...web design...

my preferred approach/working-order…

Web design is a thought-process first of all – to me at least. Web-documents main purpose is to transport data, so I prepare the whole chain in my head before transmission (coding) starts.

Content is “ streamed” in, split up and confined in separate chunks (xhtml), and positioned (css) for convenience. Then the intermediate state (web design) is left to dry, before being evaluated for its qualities related to human/machine interaction.

The above may sound a bit “machine-like” but that's how I am – like a machine with a human interface. The above is expanded slightly in the following.


  1. Any design-process I'm involved in will be based on what the content is all about, so reading/evaluating content comes first. The value of a web page is in its content, so most design-decisions can only be made once this evaluation-stage is finished.

  2. At this point I often leave a project for a while, and may spend days and even weeks doing something completely different – something rather not web related but that's not so important. I don't look for inspiration – I just keep an open mind.

  3. The styled or unstyled web page should deliver main content first and foremost, so I often start the actual coding-process by organizing the real content into some basic mark-up with little or no styling.

    I don't visualize in boxes, columns and grids when working with web designs. Thus, I try to make sure that content isn't unnecessarily “locked up” into boxes and positions at this stage.

  4. No “PhotoShop mock-up” will do much good as design-base, so I don't create any. PhotoShop is used extensively to provide suitable design-pieces throughout the process though, once I've visualized what I want it to look like when looking at a plain layout.

    I may use PhotoShop to copy a real design in progress, as a way to present ongoing work to a client without having to reveal actual code behind an unfinished design.

  5. Not much styling needed to sketch up a basic layout, and I often use existing stylesheets from my own “tool-box” at this stage. They are plain and simple, without much to pull the layout up from a linear (unstyled) state.

  6. I would rather not translate fixed designs into fluid web designs, so I design directly for the web without any real pre-stages. Pencil and paper are useful tools, but graphical browsers are better.

    I want layouts to be able to transform a bit to suit the environment, and that makes it necessary to design for a wide range of screens, window-sizes, font-sizes and so on.

    I always base design-solutions on what Opera can make out of them, but I may add or subtract some for other browsers in order to improve the final result for all users. Same look across browser-land isn't important, but providing all users with a good experience is important in most cases.

  7. I handcode everything, and “preview” directly in the available, fullblown, browsers. Editors are used on “notebook-level”, and the only assisting software used is HTML Tidy.

  8. Always some debugging needed throughout the entire process, and all bugs that haven't been dealt with before will have to be “killed” now. This is where “testing, testing, correcting and some more testing” is repeated until I'm satisfied with the result in all major browsers.

    Major browsers (at the time of writing) are: Opera, Mozilla/Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Latest versions of these will be covered.

    Other browsers will automatically be covered if their support for W3C standards is reasonably good.

  9. If, for whatever reason, the design isn't what I or a client want, then the process may restart from any of the stages above.

    However, I don't do any additional work for clients for free, so fix-priced projects will end right here.

    My own projects are never finished, but no need to hold on to them once they work reasonably well.

  10. Time to let it go.

confusing process…

I'm not trying to confuse you by presenting such an “un-ordered” list, but I prefer such a confusing order of things when I'm working. The last thing I want is “order for order's sake”, as that would destroy all creative freedom.

I actually think most creative beings are working somewhat like that list suggests. Most will however present it in a much more orderly way for the sake of others. No wonder so many think they understand the creative process.

I'm not the least concerned with what others might think, so I present the process as it is. There's a pretty strict order at the technical level because it wouldn't work otherwise, but the rest is “rather chaotic”. That's me.

so, there…

Yes, that's all there is to it.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 23.oct.2005
last rev: 14.dec.2005


process of designing: the process, techniques, or art of designing things
— msnEncarta

create detailed plan of something: to make a detailed plan of the form or structure of something, emphasizing features such as its appearance, convenience, and efficient functioning
— msnEncarta

act of transmitting: the act or process of transmitting something, especially radio signals, radio or television broadcasts, data, or a disease
— msnEncarta

boundary across which data passes: a common boundary shared by two devices, or by a person and a device, across which data or information flows, e.g. the screen of a computer
— msnEncarta

apparent disorder: the unpredictability inherent in a system such as the weather, in which apparently random changes occur as a result of the system's extreme sensitivity to small differences in initial conditions
— msnEncarta

inherently unpredictable: describes the state of a system according to chaos theory
— msnEncarta

addition to:

…2005 - 2006