If you think designers and developers are from different pole of the earth, you have to think again. Web designers too need to learn the basics of web development and website applications. This has become the need of an hour. Starting from CMS based site development to content management to technical upgradation, a professional web designer has to go through all the processes.
If you are a freelance designer and working on client projects , it is necessary that you collect some first-hand information. Following are a few tips on web development that a designer will find worthy.
Learning database design and storage basics :
A designer has to work on both static as well as dynamic site. In case of a static site data is stored as plain HTML. However, for a dynamic site it is not. As a designer you need to understand how data is stored to make your life easier. You also need to understand how a developer stores data for effective use and how a small change in design can do wonders.
Understanding programming constructs:
Every developer has his own set of requirements when it comes to programming constructs. A clear understanding of these will help you develop specifications and design interfaces. The two most important among them are –
a. Conditional logic – if.. then…else
For instance , a conditional logic can be like – if a member is logged in or signed in, then display them a link “My account” else, show the link option for fresh login and new registration.
Loops help to display chunks of information stored in a database. If you want to use the same block of data again and again and display them nicely on different pages, loop is of good use. By using loops you can sort and show only a part of the data. You can also set additional rules for filtration.
Using user-specific functions:
Website design is not all about graphics, colour and codes. You also need to focus on usability part of the site – both for visitors and administrators. This involves estimation of time- cost ratio and viability. A designer needs to such specifications that can be quoted with confidence.
Working on error statement :
You should not forget about error message and the form validation message while creating your initial designs. It is obvious that programmers will have some code-related issues and you don’t want to end up with a bad note on this from a customer. Protect your design and provide clear instructions to developers how the message will appear and what the user-experience should be.
Managing professional work environment:
It is terrible to see how a number of people make changes to the files on a live website. This is never safe. If you are developing a file directly on the server, the chances are high it is the only copy of the up-to-date files you have. If there is any problem with the server , you may loose the entire site.
Even if you are creating a subfolder and making changes to the live site over there, the situation is similar. You have only one copy of the file on the live server. Moreover, there can be an issue with the root structure of the files while developing subfolders.
Another big time mistake most of the designers do is that they test and preview files on a local server. They use filesystem in the browser or use dreamweaver or other editor programs to view the pages. However, these pages are not the part of the website , so there can be problems with its paths when they go live.
Web developers should create a live environment that is similar to the original one. This helps when you want to move your site in live condition.
Apart from these designers need to focus on cheap hosting service, security system, third-party applications and all. Use of form and form elements is also a crucial factor .