What is Web Design?

Web design is the skill of creating presentations of content (usually hypertext or hypermedia) that is delivered to an end-user through the World Wide Web, by way of a Web browser or other Web-enabled software like Internet television clients, microblogging clients and RSS readers.

The intent of web design is to create a web site. A collection of electronic documents and applications that reside on a web srver(s) and present content and interactive features/interfaces to the end user in form of Web pages once requested. Such elements as text, bit-mapped images (GIFs, JPEGs) and forms can be placed on the page using HTML/XHTML/XML tags. Displaying more complex media (vector graphics, animations, videos, sounds) requires plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, QuickTime, Java run-time environment, etc. Plug-ins are also embedded into web page by using HTML/XHTML tags.

Improvements in browsers’ compliance with W3C standards prompted a widespread acceptance and usage of XHTML/XML in conjunction with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to position and manipulate web page elements and objects. Latest standards and proposals aim at leading to browsers’ ability to deliver a wide variety of content and accessibility options to the client possibly without employing plug-ins.

Typically web pages are classified as static or dynamic:

Static pages don’t change content and layout with every request unless a human (web master/programmer) manually updates the page. A simple HTML page is an example of static content.

Dynamic pages adapt their content and/or appearance depending on end-user’s input/interaction or changes in the computing environment (user, time, database modifications, etc.) Content can be changed on the client side (end-user’s computer) by using client-side scripting languages (JavaScript, JScript, Actionscript, etc.) to alter DOM elements (DHTML). Dynamic content is often compiled on the server utilizing server-side scripting languages (Perl, PHP, ASP, JSP, ColdFusion, etc.). Both approaches are usually used in complex applications.

With growing specialization in the information technology field there is a strong tendency to draw a clear line between web design and web development.

Web design is a kind of graphic design intended for development and styling of objects of the Internet’s information environment to provide them with high-end consumer features and aesthetic qualities. The offered definition separates web design from web programming, emphasizing the functional features of a web site, as well as positioning web design as a kind of graphic design.

The process of designing web pages, web sites, web applications or multimedia for the Web may utilize multiple disciplines, such as animation, authoring, communication design, corporate identity, graphic design, human-computer interaction, information architecture, interaction design, marketing, photography, search engine optimization and typography.

  • Markup languages (such as HTML, XHTML and XML)
  • Style sheet languages (such as CSS and XSL)
  • Client-side scripting (such as JavaScript)
  • Server-side scripting (such as PHP and ASP)
  • Database technologies (such as MySQL and PostgreSQL)
  • Multimedia technologies (such as Flash and Silverlight)
  • Share/Save/Bookmark

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