My previous article on information architecture dealt with planning the content properly. Now, that great content needs a great design to sit inside. This is where the web design part steps in and it is equally intricate. Many people will say "I don't know where to start." There is no requirement to be a professional designer to create a web site.
Designing the Elements of a Web Page - The Starting Tools (Page 2 of 6 )
This is a brief list of the recommended web design tools and languages. Try to gain at least a basic grasp of:
A graphic design package like Photoshop or Paintshop Pro
A web design package like FrontPage or Dreamweaver
These are just examples; there is a whole host of free web design software perfect for the job. If coding is preferred, all that is needed is notepad. If some flashy vector graphics are planed then Macromedia Flash is required. There are lower learning curve software titles too, such as SwishMax and Incrediflash for creating appealing flash designs.
The Network Diagram
For the first design template idea, this should be the starting point in mapping out the flow of content and pages:
The Home Page will introduce the site and present the main menus and options for navigation across the site. Advertising will appear later on this page, which is not a concern right now. This is a basic diagram for illustrative purposes; the home page of a multifaceted information portal would have more than four menu items. There should be a diagram produced that is more ramified than the one above if the site theme research has been properly conducted. Use it merely as a frame of reference.
Links 1 to Link 4 are the main menu options. These lead to the initial TEXT pages of the site content. Normally, these pages will have links leading to a LINKED PAGE that may be the next page for that menu option, a linked keyword to another site page or another web site.
Next, it is time to create a mock template from a design grid.