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Website Design

Web design is different than traditional print publishing. Every website is an information display container, just as a book is a container; and every web page is like the page in a book. However the end size and shape of the web page is not known to the web designer, whereas the print designer will know exactly what size paper he will be printing on.

For the typical web sites, the basic aspects of design are:

  1. The content: the substance, and information on the site should be relevant to the site and should target the area of the public that the website is concerned with.
  2. The usability: the site should be user-friendly, with the interface and navigation simple and reliable.
  3. The appearance: the graphics and text should include a single style that flows throughout, to show consistency. The style should be professional, appealing and relevant.
  4. The structure: of the web site as a whole.

A web site typically consists of text, images, animation and /or video. The first page of a web site is known as the Home page or Index Page. Some web sites use what is commonly called a Splash Page. Splash pages might include a welcome message, language or region selection, or disclaimer, however search engines, in general, favor web sites that don't do this which has caused these types of pages to fall out of favor. Each web page within a web site is a file which has its own URL. After each web page is created, they are typically linked together using a navigation menu composed of hyperlinks.

Once a web site is completed, it must be published or uploaded in order to be viewable to the public over the internet. This may be done using an FTP client.

Multidisciplinary requirements:
Web site design crosses multiple disciplines of multiple information systems, information technology, marketing, and communication design. The web site is an information system whose components are sometimes classified as front-end and back-end. The observable content (e.g. page layout, user interface, graphics, text, audio) is known as the front-end. The back-end comprises the organization and efficiency of the source code, invisible scripted functions, and the server-side components that process the output from the front-end. Depending on the size of a web development project, it may be carried out by a multi-skilled individual (sometimes called a web master), or a project manager may oversee collaborative design between group members with specialized skills.

By its very nature, web design is conflicted, involving rigid technical conformance and personal creative balance. Rapid technological change complicates acquiring and deploying suitable resources to maintain web presence.

Layout is a double edged sword: on the one hand, it is the expression of a framework that actively shapes the web designer. On the other hand, as the designer adapts that framework to projects, layout is the means of content delivery. Publishing a web engages communication throughout the production process as well as within the product created. Publication implies adaptation of culture and content standards. Web design incorporates multiple intersections between many layers of technical and social understanding, demanding creative direction, design element structure, and some form of social organization. Differing goals and methods resolve effectively in successful deployment of education, software and team management during the design process. However, many competing and evolving platforms and environments challenge acceptance, completion and continuity of every design product.

Proportional, liquid and hybrid layout are also referred to as dynamic design. Hybrid layout incorporates any combination of fixed, proportional or fluid elements within (or pointing to) a single page. The hybrid web design framework is made possible by digital internet conventions generally prescribed by the W3C. If any layout does not appear as it should, it is very likely that it does not conform to standard design principles, or that those standards conflict with standard layout elements. Current knowledge of standards is essential to effective hybrid design.

The earliest web pages used fixed layouts without exception. In many business pages fixed layouts are preferred today as they easily contain static tabled information. Fixed layout enforces device display convention, as viewers must set their display to at least a certain width to easily view content. This width can include display of corporate logos, cautions, advertisements and any other target content. Design frameworks for fixed layout may need to include coding for multiple display devices.

Hybrid design maintains most static content control, but is adapted to textual publishing, and for readers, to conventional (printed) display. Hybrid layouts are generally easy on the eye and are found on most sites that distribute traditional images and text to readers. For some sites, hybrid design makes an otherwise cold text column appear warm and balanced. A good example of hybrid layout is Wordpress, where liquid design is now optional, and movie and auditory media is stretching the envelope.

Fluid design is useful where content is delivered to an 'unknown device' population. Appropriate liquid code displays images, text and spaces proportional to display size. Someone with a handheld can see view and interact with the same content as someone using a large desktop monitor. However, scaling of content for a variety of devices has more recently evolved with modern web browsers, allowing users to see the same layout across all devices.


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