Website Design

I've looked at a lot of designs trying to land on one for my site. The hardest part for me was picking colors that worked well together and displayed well on a low end laptop LCD. I already had a layout in mind - header across the top, content on the right, sidebar with links on the left, and a small footer on the bottom. Sure, I could have adopted a CSS layout, but I find those to be bloated, confusing code and quite simply overkill for the layout I had in mind.

I created this site by hand - no WYSIWYG website editors, and definitely not Micro$oft Frontpage!!! (I have never seen such bloated, confusing, slow loading, buggy, non-standards-compliant code as is produced by this program!) I used Notepad++, a freeware, open source text editor specifically geared towards programmers. My favorite features are the customizable syntax highlighting and code folding.

Ok, how did I make this site? First, I used Eric Meyer's final(?) version of his CSS Reset. This made a lot of my cross browser testing unnecessary, since it pretty much levels the playing field for all browsers by removing most (if not all) of the browser-specific renderings of HTML tags. I then started with a solid XHTML and CSS layout, using only five <div> tags: page, header, content, sidebar and footer. The page div works like the container divs you see all over the place. I took some cues from the 960 Grid System layout by making the page div 960px wide. I'm seriously considering I've considered widening it to make more room, but once I saw the site at 1024x768 resolution, I realised the designers of the 960 layout were onto something, so I widened the content and narrowed the sidebar. (this site is far from finished...).

What are my beliefs about web design? Above all, keep the design simple and clean. Don't clutter the page with all kinds of stuff on the home page, thats what links are for. Next, keep the code simple. If possible, write it yourself by hand like I did. This will lead not only to you actually understanding the code when you need to modify it, but it can provide major performance gains over WYSIWYG editors in terms of individual file size, rendering time, and depending on your skills, browser compatibility. Finally, take others' advice with a grain of salt. While the advice may be good, you ultimately need to make up your own mind and do your own thing!

There are some schools of thought that contradict my fundamental beliefs of writing a web page. I read an article which asked "Are You Making These 10 CSS Mistakes?" and while I do agree with some of the points, I have to overwhelmingly agree with the comment Here is another 'do it my way css' article.. You know if you going to preach then validate this page. Indeed the page does not validate. Let me add one last point to my web design beliefs: practice what you preach!