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  1. #1
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    Web noob: where to start for a _decent_ site design?

    Yeah, this is gonna sound stupid. But if I don't ask, I _stay_ stupid, and I'd rather not! I've taught myself VB programming, and I sit in front a computer every day for work, so I'm not afraid of them. Now I need to learn web sites.

    I'm launching a business as a family entertainer (a magician). I know I need a web site. I've seen several other performer's sites that I like. Most of them had theirs built by professionals - and when I have the money, I'll do that too! Right now, though, all I have is me.

    I do have a domain on a free hosting service, and some Word-saved-as-HTML pages thrown up there (and that's about what it looks like, too!). But that won't get me what I need. Oh, and I've also got the free versions of CoffeeCup and PageBreeze - I'm leaning towards PageBreeze because I think I like their forms service better.

    What I'd like to see is:

    -- An index page that will allow the user to navigate to general sections. Okay, that's an image and some links. No big deal.
    -- Every page after the index has the same logo/image on top, and navigation links as buttons on the side and as text across the bottom. I'm assuming that's the <head></head> for the top stuff, and there's probably <foot></foot> tags too?? What about the side stuff?
    -- I need a page for an still image and video gallery. Pros/cons of putting the stuff directly on my web site, versus PhotoBucket/etc. and YouTube and linking?
    -- Forms for feedback and for ordering stuff. Now we're getting into scripting for making the forms work. I'm busting through teaching myself JavaScript so I can validate the forms and do other stuff with them. Most web hosts should have the CGI scripts for getting the info off the form and over to me, yes? And the PageBreeze provider looks good, too. (I did have one with EmailMeForm.com, but the service isn't very flexible.)

    If all there was to web site design was throwing some HTML at Notepad or putting stuff in Word and saving it as HTML, there'd be a lot more decent web sites out there! Where do I start learning what goes into well-designed decent web site?

    Ed

  • #2
    The Apostate Apostropartheid's Avatar
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    Do you have design taste? No, do you actually? A successful website will need a nice design (no, it doesn't have to be spectacular, but nice).

    How much time do you have? Are you willing to take the time out to learn HTML and CSS thoroughly in order to build your site? Don't be taken in by these WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) programs, because they often manufacture awful material and oh-so-often you don't get what you see. We can help you, but only so much. A lot of this is going to be on yourself. This could be time you spend making a living.

    Web development is an industry. We have industry leaders. We are professionals. We make a living out of this. Unless you can crack down for a while and do it, it's going to be hit and miss. Don't be frightened of it: we'll be here to lend you a helping hand. But it's still a lot of stuff which takes a long time to competently grasp and nobody can ever truly "master" it.

    I can see this going for about 130 USD if you have decent luck on your side if you'd prefer going the professional route, but I can see how this can be too much.

  • #3
    Senior Coder Dormilich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apostropartheid View Post
    How much time do you have? Are you willing to take the time out to learn HTML and CSS thoroughly in order to build your site? Don't be taken in by these WYSIWYG programs, because they often manufacture awful material and oh-so-often you don't get what you see. We can help you, but only so much. A lot of this is going to be on yourself. This could be time you spend making a living.
    just to underline this. I am doing Webdesign now for about 10 years as a hobby and although I’d say I have a fair grasp of the languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP), I suck at creating a whole web presentation (graphical design is not my strong point) without help.

  • #4
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    How much time? As much as anyone else has - just depends on where you want or need to put it. Right now, getting a web site up for my business needs to be a priority.

    Design taste?!? Check out www.FamilyFunMagic.com and see what I have right now! That's why I'm asking for help. (And if you ask my wife or daughters, I'm beyond help!)

    Actually, I'm not thinking so much in terms of graphics or themes or backgrounds. I'm more concerned with function - outting all the pieces together with my information and making it work when it's FTP'd.

    Willing to learn? Well, I taught myself VB programming, and I'm now researching HTML, DOM, and JavaScript. That's why I'm here - to learn. Sometimes I don't know really what question to ask, though.

    Ed

  • #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdNerd View Post
    How much time? As much as anyone else has - just depends on where you want or need to put it. Right now, getting a web site up for my business needs to be a priority.

    Design taste?!? Check out www.FamilyFunMagic.com and see what I have right now! That's why I'm asking for help. (And if you ask my wife or daughters, I'm beyond help!)

    Actually, I'm not thinking so much in terms of graphics or themes or backgrounds. I'm more concerned with function - outting all the pieces together with my information and making it work when it's FTP'd.

    Willing to learn? Well, I taught myself VB programming, and I'm now researching HTML, DOM, and JavaScript. That's why I'm here - to learn. Sometimes I don't know really what question to ask, though.

    Ed

    Needs Help! I recommend getting adobe dreamweaver it has a graphical view that alows you to edit while seeing what your doing. Ive been messing around with all aspects of websites for awhile still havent mastered everything

    You need to use some tables to keep everything aligned


    Check out the intro to dreamweaver

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jw8yxd1Pbs



    Heres some of my recent works

    http://badincitecomputers.com
    http://www.chesapeakecontrols.com
    Last edited by pollardhimself; 01-23-2010 at 08:00 PM.

  • #6
    Supreme Master coder! _Aerospace_Eng_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pollardhimself View Post
    Needs Help! I recommend getting adobe dreamweaver it has a graphical view that alows you to edit while seeing what your doing. Ive been messing around with all aspects of websites for awhile still havent mastered everything

    You need to use some tables to keep everything aligned
    Wrong. Tables are NOT meant for page layout. Read the link in my signature titled "Why Tables for Layout is Stupid?". Dreamweaver is only a tool. Its design view can get you into trouble with your code because you won't know what your code is doing or much less how to fix it. If you do use DW use the code view. A tool is only as good as how well the person knows how to use it.
    ||||If you are getting paid to do a job, don't ask for help on it!||||

  • #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Aerospace_Eng_ View Post
    Wrong. Tables are NOT meant for page layout. Read the link in my signature titled "Why Tables for Layout is Stupid?". Dreamweaver is only a tool. Its design view can get you into trouble with your code because you won't know what your code is doing or much less how to fix it. If you do use DW use the code view. A tool is only as good as how well the person knows how to use it.


    Yeah Yeah I know! css is better
    Last edited by pollardhimself; 01-26-2010 at 04:48 PM.

  • #8
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    I have the opposite problem. I am very experienced at design and layout, but weak in coding. I've been an artist for forty years and a digital artist for about ten. But it's very hard for me to grasp code. So, I completely sympathize with you from the opposite end of things.

    "Web development is an industry. We have industry leaders. We are professionals. We make a living out of this. Unless you can crack down for a while and do it, it's going to be hit and miss. Don't be frightened of it: we'll be here to lend you a helping hand. But it's still a lot of stuff which takes a long time to competently grasp and nobody can ever truly "master" it."

    Oh, that is so true.

    I can give you a little clue here. On design. Get an older version of Photoshop on Ebay. PS 7 would do you just fine. Use it to size and crop your photos. Start big and shrink down. Never start small and enlarge. Learn about photo compression using "Save for Web" option. Learn about layering. That way you can overlay your photo with some lettering, etc. Use drop shadows at no more than 50% opacity or they look cheap. Lighter drop shadows look more professional. And it will put some style on your page.

    Other than that, I don't have a lot. Except to say you are doing pretty good at learning code and I admire your persistance.

    And by the way. If any good coders need some visual design help, let me know.


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