your Web site design (for website owners and designers)
Creating goals for your site - (Planning a Website Design)
A Web site that provides news about a specific subject should have a different look and navigation than a Web site that sells products. The complexity of your goals will affect the navigation, the media that you use (Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Director, and so on), and even the look and feel of your site
Organizing the site structure - (Planning a Website Design)
The usual way to set up a site is to create a folder on your local hard disk that contains all the files for your site (referred to as the local site), and to create and edit documents within that folder. You then copy those files to a Web server when you are ready to publish your site and allow the public to view it. This approach is better than creating and editing files on the live public Web site itself, because it allows you to test changes in the local site before making them publicly viewable. When you're finished, you can upload the local site files and update the entire public site at once.
Break down your site into categories and put related pages in the same folder. For example, your company press releases, contact information, and job postings might all go in one folder, but your online catalog pages might go in a different folder. Use subfolders where necessary. This type of organization will make your site easier to maintain and navigate.
Decide where to put items such as images and sound files. For example, it's convenient to place all your images in one location, so that when you want to insert an image into a page, you know where to find it. Designers sometimes place all of the non-HTML items to be used on a site in a folder called Assets. This folder may contain other folders—for example, an Images folder, a Macromedia Shockwave folder, and a Sound folder. Or you might have a separate Assets folder for each group of related pages on your site, if there aren't many assets shared among such groups.
Creating your design look -
(Planning a Website Design)
Maintaining consistency in your page layout and design helps to ensure a good user experience. The user should be able to click through the pages in your site without getting confused. If all the pages have a different look, or the navigation is in a different place on each page, it might frustrate the user. Make sure your site provides a consistent look for your user.
Designing the navigation scheme - (Planning a Website Design)
Visitors should know where they are in your site and
how to return to your top-level page.
Planning and gathering your assets - (Planning a Website Design)
Once you know what your design and layout will look like, you can create and gather the assets that you will need. Assets can be items such as images, text, or media (Flash, Shockwave, and so on). Make sure you have all of these items gathered and ready to go before you begin developing your site. Otherwise, you'll have to continually stop development to find an image or to create a button.
If you are using images and graphics from a clip-art site or someone else is creating them, make sure you collect them and put them in a folder on your site. If you are creating the assets yourself, make sure you create them all before you start development, including any images you need if you are using roll-overs. Then organize your assets so you can access them easily while creating your site.
Use templates if many of your pages will use the same layout. Plan and design a template for that layout, and then you can create new pages based on that template. If you decide to change the layout for all the pages, you can simply change the template.
There are certain restrictions on what changes you can make to documents that are based on templates. Templates are best used in collaborative environments, to ensure that everyone is using the same page layout. Library items may provide more flexibility for use outside of collaborative environments.
Use library items if you know that a certain image or other content will appear on many pages throughout your site; design that content ahead of time and make it a library item. Then if you change that item later, the updated version appears on all pages that use it.
Author - Emily Ricketts, is a technical writer in the Dreamweaver documentation team.
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