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Thread: Design Tips?

  1. #1
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I've been very sucky at designing sites for the last three years and I'd like some tips on designing.

    My Best Design ever was: www.petestech.com which is really crappy (Can i say that) and My current site had to be designed by someone else because I couldn't design for my life.

    Now I'd like me site redesigned but I just can't do it.

    Does anyone have tips or anything that could help?

    -Peter

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Well, first off: Not everyone is a designer. So don't get down on yourself because you don't think you're doing a good job. I don't really consider myself a designer--I'm fairly creative, I think I have a good eye, but I sort of put myself in the "decent job" category of designers. I'm better at the business end of things (strategy and planning) and at coding (logic). Not everyone can do THOSE things, just like not everyone can design. So focus on what you're good at and don't kick yourself.

    Second, the petestech site is not bad at all. You could've done much worse. It didn't kill me to look at

    Third, if you are going to do your own design, keep it painfully simple. Don't go for anything fancy. Just concentrate on whether the page layout is visually pleasing and the information that your visitors want is readily available. Prettier does not necessarily equal a better site. (Personally, I will take a completely usable, totally plain site any day over a "visual experience"-type site.) Try deciding on a really simple layout such as: header, two or three columns, and footer. Or just two or three columns. Create a simple, simple table structure to go in your simple, simple page layout, and you'll probably come up with something that looks OK.

    Fourth, if you're not good at graphic design and you don't want to or can't get someone else to do graphics for you, then just don't have them. Nicely formatted text can do just as well, and is a LOT better than ugly graphics.

    Fifth, pick two main colors that go together, and only use those (plus black and white, for text readability) throughout the site.

    Sixth, pay lots of attention to usability issues, such as things to do with your navigation systems, site structure, tools for getting around, page load times, and so on. Users will appreciate a really easy-to-use site. Then, who cares if it's not all that pretty?

    Well, you can tell from all of this that I lean towards the usability side of things. I think that if you take care of usability, your site will be great. You can always add in graphics stuff later to spice it up.
    InformationSavant - developing intelligent web business
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  3. #3
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Thanks for the tips, they will definately help as I'm off now to try the simple design with usuability.

    However, there is one problem. A design can look great on some colors, but slightly different colors make it look really bad.

    Have you got any tips on colors that go well together or are suitable for CodingClick.com

    Petestech.com firstly looked like..........oh I can't say.......cnet.com then I changed it to a bubbly graphics effect that was so horrible then I changed it to the current one which I got from wdvl.internet.com with some major modifications.

    Thanks,
    -Peter

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Pete, check out this thread http://www.sitepointforums.com/showt...threadid=22474 for more discussion on colors and how to pick. I saw your other question about what colors go with the blue that you've chosen...and the answer is, lots of colors do! But the question is, what do you want to say with the colors? Do you want them to contrast/complement one another, or be harmonious? Is there a site design you're trying to emulate? Stuff like that would be helpful to know.
    InformationSavant - developing intelligent web business
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  5. #5
    Rusted & Weathered HumanClay's Avatar
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    not all that creative IMO, and I can't make graphics for the hell of it, so I just don't use any as SLeon suggested. I keep a simple layout, nothing too flashy.

    Also, if you are stuck as to what to do when it comes to designing a new site, surf the net and find some designs you like on other sites. You can easily get great ideas doing this. I find myself surfing just to see what other sites look like, and then incorporating different aspects of these sites into my sites.
    Steve Caponetto - [profile] [e-mail]
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  6. #6
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Well, I'm trying to make the site look professional really.
    I'm going to have to make a logo sometime when I get an idea, but In the mean time a went to the bookmark at the top of my list and stole their logo..Sitepoint.com

    http://www.codingclick.com/new_design/new_design.html

    It shows the colors that I thought that go with it. Do you think it'll look professional? Or should I just give up now and pay someone to do it or post a competition in the trading post forum?

    Thanks, Sitepoint logo comes in very handy!

    -Peter

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I posted a contest in the trading post and got 10 entries, all of which were very good. It _was_ the second contest, and they seemed to have died down now, but you'll still probably get quite a few excellent designs.

    A $50 Amazon.com gift card is much cheaper than a $1,000-$5,000 design from a company. Just my $.02.

  8. #8
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    I was thinking of $100 gift vocher of choice for design + logo and maybe something else thrown in if the prize is too small.

    Are you suggesting that my design sucks. Why thank you, I've decided to dump it as it is so bad and everyone I know keeps critisizing it.

    -Peter

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Hey, I think the new design looks pretty good. Definitely need a better logo, though The colors are OK, although you might want to experiment to find a more dynamic and interesting combination. The layout does create a horizontal scroll on 800x600 resolution maximized, though. I would definitely fix that, because it'll be way annoying for a lot of your visitors.
    InformationSavant - developing intelligent web business
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  10. #10
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Sometimes, all you need is a kick start such as a logo. Maybe you can hold a content in the Trading Post for a logo or an interface, then build your design round that.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Hey, Peter! I found this really cool little piece of software for creating web graphics. It's got wizards for doing banner, buttons, etc., plus templates--and editing graphics that you create is REALLY easy so you can get a custom look. You should check this out, I really think that even us design-challenged people can create neato graphics with something like this!

    It's called "NetStudio Easy Web Graphics" and it's at http://www.netstudio.com . You can download a trial version to experiment with. The software is like $89.
    InformationSavant - developing intelligent web business
    StrangePegs.com - collectible cards, games, toys, comics

  12. #12
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Thanks so much for all the help and suggestions. I'm downloading that software as I type although It'll be finished before I finish.

    I'll keep working on the design and post it once it is completely finished.

    -Peter

    p.S Finished

  13. #13
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    I a few quick pointers,

    1) don't use custom image creation like those offered in banner sites, or software suggested by sleon.

    doens't turn out well in the end. just bubbly effects...bleh

    2) if you have problems with colours, like which goes with which, what to match green with...XXX? which shades goes better, get a web designer. it'll safe you all the trouble. its something built into oneself. like coding. some can't get the logic even reading many books. likewise, you can't produce professional designs just knowing the languages involved, reading books and such.

    3) i normally start off a design with some form of inspirational thoughts. or even seeing a site that inspires a design type/format. from there, i start building. but don't! copy a design and just chnage the colours. be original!


    all the best in your site/
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  14. #14
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    Hi,

    All of your replies got me thinking about my design, especially yours lynlimz. I think I'm going to drop the design as it looks so unprofessional for a coding site and I suck so badly at design. And I'm pretty sure that sometime in the near future I'll have to start a design contest in the trading post so with a nice prize so that I can get a nice design that is appealing to my audience.

    Your write, design like coding logic comes to some people easier to different people. Myself, I'm a coder, picked up HTML in about 1 day, Javascript in about 2 weeks, PHP in a month or two but still learning, CSS in one day, and vBasic in a few months.

    -Peter

  15. #15
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by petesmc
    Your write, design like coding logic comes to some people easier to different people. Myself, I'm a coder, picked up HTML in about 1 day, Javascript in about 2 weeks, PHP in a month or two but still learning, CSS in one day, and vBasic in a few months.

    -Peter
    thats nice!
    go to the trading forum and find out more about people who can design and also are in need of a programmer. helps both parties
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot Isaiah's Avatar
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    Peter,
    If all you are really needing is the actual site design, drop me a line and we'll talk. I have a little bit of free time on my hands and would be willing to help you out.

    Email me: Isaiahacs@aol.com
    Isaiah Walter
    Owner / Visionary
    White Wonder Studios - San Diego web design & graphics
    www.whitewonder.com

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast sharkrey's Avatar
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    Hey,

    You know, you could just study up on graphic design, and with time improve your design sensibilities.


    Here is a good place to start:

    http://www.webreference.com/dlab

    Barnes&Noble runs online classes (free). One ongoing class is in graphic design, called "Graphic Design for Non-Designers". I re-designed my site after taking this class:

    http://www.barnesandnobleuniversity.com/bnu

    (Under the Science and Tech section)

    Just a thought...
    Gary Reynolds
    -- My Frac Art --

  18. #18
    midnight coder
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    Having curves is a simple and effective way of making the site look prettier, even little things like rounded tables. Not all tabel cells needs a border around them, especially thick borders.

  19. #19
    <? echo "Kick me"; ?> petesmc's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Thankyou so much for those resources on design and they are proving useful, currently reading through the first of the links and have visited the second.

    I may not be improving as of yet, but I'm getting the idea, sorta...

    -Peter


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