A good way to understand the web-design process is to understand it through a case study. In this article, I will present the case study of Jake, a busy web developer, as he works with a client to create a small web page.
1. Gathering Design Requirements
Jake has a new client, an import and export agent. The agent needs a simple web site to give her brief background and details of the services she provides. After an initial meeting with Dianne, the real estate agent, Jake grabs a pencil and sheet of paper, and he starts creating rough sketches of the home page. He draws a number of different layouts and then picks the three designs that he thinks will work best, given Dianne’s needs. He meets again with Dianne to discuss the three designs. Dianne selects one of the sketches and makes some suggestions. When Jake brings up colors, Dianne decides on a color scheme of green, gold, and white because these colors are similar to the ones on her business card.
2. Photoshop Mock-ups
Later that day, Jake sits down at his computer, fires up Adobe Photoshop, and quickly mocks up the home page using the finished sketch and Dianne’s preferred colors as his guide. He grabs a few royalty-free stock images from a stock photo site and places them on the mock-up. He spends a little time looking at various shades of greens and golds until he gets something he likes. Once he’s done, he exports the document and sends it off to Dianne to get some feedback.
After waiting a week, Jake calls up Dianne to get her opinion on what he’s done so far. She tells him she’ll take a look at it when she gets back from her vacation in a week.
3. Coding Time
Another week goes by, and Jake finally gets a call from Dianne. She says she likes how it looks, and she wants to move forward. Relieved, Jake fires up his trusty text editor and begins the transition from mock-up to web page.
Jake begins by creating a simple HTML document that defines the structure and content for the page. Next, he uses Photoshop to slice up his mock-up so he can extract the banner graphics and other images, which he then inserts into the HTML document. Next, he carefully codes corrresponding CSS to pull the whole thing together. The style sheets transform the linear-page skeleton into a brightly colored, two-column layout.
Jake opens up the new web page in Mozilla Firefox, and everything looks great, just like his mock-up. He then fires up Internet Explorer 6 and winces at the ugly page staring back at him. Fortunately, Jake has seen this kind of thing before, so he quickly throws in a few extra style definitions in an IE-only style sheet. Presto! He’s ready to show Dianne the finished page.
4. Ready to Go
Dianne loves the site, and Jake is ready to start building the rest of the pages for the site. Now that Jake has worked out the colors, the images, and the style sheets, it will be easy to produce the rest of the site. Jake can take pride in the fact that he’s made his new client happy.
5. Ideal Situation
Jake got lucky this time. He got an easy and laid back client. The thing is, clients are usually not so easy to please in the real world. For that, you should be able to demonstrate technical knowledge and have effective communication skills to reply to client’s tough queries and be able to convince them.
About the author
John Bladeus runs Web Design Pakistan, a low-cost, high-quality web design service in Karachi and also on occasion writes on subjects related to logo design services, business logos and corporate logo design. In his free time, he also operates a logo design blog.