Starting a Project - Inspiration

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Aperture, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    #1
    Hi Guys. I've been doing a good bit of web design lately and I wanted to know what your first steps are in planning the look of a website. What do you look to for inspiration?

    When I start a project, I just find myself sketching tons of ideas on paper until I find one that will work.

    What types of questions do you ask the client to get an idea of what they're looking for?

    I know this is sort of broad but I really appreciate the help.
     
  2. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #2
    I don't work as a web-designer, but have gotten pretty good at coding, and have some experience at it.

    The very first thing I think about is how I am going to organize the site (folders, consistent naming, etc). Doing this can save a lot of time later. Also, always making clean code. Specially your CSS sheet, since this helps for easily changing the look later on.

    As for design, well, it really depends on the business or organization you are working for, but a good point start I think would be to understand what they do. Do they sell things online, do they show information about their products and services only. Try and understand who their target market is by (teens, kids, moms, dads, industry, etc.).

    See what colors they normally use in their ads and in their logo, and try going with those. Looking at the competition is also a good idea, try and see what you like about their design and functionality of the page. And if they currently have a webpage (your clients company), test it over and over till you see what looks and feels great, and what just feels out of place.

    Apart from that, my personal recommendation is to aim for a simple and elegant design. I had never liked pages with a lot of movement and bright colors everywhere. I specially dislike Flash sites. But this is just my personal taste.:p
     
  3. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    I usually think about content first. People go to a web page to find information, so the design needs to lend itself to getting this information. Then you have to get an understanding of the client and their business' purpose, reputation, etc. to come up with designs that reflect that. You can also view web pages of similar businesses to see how they setup their site to see what you like and dislike about it.

    I don't necessarily have a set approach though. Sometimes it just comes to me.
     
  4. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #4
    When developing prototypes, I find any of the following helpful:

    The company's logo or masthead graphic used in print and other media so I can get a sense of colors, fonts, etc. which brand their company. This could even be uniform colors - anything to pick up on their style.

    Discussion with the client to see what they envision - could be as simple as a link to a site they like if they wish to break away.

    If an original design is necessary, i.e. new business or change in branding then the discussion is even more important so I can see how they wish to grow. Then I base the design on experience with small vs. medium vs. corporate sites which fits best with their needs. In other words, don't design a complex corporate site for a mom and pop store unless mom or pop tells you that's what they want.

    Usually it is the content, as angelwatt noted, that ultimately determines a new design, and I usually design from scratch small and medium sized business themes and try to find templates I can customize for corporate themes as it saves time tremendously. But you'd be surprised that some corporations like it EXTREMELY sparse so always include a simple layout if you present multiple prototypes and it's up to you entirely to show them alternatives.

    Beyond this, Roco summed up nicely the kinds of things I do and think about!

    -jim
     

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