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Web sites for business or personal use.

Web site design has come a long way in a very short time. The early tools and simple text based editors like MS notepad have mostly given way to sophisticated suites of very intense, specialized tools and software. Almost every part of the design process has been broken down into specific disciplines and building the highly interactive sites of today generally requires a great deal of effort and skill from a large group of professionals. Along with the corresponding expense.

     I use a carefully chosen set of tools that work very well together and allow me to generate professional results quickly and in compliance with today's standards. The use of approved templates can greatly speed up the design process as well.

For Web Design:

  • Microsoft Expression 4 - these are state of the art web authoring programs that will produce standards compliant code and are capable of doing just about anything that can be done as far as assembling a web site. Very good with handling CSS. It is part of a much larger suite of specialized programs that can produce flash, graphics, databases, videos, and the like.  Very heavy duty software.

  • Xara Web Designer 6 - a newly released piece of software that re-defines the WYSIWYG editors. This tool is changing the way web sites will be designed in the future. Very sophisticated and very slick.

  • CoffeeCup Shopping Cart Creator Pro - software for creating custom shopping carts on your website or as a stand-alone site. You can easily accept payments through your PayPal account or it can be set up to use various credit cards. Up to 5 images of your products.

  • CoffeeCup Shopping Cart Designer Pro- software for modifying your CoffeeCup Shopping Cart to a design you want or to match your existing site.

For Graphic Design:

  • CoffeeCup Flash Fire Starter  - program for creating simple flash animations and effects.

  •  Paint Shop Pro - an older graphics program that is quick and clean and easy to use. It’s been a favorite of mine for years.

  • Xara Extreme 5 - another newer graphics program that is different from most. Although it will do anything the other programs will, since it’s vector based, the creation and manipulation of objects, drawings and photos is phenomenal. It will also do some flash and 3D animation work. Allows a variety of effects to be applied to photos and text.

  • Xara 3D - a great tool for producing 2D and 3D headings, tiles, 3D flash images, and animated GIFs. All the Xara tools work together, moving projects from one to the other, greatly simplifying the work flow.  

In addition to these tools and programs I use various other programs for image modification and creation as well as website coding and styling. I try to stay current with all the latest developements and new specifications and use the most effective software for the job.

Why Do You Sometimes Use Templates?

     The World Wide Web is a constantly changing place and standards are constantly evolving. New browsers have appeared with different abilities and quirks. Web authoring tools evolved from basic text based programs to sophisticated suites of highly technical software capable of some amazing things coupled with amazing learning curves and amazing costs.

      For a long while, table based web design was promoted as the best design technique and today you'll find many, many sites that are still table based. But there other competing methods and with the appearance of other browsers it became more and more difficult to design sites that had cross browser compatibility. Enter the W3c or WORLD WIDE WEB CONSORTIUM.

    "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential." In other words, a set of standards that will work for all browsers and platforms. A major development in web design was the promotion of CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. The use of CSS coupled to DWT (Dynamic Web Templates) allows a web designer very fine control over the design and has the added benefit of allowing changes to the style sheets to change all the pages linked to it. That makes for much easier maintenance and upkeep of a site as well as cleaner, less cluttered code. It also allows the site to look the same throughout without the hand coding of each page.

     Along with the widespread use of CSS came a desire by many web designers, professionals as well as amateur, to "strut their stuff" and show off their coding abilities and methods of solving design challenges. The creative commons licenses is an agreement that the design may be used by anyone for any purpose, personal or commercial, free of charge, commonly with the understanding that a credit and/or link to the designer is kept.

     There are huge numbers of these templates available and they are an unbelievably rich resource. They range from basic, simple layouts to extreme sites. The hardest part is choosing one that you like and that will suit your needs.

     Since it is much more cost and time effective to take a free template and modify it to suit, than to “reinvent the wheel” and do the same basic design development and charge the client for it, I have decided to offer templates as an option. They are then modified and customized with your text, your applications, and your graphics. Many other designers are also taking this direction and offering "turnkey web sites", but the amount of customization varies widely. Hand coding and ground up development of a site is, of course, a choice you can always make if you choose. A scratch built site is considered a custom package and priced accordingly at he hourly rate.



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