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  1. #1
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    Solar System Website - please help

    Friends,

    I am 100% dummie in webdesign but willing to come the whole way from the scratch to the end when website will be up and running. I am NOT going to do the work myself, there are many freelancers around, but I would really appreciate your help to split my work into chunks for better understanding and orders to freelancers.

    The idea is to create a beautiful website about our Solar System with characteristics for each planet. I would like to have a breathtaking background of a Solar System which must be animated to show chosen planets. I see planets as a menu items. Once MARS is selected (for example) I would like to see an animated change of the main page theme showing MARS with it's characteristics and so on. So for example once I click on MARS menu button, planets start to rotate until MARS is not zoomed in. High-level idea, open for comments )

    My questions:
    1. I have decided to go for Flash because I like Flash websites with it's animation. I consider it might be a proper choice for my Solar System background which must be animated. Do you think it is OK to go with the flash and it would be most optimum technology for my purposes? I heard that Flash is dying.
    2. My main animated object - Solar System, should also be done in Flash or in other software and after that embedded into a flash website. How these things are usually done?

    Grateful for your responses

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Hi Royser12345. Welcome to the forums.

    Do you think it is OK to go with the flash and it would be most optimum technology for my purposes? I heard that Flash is dying.
    Flash is well suited for this sort of thing, but before you decide on that option, picture kids and others visiting your site on an iPad, iPhone etc. and getting a blank page. Flash is excluded from such devices.

    This sort of thing can also be done with CSS and JavaScript, which is the preferred way now. It takes a fair bit of skill to do this well, though.

  3. #3
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    Ralph.m, many thanks for your reply. In this case I am switching to CSS + JavaScript. Now, please help me to identify steps/chunks of work that should be carried out? What should I write in the description of the project in terms of what what is required?

    If I write in the task description the following: "It is required to create a CSS temaplate with Javascript for my animated Solar System" would that be correct task description? Or Maybe I should write "It is required to build a website on CSS+Javascript"? What are usual normal steps?

    And whom do I need to hire for this job: web designer? Web programmer? Web developer? etc? Are those same things maybe?

    Thank you for your responses!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Royser12345 View Post

    And whom do I need to hire for this job: web designer? Web programmer? Web developer? etc? Are those same things maybe?
    You should probably get some graphics designs done in a suitable paint software first. Its a lot easier and less expensive to change a graphics design, and to tweak that until its right, than to change a web design. Also it may even be possible to use parts of your graphics design in your web design anyway. It will also help to communicate what you are thinking, and the way you envisage the web site working, with a web developer when you are ready to take it to that step.

  5. #5
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    Kiwiheretic, many thanks for advice! But can you please be a bit more specific. I am happy to start with graphics designs following your advice, but

    1. what should I put in the task description? Do you think I should specify the software to the designer or it's better to let him to decide?
    2. Under graphic design you mean static main background theme? Or already animated design of the Solar System?
    3. What is the difference between graphic design and web design?

    Thank you very much for your answers

  6. #6
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    Hi,

    Ok, in response to your questions. A graphics designer creates graphics which are images but could also be animations depending on the skills of the graphics designer. A web programmer creates the interactive parts of the web application. For instance when you click a planet a popup might appear giving more information about that planet. Even revolving planets could be animated gifs and might be simply that unless you want the user to have control over the speed of the animation and then it will become more complex. So an animation where aspects of the animation can be controlled by the user would involve both graphics design and programming.

    The graphics design covers any visual element and often includes @the shape and colour of any clickable buttons.

    The choice of software to use you can leave open at this stage. It may be javascript and html5 or flash or silverlight. However you dont need to decide that in a hurry. You should think about who your target audience is first and that may help decide what technology to use. For instance ipad users can't use flash.

    As far as I can tell there are no server side elements so that most, if not all, development concerns what happens in the browser.

    In order to prepare to have this work done by a contractor you should consider breaking the project into milestones and then check the work is satisfactory to you at each stage. (You don't want to be stuck with a negligent contractor!) For instance:

    Milestone #1:

    Creation of single image backdrop of the night sky image on which to overlay planets.

    Milestone #2:

    Creation of planet animations

    Milestone #3

    Programmer to create information popups for planets

    Milestone #4

    Programmer to create animation controls for planets

    That's just an example. Depending on what you need you may divide it up differently. Whatever you decide you do need to be able to track the progress of your project against your requirements.

  7. #7
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    I suggest sketching out the pages you have in mind. Look at other web sites that are similar to your own and borrow those ideas. Think of the navigation bar and what links you'll put in there to the other pages. The more detailed your sketches, the better the designer will know what you want to do.

    Once you've got some good sketches, then you can show the designer, then it should be up to the designer to make the project breakdown and go over it with you for your approval.
    Steve Husting

  8. #8
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    #Kiwiheretic It is called graphic design not graphics design – no s – singular. Most real graphic designers will cringe and think you are a fool if you call them a graphics designer.
    The only code I hate more than my own is everyone else's.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddz View Post
    #Kiwiheretic It is called graphic design not graphics design no s singular. Most real graphic designers will cringe and think you are a fool if you call them a graphics designer.
    Interesting definition of a "real graphic designer".

    Oh well, I sometimes makes spelling mistakes.

    Also I am not an American and often we spell words differently to how they do in your country anyway and its quite legitimate here.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddz View Post
    #Kiwiheretic It is called graphic design not graphics design no s singular. Most real graphic designers will cringe and think you are a fool if you call them a graphics designer.
    Actually, this discussion is about "Graphical" Design work.
    I believe Graphics would be the plural of Graphic (from the Greek graphikos). In this context, the construction of 'several' graphical elements (as for a web page) could be called
    • A set of Graphics
    • A Graphic Design
    • A Graphical Design
    • A Group of Graphical items that cohesively define an intended Design


    Furthermore, such a set of visual elements could be created by a Graphics Artist who holds a degree in Graphic Design (or not).
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  11. #11
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    StevenHu, very much appreciated your advice. Thank you. One question though, is there any software or handy tool other than pen and paper to come up with a website sketch? Actually I am more keen to the steps, advised by Kiwiheretic, since I don't think I will be able to properly judge whether approach advised by web designer, having seen my sketches, will be OK or not.

    So, I think I will be posting a contest now on freelance website like:

    "Create of single image backdrop of the night sky image on which to overlay an animated planets in the future (separate project)."?
    In addition, I will describe, of course, my view of the website, high-level, so potential freelancers know roughly what I am up to.


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