of such high quality. Webmasters, either novice or expert, can easily save thousands of dollars on design fees by using website templates.