Progammers Notes on Web Design

I am starting work on a new website and using Zend Framework (as previously mentioned).  One of the most demoralising things when coding is not seeing the finished results of your work for weeks/months.

I suffer this due to working bottom up on all my projects.  I usually get the database structure done first followed by any modules.  For example connecting to remote API’s etc.

For this project I am starting at the top and working down towards the modules.  I am doing this as I want the finished site to be user orientated and the layout and navigation will direct what the backend does.  As this is a large and complicated project predicting/planning accurately what is required is going to be hard if not impossible.

I decided that it is about time I learnt how to do decent graphics and website layouts and have spent today researching the topic.  Here are a couple of sites that I have found that have been extremely helpful.

  • Gradients are an important tool in Gimp and this site gives you 130 of them to play with.
  • 3D Icons make your site pop out and used sparing can guide the users eye to important items on the page.  Just don’t over use them.  I reckon once per page or perhaps at maximum twice.
  • Creating nice menu images or buttons is important.  Paypal Business has some very nice slick looking icons and I wanted my site to be up to this standard.  There are some tutorials here, here and here on how to make glossy/glass sphere and buttons.
  • For secondary buttons and menu’s this Vista a Like tutorial give nice understated buttons.
  • A nice touch will be the logo,  I quite like the look of this

As you will probably realise I will be using Gimp to make all my graphics.  In fact all the tools I am using for this project are open source.  Partly this is to keep costs down but I also want to see if it is possible for someone with no graphics experience to produce a professional website from scratch without using any premade or paid for graphics.

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