The building website structure depends, how you define your content will be presented. You’ll have slideshows, text, videos, and presentations, but how will they be presented?
Will a slideshow be laid out like a grid or as a rotating carousel?
Text will obviously appear as text often does, but what information will be available about authors, titles, and subjects?
Will you present related stories or a subscription call-to-action at the bottom?
Each of these questions will help determine layout and clarify presentation moving forward. Start building the pieces of the final assembly before putting them in place. Before they receive the receive coding, primary pieces can be drawn-up based on content. This may include, but is not limited to:
The key here is to focus on the content not the design. Content involves titles, text, video, message, author, attribution, and subject. Design, on the other hand, comes next.
Complimenting Content with Design
Once you’ve got your pieces constructed, it’s time to determine how they will be painted. The design process involves taking the text, video, photography, and functionality you’ve chosen and putting it together in a layout that provides an attractive, usable, and harmonious experience.
Page layouts of all kinds will begin with wireframing. This process involves creating grey-scale drawings of how elements will be positioned on a page. In this phase, ignore graphic elements altogether and instead focus on arrangement, flow of information, and usability. Each type of unique page will need its own wireframe, including contact pages, blog posts, product pages, and more.
Once these are established, they’ll be used as a guide for initial Photoshop mock-ups. These are, effectively, a pixel-by-pixel accurate depiction of how your final product will appear. Use your wireframes as a guide, place your color palette and other graphic elements (logos, fonts, etc.) in the margins as a guide, and begin creating elements for each piece of the wireframe. Notes should be made for all graphic tricks achieved through CSS, slices should be made around elements, and all assets should be labeled in a coherent manager (“large header” instead of “designpiece13”).
The next part is likely the most arduous and, due to its scope, will only be mentioned in passing here. Once your elements are sliced and ready for assembly, you’ll need to code your site. This can take many forms, including using pre-built templates or creating a site from the ground up. If you plan on beginning with a template, you’ll want to factor this in, as your wireframes will likely be dictated by the template in use.
Once your site is assembled, you’ll want a reference moving forward to keep design elements consistent. These documents are called style guides. Style guides contain fonts, font sizes, colors, color uses, graphics, acceptable graphical variants, and any other restrictions on the appearance and utilization of aesthetic elements. Developing this will not only unify your branding efforts, but help form your identity through careful examination.
Finally, load everything into the content management system (CMS) of your choice. These platforms are installed on your web hosting and facilitate the creation and coding of content within your website’s infrastructure. Frequently they feature the ability to create authorship accounts and control administrative aspects of the operations in order to effectively and consistently deliver your work to the front pages.
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