Putting It All Together: a Case Design Project. Introduction
Dmitry Kirsanov's monthly column
|Putting It All Together: a Case Design Project|
|What does it take to design a web site from scratch? What steps are involved in the process and where should one start? Is it as scary as it sounds? :) Read on for an extensive real-world example that suggests some answers to these questions.|
or several months now, I've been using this space to discuss various aspects of web design, attempting to demystify, in an inspiring and comprehensible way, the designer's creative process. Starting with the discussion of logo design (not directly a web-related field, although very convenient for showing basic design principles), I moved onto the problems of web site typography, layout, color schemes, navigation, the use of geometric primitives and photographic images in web graphics. By now, my regular readers should have a good general perspective of what, in design terms, a web site is and how it is built.
Looks like it's time now to show all these principles applied in practice. It's not that I haven't used illustrations in my previous columns; however, those examples weren't created by me, so I could only speculate on the final results of someone else's creativity, not knowing the process that led to this result. And of course, if you want to learn good design you're not less interested in the creative process than in its result.
That's why I decided to write this column around a case design project, one of the web sites I designed myself: the site of Quiotix Corporation in Menlo Park, California. I'll show you the entire path that led from the original site, an in-house production of the company, to the current design that has just been finalized (scaffolds and debris are still there in some places, though).
When working on design projects, I stay in close contact with the customer, trying to arrive at the product which best suits the customer's taste (and not mine). Thus, the project involved quite a number of intermediate steps, with a few of them containing improvements that became part of the "final thing" and the rest of the attempts being later abandoned. Here, I'll present the most important of these iterations along with the reasons behind my (or the customer's) decisions.
As if in parallel with the sequence of my Design Lab articles, this project started with creating a logo for the company. Then, I started to make drafts of the front page of the site, and when its design was more or less agreed upon, I moved on to draft a couple of sample subpages. Finally, implementing the drafts in HTML also had some interesting points to mention, and I'd especially like to call your attention to the requirements of accessibility that should be observed no matter how "fancy" or "advanced" your design is. The links in this paragraph lead to the corresponding sections of the article.
Revised: Oct. 24, 1997