[UPHPU] html design templates
vvilla at gmail.com
Sun Mar 4 13:04:29 MST 2007
>From: uphpu-bounces at uphpu.org [mailto:uphpu-bounces at uphpu.org] On Behalf Of
>Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2007 2:49 PM
>To: UPHPU List
>Subject: [UPHPU] html design templates
>Everyone else seems to have nice web pages but our html page designs are
>pretty ugly (probably due to a real lack of artistic talent). I'm
>talking of things like nice menu tabs, buttons, gradient color
>schemes. It's not like any of these can't be hand built, but building
>components like a shaded button image just consumes too much time. I'm
>convinced there must be templates or design tools that every else is
>using or they have all spent lots of money to hire designers that can
>whip this stuff out. Word Press has a bunch of good looking templates
>to choose from - I guess that's what I'm thinking of. Here's what I see
>as our options:
>1) Download free source templates that we can just incorporate into our
>applications and on our site. This would be cheapest, fastest, and
>easiest approach. Is anyone else doing this ?
>2) Use a design tool that has a bunch of pre made stuff like buttons,
>menus, ....I guess Dreamweaver does this but since we are on linux that
>doesn't work. Or is Dreamweaver that good that and we should go buy a
>Macbook to run it on ? (we have no desire to use Windows).
>3) Hire or outsource a designer - while this might deliver the most
>flexibility or original designs we don't want to spend that much.
Dojo has buttons in its toolkit that have gradients and a nice professional
looking mouseover effect. Not too flash, but just right.
That said, you had 3 very interesting questions that I wanted to opine on.
1) I did / do pro bono work for the State of Utah CERT program. For that,
I used a free template as there was no budget and not a lot of time. In
that case, speed to deploy was most important. I found oswd.org by chance
several months ago, but as Richard mentioned, found them to be a great
resource. The HTML and CSS is all right there for you to use and generally
speaking the code is good. I spent just a couple of hours rewriting the
HTML/CSS , but it was worth it for the quality of the site design.
2) Now I'm going to go out on a limb for you here, cause this statement is
sure to negatively impact my rep, but not only am I an NT sysop, but I'm
also a dreamweaver user. Now, while I've used dreamweaver for years, I've
never found designing a new site design easy or effective in dreamweaver,
nor speedy! My suggestion on this is to not use dreamweaver, but use
Photoshop or Fireworks or Gimp. These programs will allow you to mock up
your design very quickly. Want to move an element? Just click on it and
drag it where you want to. It's easy and quick and doesn't require recoding
the CSS. Now that said, I think you'll find that Fireworks is the easiest
to design websites in. It has most of the functionality of Photoshop, but
without all the confusion. Gimp I've never used so can't speak to its use,
but I have heard very good things about Gimp.
http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/current-style.cfm has some great site
design ideas if your going to travel this path.
3) If you hire a graphic designer, check their portfolio to make sure what
the type of design they make is what you're. If you're looking for
somebody, I'd probably ask Mac Newbold for a name. I'm assuming here, but
I'd imagine he has a rolodex of graphic designers his company has used and
could probably recommend somebody who does good cheap work.
As you can tell, I've done all 3 paths in some form or other (never spoke
with Mac, but have used a GD for design). And each path is effective for
your intent. So I guess the big question is, what is it you intend?
Is this a company website that you're going to use to represent your
business or to solicit business? If so, I'd go graphic designer without
question. In my mind, a business is too important to just scrap something
together. And if possible, I'd make sure the gd was good at design AND web
usability. The last thing you need is a website that looks beautiful, but
provides no useful information to your clients, nor lends itself as to where
your clients should go to get what they are after.
If it is something less than business, I use some mixture of 1 and 2
depending on the available time and resources.
PS - In my defense about Dreamweaver, I like dreamweaver because of how it
allows me to interact easily with my code. Forms are in yellow, visible
text is black, HTML is blue, links green, etc. The graphical design portion
of DW is lost to me as my code is more complex than the design portion can
handle, so all I use is code view.
I think most coders here that use DW will prolly say the same thing. Like
Richard, it's not worth buying a new compy just for dreamweave, I'm sure
there is an OSS option in linux that allows for descent code markup and
built in FTP.
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