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Theoretically designing a site from the ground up


Junior Member
If you were designing a site completely from scratch, what would be the steps you would take to do so? Would you look at and borrow ideas from other sites?
I probably would start off with a default template/theme and then go from there. It'd be easier to modify things that way, and it'd also give me a clearer vision of what I wanted the site to look like.
I start by googling for websites in the same niche as the one I want to design. But I don't simply copy stuff, I just want to see what other websites offer and get some ideas for my own website.
Sketch it out first, then make a mockup in photoshop. Show it to friends or other people who work on HTML, get advice, opinions, suggestions. See what other sites do, get some ideas rolling around in your head.
Also fro somewhat more complicated sites and apps it's a good idea to make UML class and use-case diagrams.
If I were to design a site from scratch, which I am very unlikely to do since I am a very lazy person who never codes anything that can be copied, I would take a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch a rough idea of what it should look like first. Then I will rough out a flow chart to see what's the best way to get around the site. Once I have settled that, I will use an editor, probably Amaya, to put my ideas into virtual form for further refining.
I used to always make all of my websites from scratch with only Microsoft Notepad at my side! Ahh, I remember the days. I would never, ever attempt to do that now. The site would look like crap compared to today's standards, or it would make me completely crazy. There are too many easier ways to do it. I would totally go with a template. ;)
What is this site for? Some sites work well with a template, but others, I think, call for something completely original.
Find a good theme and template first. Then work from there. I'd never take designs or ideas from other sites. The more original the better. After all, that's what you're being paid for right?
I would research the niche to make sure there's enough interest, first. Then, research the competition to see who's getting the most attention, and figure out why. You also need to understand your audience. What are their needs, wants, etc.? Then, you can start thinking about actually building a site, but plan everything first. You should only be designing and coding things that will actually get used and actually work to make your site better. Be as organized as possible. Get the site working before getting caught up in making it pretty.
Start with the idea. Your outcome will heavily vary based on how you started. For example, if you started making a forum website, then decided to make a shop website two days later, you'll probably have to start over or change almost all of your code.
The way I start out designing a website is I sketch it out first on paper. In my web design class, we always had to create storyboards first and it stuck with me. It keeps me on track and gives me a rough idea of what the website will look like when finished. It also helps me know where I am going when designing and i f I missed anything I originally wanted to put into the website. If I'm lacking in ideas of what to make my site look like, I browse other sites to spark my imagination, but don't copy their code because I like to create the website myself.
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I've tried to do this plenty of times and I always have trouble. I think I would prefer to look at other websites to give me direction. While I would be the coder though I would need a designer to make the graphics.