web_design_revised

Web design refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet. It usually refers to the user experience aspects of website development rather than software development. Web design used to be focused on designing websites for desktop browsers; however, since the mid-2010s, design for mobile and tablet browsers has become ever-increasingly important.

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardized code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all. The term web design is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end (client side) design of a website including writing markup. Web design partially overlaps web engineering in the broader scope of web development. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating markup then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.

Although web design has a fairly recent history. It can be linked to other areas such as graphic design, user experience, and multimedia arts, but is more aptly seen from a technological standpoint. It has become a large part of people’s everyday lives. It is hard to imagine the Internet without animated graphics, different styles of typography, background, and music. In 1989, whilst working at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee proposed to create a global hypertext project, which later became known as the World Wide Web. During 1991 to 1993 the World Wide Web was born. Text-only pages could be viewed using a simple line-mode browser. In 1993 Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina, created the Mosaic browser. At the time there were multiple browsers, however the majority of them were Unix-based and naturally text heavy. There had been no integrated approach to graphic design elements such as images or sounds. The Mosaic browser broke this mould. The W3C was created in October 1994 to “lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability.” This discouraged any one company from monopolizing a propriety browser and programming language, which could have altered the effect of the World Wide Web as a whole. The W3C continues to set standards, which can today be seen with JavaScript and other languages. In 1994 Andreessen formed Mosaic Communications Corp. that later became known as Netscape Communications, the Netscape 0.9 browser. Netscape created its own HTML tags without regard to the traditional standards process. For example, Netscape 1.1 included tags for changing background colors and formatting text with tables on web pages. Throughout 1996 to 1999 the browser wars began, as Microsoft and Netscape fought for ultimate browser dominance. During this time there were many new technologies in the field, notably Cascading Style Sheets, JavaScript, and Dynamic HTML. On the whole, the browser competition did lead to many positive creations and helped web design evolve at a rapid pace.

A web designer works on the appearance, layout, and, in some cases, content of a website. Appearance, for instance, relates to the colors, font, and images used. Layout refers to how information is structured and categorized. A good web design is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and suits the user group and brand of the website. Many webpages are designed with a focus on simplicity, so that no extraneous information and functionality that might distract or confuse users appears. As the keystone of a web designer’s output is a site that wins and fosters the trust of the target audience, removing as many potential points of user frustration as possible is a critical consideration.

Two of the most common methods for designing websites that work well both on desktop and mobile are responsive and adaptive design. In responsive design, content moves dynamically depending on screen size; in adaptive design, the website content is fixed in layout sizes that match common screen sizes. Preserving a layout that is as consistent as possible between devices is crucial to maintaining user trust and engagement. As responsive design can present difficulties in this regard, designers must be careful in relinquishing control of how their work will appear. If they are responsible for the content as well, while they may need to broaden their skillset, they will enjoy having the advantage of full control of the finished product.