Web design is a discipline that combines virtually all of the skills of a graphic designer, but combines them with the abilities of programming such that a web design is not just a static, or even a video element, potentially with an added audio element, but also includes some programming manipulative skills that turns the webpage into an interactive forum for users to search, link, educate and act upon.
It is a marriage of skills that were once thought completely separate; as different as a graphic designer was once thought to be from a text editor.
This list of skills may appear to be heavily weighted in favor of the skills once divorced from traditional graphic design, so the latter aspect will be covered first, and then the programming skill set pieces will be discussed.
1. Graphic design: without a graphic design collection of skills, the web designer is lost. These skills are so important because they still represent the initial attraction webpage users will have toward a webpage. It will either grab them and encourage further perusal, or they will move on, leaving the website for something more attention-grabbing. These traditional skills of color, shape and layout are as important for web design as they were for print media.
Web design incorporates all of the traditional graphic design elements involving illustration, photography, line art, text design, font design, animation, etc, and folds them into the toolbox of the web designer to use in conjunction with all of the following tools in order to create a webpage that is attractive, entertaining and informative.
While the tools appear to be the same as for old-school graphic design and its digital, updated version, they are employed in a cohesive design making use of the following tools, mostly computer language elements, in order to enhance the abilities of the graphical elements to attract, entertain and inform.
2. HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language is, after graphic design, the most essential tool in the web designer tool box. Without it, a web designer is a traditional graphic designer with a spider. HTML is, effectively, the language of the World Wide Web.
3. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets is the next essential language for a web designer to have in the toolbox. It provides the appearance and formatting of the webpage that is initially developed in a markup language, chiefly HTML. CSS is used to separate the webpage elements of layout of text and graphics, colors, fonts, etc. This separation allows for easier description access by the user.
4. FLASH: this brings animation (video and audio) elements to the webpage and allows dynamic interaction with the webpage by users.
5. SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the means by which users are more inclined to find the webpage when using search engines to locate it. Where web pages of different competitive companies attempt to attract users, the site that applies SEO to its web design will optimize the chances that users will be directed to that webpage.
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