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The great empowering feature of the Internet is that anyone with a computer and a little knowledge can put something on the web. Even programs like typical word processors have integrated a “save as HTML” feature to make their content web ready.

Sadly, many people and companies simply slap content into a basic site structure and call it their web site. With the growing “dot com or bust” attitude, businesses rush poorly designed material onto the web without really understanding how the Internet works. There are thousands of sites like this that are graphically bland, poorly laid out, and difficult to navigate. Is it any wonder that their dot com goes bust?

This section is dedicated to helping you learn about some of the things a professional web designer can do for you to improve the appearance, functionality and overall appeal of your web site.

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A designer will use many tools to complete your site. Graphics may be prepared and optimized in programs like Photoshop and Image Ready.

Vector graphics are rasterized and converted to more appropriate formats for the web. Rich media video or audio is sampled and compressed in special audio and video software.

Copy may be written and edited in a word processor. Then, when all site elements are ready, they are integrated into HTML with page composition editors and appropriate tagging. Once composed, pages are tested for layout integrity and then uploaded via FTP to the Internet host server.

During the design process, keyword metatags are embedded in the HTML code, and your site is registered at top search engines after publication.

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A web designer considers a wide range of issues while building your site, and is always asking questions about...

1) Style: Does the site have a unified theme that is consistent? Do the colors harmonize with one another? Is the graphic style appropriate to the business or topic? Does the site effectively “brand” the business product or service in the customers mind?

2) Structure: Is the site structure logical and easy to navigate? Are primary navigation tools placed in consistent locations on every page? Can users get from one place to another without using  their “back” button. Are pages designed to minimize scrolling?

3) Graphics: Are graphics and colors harmonious? Are images optimized for faster loading without sacrificing quality? What file formats should be used for preparing graphics? Is animation used effectively?

4) Layout: Are page layouts interesting and varied. Are fonts consistent and easy to read on all platforms and browsers? What is the optimal screen resolution for the design, and how will it look on lower or higher res screens? Are cascading style sheets (CSS) configured properly?

5) Components: Will Java script, PHP or CGI be needed to enable forms or navigation?

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