Noob Website Design Question

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by gavroche, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. gavroche macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2007
    Left Coast
    I'm sure this is going to sound pretty stupid to most people here, but i'm inexperienced...
    I have a Drupal based website. It's got some pretty customized modules that do some complex things. This is all well and good. It's the graphical (front end?) part of it that i'm totally unhappy with.
    If I download an app (such as HTML Egg) to create graphical layouts that I like... is this going to be compatible with my Drupal site and modules and css stuff that's already there?
    I'd rather create what I want, and then pay someone to tie it in to my site, than to have to pay someone to create the whole thing themselves (from my head)...
    Any recommendations on an app to do this, if it's feasible?
  2. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Simple answer yes.

    Drupal ( as all good CMS ) divides the page into sections. These sections are called in the code to construct the page.

    For example: There will probably be a header section for your current 'theme'. This is used on just about every page, instead of coding it hundred times, we write a 'header-function' and call this when needed.

    Back your example. Your app will need to 'slice' the site into those sections and then you will need to upload them to the proper locations in your theme, or just create a blank theme from scratch and build from there. I've always found that to be the best option, otherwise you fight for two hours somewhere down the line trying to figure out why this section will not slide down properly on mobile devices only to see that the original theme builder through an exclamation mark in the css somewhere that has borg'd your site and your sanity.

    Good luck!
  3. gavroche thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2007
    Left Coast
    Thanks for the reply. And yes, I see portions that are consistent throughout most of site (header on top, footer on bottom, a custom quote module on right portion. Perhaps i will drop the $25 for HTML Egg to play around with it... I'd hope that if I create something i really like, i can hand over those files and the coder would know how to drop the sections in my site...
  4. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Speaking from 20 years of coding sites and site building software....

    1) If your goal is to have fun, choose whatever tools are the most fun for you.

    2) If your goal is to make money, pick a template today (perhaps in Wordpress), and then forget about it for the next five years while you focus on content, and even more importantly, marketing.

    There is a big burst of energy and enthusiasm at the beginning of a project. Consider this a perishable resource which is dwindling with each day. If you don't get some traffic, and maybe some income, before that initial enthusiasm wears off you'll most likely quit, and then whatever time you do invest will be wasted.

    Ask yourself how much you care about the design of MacRumors, or other sites you visit. You probably don't care too much, and that's how other people will experience your site.

    Given this reality, ask yourself how long you can afford to be fiddling with your site design as the initial enthusiasm clock ticks. My suggestion, spend a day on the design, and then shift your focus to things your visitors will care about.

    In the end, the design doesn't matter unless you have visitors to see it, and getting more than a few visitors can take a lot of work. You might focus on the real work of marketing and content first, and then when you have say, 100 visitors a day, reward yourself by playing with your design.

    Good luck!
  5. gavroche thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2007
    Left Coast
    I hear you.... for sure functionality is more important. Which is why i bit the bullet recently and paid a coder to work on some functionality issues on my site... things which a user may or may not notice or care about... but make the site work better. For that I have less problem spending the money to have it done right. For purely appearance sake... I'm less willing or able to shell over the money.
    But i just spent like four evenings in a row creating cool graphical representations of how i'd like the site to look... and am aware that maybe that time would have been better spent in an actual HTML app...
  6. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Marketing is the most important. Failure to market is the number one reason most sites fail.

    Content is important too, but that only matters if one has an audience to consume the content.

    In an ideal situation, the site owner would out source all technical and aesthetic jobs to qualified partners, and focus like a laser on marketing and content.

    That's not so hard, and need not even cost much money. A free Wordpress site with good functionality and decent or better aesthetics can be up in a day, perhaps a week for less experienced folks. The only cost would be hosting, something like ten bucks a month at services like HostGator will usually do the trick.
  7. -pete-, Jun 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014

    -pete- macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
    I'm sorry but I disagree with some of your points here:

    If your website doesn't work then people won't come back to it, you get one shot to make a good impression so making sure the thing actually works is going to be your number 1 priority.

    This depends on your time and budget, if you hire someone and don't pay much then you are going to end up with something that is not editable or extensible, meaning when you want to make changes or add content or do something that isn't that easy you could end up paying your developer way over the odds. Having some technical know-how is extremely helpful in this sort of situation.

    Again, this depends on your project, time and budget. A free WordPress site might look nice and have some fancy functionality but its never going to be suitable for every project, and cheap hosting can be great when you get started but can be a real pain when you need to scale. And if you're turning these things around in a day I very much doubt they're going to be of much quality.

    A good rule of thumb when it comes to design and development is Fast, Cheap or Good, pick two.
  8. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    That is very good advice, I couldn't have put it better.

    The only addition I would add to point 2, along with marketing you need to concentrate on brand positioning, design and usability as well.
  9. Jaysonhennigan macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2014
    Take a new website and keep it simple. Drupal creates problems, and you cannot easily cope up with them.

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