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Web Design

Web Site Design Hints And Tips

Design considerations

Before requesting a new web site, you should have some idea in mind of your requirements. If you are a company for example, you may already have a corporate logo and some documentation like letterheads, invoices and business cards. To appear professional, you will probably want your web site to reflect you existing corporate image, so be ready to supply examples of any such documentation to help aid you in the design process, so that the look, colours, fonts and so on that you choose can try to match your existing corporate image. If you are a new company, you ought to be thinking about how you want your new corporate image to look, and your web site can be designed to match it.


Many sites, particularly personal web sites, like to display photographs or other images to the visitors. This is often done by showing a group of reduced (in size) photographs on a page (known as thumbnails) and when the visitor clicks on any of the thumbnails, the full sized photograph is then displayed. I can also offer a different method of displaying the full sized image, by using some software often known as a Lightbox. Rather than trying to explain how this works, click the thumbnail on the right to see it in action for a single image. Below is an example for a group of images.

Spring Spring
Autumn/Fall Winter

This feature has various options (e.g. single photograph, linked photographs, captions, etc.) and I can discuss these with you, if you wish to use the utility.


If your site has more than one page, your visitors will need some way to move from one page to another. This is called Site Navigation. The type of navigation on your site can take many forms and I'm sure you will have seen many styles, both basic and complex, as you have looked at various web sites around the internet. The simplest method is a text navigation bar, and this type of navigation is always included in the basic price for a web site. Variations include text changes (colour changes, underline options, boldness and many more...) some of which can often be included in the basic price. For a small additional cost, a button navigation bar can be created, optionally with special affects applied with Javascript when the visitor moves the mouse over the button (called roll-over for the technically minded). More complex systems, such as Flash-based navigation systems can be provided at a further cost (and longer development time), if required.


Most sites will involve a small contact form of some sort which usually request at least a name, email address and comment from the visitor. When the visitor completes the form it results in the information being sent to you in an email. A basic form is included in the price. To provide you with security on the web, I use techniques to help protect you from spam and email address harvesting, using Javascript to hide email addresses and individually customised PHP code for web forms, to protect your sensitive data from web spiders. My PHP code not only sends the information to your own email address, but it will also send an email to the visitor's email address (as supplied on the form) to confirm that the information has been received. Extra forms or forms with additional fields can be usually be arranged. Some small additions may even be able to be included in the basic price.



Whilst it is my responsibility to prepare the basic structure for the site, such as templates, the HTML code for individual web pages, the design structure and colour scheme, etc., it is your responsibility to provide me with the actual content that you want me to put onto your site. This will include such things as the wording to go onto each page, any images, logos or photographs to be used, and functional details such as the navigation process to be used, form layout, optional extras etc. etc (more below). This will be discussed with you throughout the whole design process of course, so don't feel daunted by it. Whilst I can give some advice over content, it is your web site and it must reflect you or your business. And no-one knows that better than you do.

Information can be supplied to me in person, by email, phone, on CD/DVD or any other suitable method. If you cannot arrange photographs yourself, I may be prepared to visit your location(s) and take photographs for use on your site, as long as you will agree to recompense me for any reasonable expenses that such a visit may entail.

Content Management System (CMS):

The above features form the basis for my basic static web sites. However there are times when the web site content needs to be more dynamic or when control is required over the content of the web site by that site's owner, rather than relying for changes to be made by your WebMaster. This is normally achieved by developing the site under the control of a Content Management System (aka: CMS). There are many CMS systems available, but two of the most popular and reliable CMS systems are Drupal© and Joomla©. Wordpress© is another CMS application more dedicated to blog type sites. Another advantage is that the code for all three is Open Source (that is 'free' to you and me), but there is still quite a cost to installation and customisation of such systems.

These are all based around their own template structures. They all provide starter templates within the systems themselves, and there are many more commercial and free templates available as well. I can install any of these CMS systems onto your ISP, use your choice of template and do the customising to make it unique for your own web site. You will then be responsible for placing the content onto the site yourself, using the administrator functions built into the CMS system. Support will be provided if required.

The above are good for complete CMS control of your site, but not so good if you already have a static web site and want to convert it to CMS control, or if you only want portions of your site to be CMS managed, with much of the rest of the site remaining mostly static in nature. For these situations I have developed my own CMS system, called the KenKode Content Control Centre (aka KKCCC). This is particularly designed to bolt on to existing (static) sites and mange the dynamic content on just a portion of a web page (or several). The interface is easy to learn and use, and is tightly customised to the need of the your unique site, rather than the more general interfaces of the above CMS systems (which can be more difficult to learn and use). If your web site would suite this kind of dynamic content control, I will be happy to give you more information on KKCCC.

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the process used by web site designers to try and make your web site appear higher up in the index listing of a search engine, such as Google, Yahoo!, AltaVista and many others. I'm not going to make any wild promises about getting your site to the top position of Google's first page. Much of that depends on getting many other web sites to link back to your own web site, and that is outside the context of my offering here. What I do offer is to try and understand your web site, so I can customise your pages; particularly your home page (or initial page if you want a Landing Page); such that they are very "search engine friendly". This means that search engine spiders will easily be able to find the information on your pages to use in their index, and so it is more likely that your site will be shown as high as reasonably possible for your main key words. I also don't use functions such as Javascript navigation techniques, because this kind of thing masks a lot of information out of reach from search engine spiders, meaning much of your data will not be found or indexed in the search engine pages. For the technically minded, I can also produce a "robots.txt" and "sitemap.xml" files specifically tailored to your site, which most search engines will use to correctly index your web site in the best way to make it work for you.

The process

Whatever the size of your site, I will initially work with you to get your overall design requirements, and what functionality you wish for your web site. I will then prepare a one or more page sample (depending on the complexity of your requirements) in PDF format for your approval at a fixed price of £15.00 per sample page, as a deposit for the initial effort involved. Small changes can be made at this stage for no extra cost, or significant changes/extra sample pages can be produced at the same cost as before. After obtaining your approval on the design and the full requirements for the site, a fixed price will then be agreed with you. 50% of this total will then be payable. The deposit (as already paid) will be deducted from this payment. Once the balance is received, work on building the actual web site will then commence. At this time, you will be required to supply the necessary text, images and other content that you wish to appear on the site.


Hosting is the term given to how your web site is made available to the general public. Your site is built and tested on our internal systems. However, this is not available to you or your visitors. The web site has to be copied (technically: uploaded) to special servers on the internet where the site can then be used. A company that provide this service is called an Internet Service Provider, commonly referred to as an ISP company. If you already have a web site, I can upload to your existing ISP, or I can arrange for an ISP to host your new web site. This is normally through Orpheus Internet, a reliable, professional, friendly UK company with excellent access to their support staff on the rare occasions when this is required. Or I can use an ISP of your own choosing if required.

What next?

If you would like to see how affordable a site might be to prepare, please see my Web pricing page. If you are ready to discuss your new web site requirements, please get in contact through my Contacts page.