Basic Web Design Essentials

November 6, 2008

The most effective websites often rely on basic technology for their designs. The key is to know the basics inside out so that you can maximize their potential. More importantly, becoming an expert of these basic web design tools will allow you to use them in ways different from how your competitors do.

The 3 basic web design essentials in this article have their own distinct advantages and weaknesses.

The goal is to get the right mix to have the best of each work for your website.

Websites generally employ 2 kinds of technologies: client-side technology and server-side technology.

Client-side technology operates in the user’s web browser. On the other hand, server-side technology operates from the computer that hosts the website and sends the data to the user’s browsers.

This article focuses only on client-side technologies so that you know which technologies your website users are most likely able to process. Align your web design to these 3 basic web design essentials to gain more visits with less effort from your end.

1. HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language
HTML is a type of computer language that uses a set of text codes. These codes describe the structure of a website, more often used for text-based information.

HTML format relies on tags that are surrounded by . These tags allow computers to understand texts as headings, paragraphs, links, and so on.

Moreover, HTML allows designers to incorporate images, forums, spaces for comments and other useful additions.

However, when browsers read HTML with mistakes, they either show the error through the webpage or assume corrections far from the designer’s intention.

2. XHTML: eXtended Hypertext Markup Language
XHTML is a cross between HTML and eXtensible Markup Language (XML). XML is an extensible language that allows users to define elements for themselves to complement HTML tags. It helps computers all over the world share data over the Internet.

Although XHTML allows more breathing space for defining your own elements, the language is a double-edged sword.

It assumes you know what you’re doing so you can’t make a mistake because XHTML will do exactly as it is told.

Conversely, if you know what you’re doing, the language won’t make a mistake because XHTML will do exactly as it is told.

3. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets
CSS is another type of computer language that allows web designers to pack all the site’s design elements on a stylesheet and copy the sheet onto HTML, instead of having page after page of tags for the design and layout.

This allows web developers to keep page sizes at a minimum to make sure that loading time will be approximately 5 seconds.

CSS is used to separate the website’s main content from the presentation or aesthetic elements—colors, fonts, layout, and so on.