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Designing Web Pages


There are many options to think about when planning out your web page.  This is the most important stage.  It's easier to plan a general layout of your web site first rather than to start writing code.  This is a general list of options for starting out.  There are many more to consider as technology is increasingly developing.  Obviously I cannot mention them all here but this should be adequate to get you going.


First ask yourself what is your reason for creating a web page.  If you're in this site then I'm assuming you're a photographer and that you would like to share your images and/or knowledge. 




This is generally how the reader will navigate through your site. 


Will your site be a slideshow?  This is a very simple layout.  It is called a linear layout.  Basically a reader will view one page after another in a specific order.


Will your site be a collection of various styles of photography?  For example; commercial, weddings, editorial, etc.  This is called hierarchical layout.  Similar to a linear style, a reader will follow one gallery and view an image one after another.


Will your site be a collection of various images that are not grouped in any particular order or theme?  This is called a web style where a reader can view any image at any given time. 


Or you can combine both hierarchical and web.  Although this layout requires a bit more work it is the most flexible for readers as they can freely navigate around your site and still maintain viewing order.





This is straightforward.  Think about what kind of images you'll be presenting.  Are you a sports photographer?  Wildlife?  Fashion?  Product?  The images you use for your background, borders, links should somehow compliment your images or overall style of your web site.



Browser screen resolutions


Determining how wide to make your page will depend on your target audience.  There are ways to create your pages to dynamically adjust to your viewer's screen resolution but this can get very technical if you are not too familiar with creating web pages. 


Another way is to create multiple screen resolution version of your pages and you can forward your viewer that matches their screen resolution to that specific page.  The drawback to this is that it will take up large amount of web space and you will have to update all versions if you made changes to one.


Here is a list to give you a bit of an idea of current viewing resolutions that people are viewing "photographic" web pages at. 



1024x768 - 1280x1024 50%
1280x800 - 1920x1200 32%
240x160 -2560x1024 18%



One of the first viewing resolution was 640x480.  (Ouch!)  Most sites, including this one, was made for 800x600 viewers.  This viewing screen resolution was the lowest common denomination at the time.  As you can see from the numbers that times are changing.  Prices of larger screen monitors have dropped and people are upgrading.  To be exact, viewers at 800x600, have dropped to about 3.5%.  So at what size do you create your web site at?  The choice is up to you.  Who will be viewing your images?  Family?  Friends?  Commercial?



Ease of navigation by the user


During the planning stages of your site think about how a viewer will navigate throughout your entire site.  When you have created most of the pages go through each page and think about where a person might want to go next.  The rule of thumb is "three clicks".  At least that was the rule our professor told us.  It does make sense.  Viewers lose interest after three clicks.  If it takes too much effort trying to find what they're looking for then most likely they will lose interest and leave your web site.   Think about the end user and try to put yourself in their place. 



Ease of updating the pages


Now it's time to think about yourself; the webmaster.  Again, during the planning stages also think about "what if you need to update a page or multiple pages?"  How easy or difficult will it be? 


Think about links.  How many links within your site will be affected by the change(s)?  How many referral links back to your site be affected?


Think about a naming convention.  After awhile you may add more pages to your site.  Give names to your pages that you can easily remember and understand who or what they relate to.



Compatibility with various web browsers


This can get very technical as there are a number of browsers available.  Some codes work for most but may not for some.  Some codes react one way in some browsers and differently in another. 


To make this short think about your target audience and which browser is widely used by them.  I know this is a generalization.  It's almost impossible to please everyone when you're trying to create this on your own. 


Again, here is a bit of data on the most widely used browsers.  Given these numbers decide how you will code your site.


Internet Explorer










Mozilla Compatible Agent






Page content


First thing that comes to mind is the "Under Construction" sign that everyone seems to use.  My viewpoint is why publish the link to your site when there is nothing to show?  This is one way to frustrate your viewers.  Publish your URL when your site is complete.


Another is proof reading.  I know this can be very time consuming but very important.  You wouldn't want your viewers raising an eye brow or trying to figure out what you were really trying to say.


Just like technology, page content may get old and may become irrelevant according to the topic.  Once in awhile visit your pages and quickly read over it.  Ask yourself if the information is still valid with the current trend or ideas.



Language support


This is your choice.  As previously mentioned this depends on your target audience.  If you cannot write fluently in another language then don't.  It is best to have a person fluent, in the language you wish to have your site viewed, translate your site or page for you. 


Most times web page translators are used to translate web pages to other languages.  This is not as accurate as many of the words and ideas may become lost in translation.



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