Web Design Definition
By definition, web design is the process of conceptualizing, planning, and executing, and delivering electronic media through the Internet, using a markup language that is interpreted by a web browser. It does sound pretty complicated, because the art of web design is just as complicated. Even if the term “web design” does include the word “design”, it is not simply about designing alone. Web design is about creating an entire website from scratch, and that includes determining its purpose, its layout, its content, its interface, its accessibility, and many other elements.
The first website was created by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. However, web design has changed much recently and is very different and more dynamic now than ever before, especially with the new technologies sprouting all around. Now, web design is an art that a lot of people attempt to master, and fail. There are also a lot of leaders in the web design industry, but no one can be labeled as an expert in an industry that changes wildly in such a short span of time. Web design continues to be a hot topic of discussion as more and more people try to uncover what web design really should be about.
The main issue in web design is the line between how a site works and how it looks. Since the term is “web design”, a lot of people mistake it to be just about how the site looks. This line is becoming clearer nowadays, as Search Engine Optimization is becoming more and more popular. Because of the dynamics of SEO, people are now learning the hard lesson that the appearance of a website is not everything. SEO has shifted the focus to the other factors that contribute to a website’s success such as its accessibility and its content and relevance.
In a nutshell, and in layman’s terms, web design is the art of planning, organizing, and designing a website. Planning entails determining the website’s overall purpose. What does your website intend to do? What will users ultimately get from it? What is the message that you want to relay through your site? Planning also includes fitting your website and all your execution plans to your intended audience. You have to take into consideration several factors about your audience such as their demographic characteristics, their preferences, as well as their background in computer and web technology. It is almost like marketing a particular product. The website should, in all aspects, appeal to its intended audience.
Aside from that, in this thriving world of information technology, a website’s content is becoming more and more important these days. For your website to be successful, you have to organize your content in a meaningful and sensible manner. The relevance and usefulness of its content for the audience is ultimately what lures people to a website, but for a website to truly send the message successfully to its audience, the information should be easy enough to find.
Web design is also about accessibility. This has become even more important given the clutter on the Internet nowadays. The accessibility of a website should already be thought about from the planning stage, even before the site is created. A site’s accessibility can also be improved with an effective documentation, such as an elaborate site map, a storyboard, or a website wire-frame, which is a mock up of the website’s layout. After the complete plan for the website and its pages has been determined, it is only at this point when the designing, in the creative and artistic sense, comes in.
Although web design is already a rather complicated topic, it has become even more so with the arrival of new technologies. These days, a website’s compatibility with various web browsers is now becoming a hot issue. A lot of web designers are struggling, sometimes unsuccessfully, to create websites that are compatible with, if not all, as many browsers as possible. Another new technology that has dramatically changed the stage of web design is the arrival of more dynamic design technologies such as Adobe Flash, formerly Macromedia Flash. Such technologies have paved the way for a more dynamic world of web design.