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Designer
Designer is a broad term for a person who designs any of a variety of things. That usually implies the task of creating or of being creative in a particular area of expertise. It is frequently used to reference someone who draws or in some ways uses visual cues to organize their work. Designers are usually responsible for making a model that takes into consideration each step in a product's development, including not only how a product will be used but also how it will be made.

Examples

Designers work in a set of widely different fields, where common design principles might only exist in a small degree.[1] Examples of different types of designers include: architectural designer, automotive designer, costume designer, fashion designer, jewelry designer, game designer, graphic designer, industrial designer, interior designer, landscape designer, lighting designer, scenic designer, systems designer and web designer.

Costume Designer
The costume designer is the person who is responsible for designing costumes for a film or stage production. He or she is considered part of the "production team," alongside the director, scenic and lighting designers. The costume designer might also collaborate with a hair/wig master or a makeup designer, with the latter two operating on a subordinate level. In European theatre the role is somewhat different as the theatre designer will design both costume and scenic elements.

Costume designers will typically seek to enhance a character's persona, within the framework of the director's vision, through the way that character is dressed. At the same time, the designer must ensure that the designs allow the actor to move in a manner consistent with the historical period and enables the actor to execute the director's blocking of the production without damage to the garments. Additional considerations include the durability and wash ability of garments, particularly in extended runs. The designer must work in consultation with not only the director, but the set and lighting designers to ensure that the overall design of the production works together. The designer needs to possess strong artistic capabilities as well as a thorough knowledge of pattern development, draping, drafting, textiles and costume/fashion history.

Game Designer

A video or computer game designer develops the layout, concept and game play, the game design of a video or computer game. This may include playfield design, specification writing, and entry of numeric properties that balance and tune the game play. A game designer works for a developer (which may additionally be the game's video game publisher). This person usually has a lot of writing experience and may even have a degree in writing or a related field (such as English). This person's primary job function is writing, so the more experience they have with the activity, the better. Some art and programming skills are also helpful for this job, but are not strictly necessary. Game designers often have studied relevant liberal arts such as psychology, sociology, drama, fine art or philosophy. Due to the increasing complexity of the game design process, many young game designers may also come from a computer science or other computer engineering background.

Architectural Designer
An architectural designer is an architect that is primarily involved in the design of buildings or urban landscapes, as opposed to the construction documents and management required and artistic talent. Although most students of architecture are trained to be designers in school, not all become designers in practice. Non-registered designers are similar, but cannot legally refer to themselves as "architectural" designers in most parts of the world. Most are referred to as building designers, especially when not employed by an architectural firm.

Many large architectural firms have architectural designers that set what the general public views as the "style" of the firm's projects. These firms may actually have groups of designers (design studios), often divided into their own separate niche markets (education, healthcare, housing, etc.) In smaller architectural firms, the architectural designers tend to remain involved with the project right through completion, and actually take an active role in documentation and management, sometimes to the point of supervising construction. It is worth noting that most "star" architects, that have become household names, are known because of their skill as architectural designers.

Automotive Design
Automotive design is the profession involved in the development of motor vehicles or more specifically road vehicles. This most commonly refers to automobiles but also refers to motorcycles, trucks, buses, coaches, and vans. The design and development of a modern motor vehicle is typically done by a large team from many different disciplines. Automotive design in this context is primarily concerned with developing the visual appearance or aesthetics of the vehicle, though it is also involved in the creation of the product concept. Automotive design is practiced by designers who usually have an art background and a degree in industrial design or transportation design.

Costume Design
Costume design is the design of the appearance of the characters in a theater or cinema performance. This usually involves designing or choosing clothing, footwear, hats and head dresses for the actors to wear, but it may also include designing masks, makeup or other unusual forms, such as the full body animal suits worn in the musical Cats (designed by John Napier, winner of the 1983 Tony Award for Best Costume Design).

The Costume designer is the person whose responsibility is to design costumes for a film or stage production. He or she is considered part of the "production team," alongside the director, scenic and lighting designers. The costume designer might also collaborate with a hair/wig master or a makeup designer, with the latter two operating on a subordinate level. In European theatre the role is somewhat different as the theatre designer will design both costume and scenic elements.

Costume designers will typically seek to enhance a character's persona, within the framework of the director's vision, through the way that character is dressed. At the same time, the designer must ensure that the designs allow the actor to move in a manner consistent with the historical period and enables the actor to execute the director's blocking of the production without damage to the garments. Additional considerations include the durability and wash ability of garments, particularly in extended runs. The designer must work in consultation with not only the director, but the set and lighting designers to ensure that the overall design of the production works together. The designer needs to possess strong artistic capabilities as well as a thorough knowledge of pattern development, draping, drafting, textiles and costume/fashion history.

Professional costume designers generally fall into three types: freelance, residential, and academic.
  • A freelance designer is hired for a specific production by a theatre, dance or opera company, and may or may not actually be local to the theater that he or she is designing for. A freelancer is traditionally paid in three installments: Upon hire, on the delivery of final renderings, and opening night of the production. Freelancers are not obligated to any exclusivity in what projects they are working on, and may be designing for several theatres concurrently.
  • A residential designer is hired by a specific theatre, dance or opera company for an extended series of productions. This can be as short as a summer stock contract, or may be for many years. A residential designer's contract may limit the amounts of freelance work they are allowed to accept. Unlike the freelancer, a residential designer is consistently "on location" at the theater, and is readily at hand to work with the costume studio and his or her other collaborators. Residential designers tend to be more established than strict freelancers, but this is not always the case.
  • An academic designer is one who holds professorship at a school. The designer is primarily an instructor, but may also act as a residential designer to varying degrees. They are often free to freelance, as their schedule allows. In the past, professors of costume design were mostly experienced professionals that may or may not have had formal post-graduate education, but it has now become increasingly common to require a professor to have at least a Master of Fine Arts in order to teach.
Fashion Design
Fashion design is the applied art dedicated to the design of clothing and lifestyle accessories created within the cultural and social influences of a specific time.

Fashion design differs from costume design due to its core product having a built in obsolescence usually of one to two seasons. A season is defined as either autumn/winter or spring/summer. Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first person to sew their label into the garments that they created. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 could be considered as fashion design.

Fashion designers design clothing and accessories. Some high-fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Designer brands which have a 'name' as their brand such as Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer director.

Types of Fashion
There are three main categories of fashion design, although these may be split up into additional, more specific categories:
  • Haute Couture The type of fashion design which predominated until the 1950s was "made-to-measure" or haute couture, (French for high needlework). The term made-to-measure may be used for any garment that is created for a specific client. Haute couture, however, is a protected term which can only be officially used by companies that meet certain well-defined standards set by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. Nonetheless, many ready-to-wear, and even mass market labels, claim to produce haute couture, when in fact, according to established standards, they do not. A couture garment is made to order for an individual customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric, sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Look and fit take priority over the cost of materials and the time it takes to make.
  • Ready-to-Wear Ready-to-wear clothes are a cross between haute couture and mass market. They are not made for individual customers, but great care is taken in the choice and cut of the fabric. Clothes are made in small quantities to guarantee exclusivity, so they are rather expensive. Ready-to-wear collections are usually presented by fashion houses each season during a period known as Fashion Week. This takes place on a city-wide basis and occurs twice per year.
  • Mass Market These days the fashion industry relies more on mass market sales. The mass market caters for a wide range of customers, producing ready-to-wear clothes in large quantities and standard sizes. Cheap materials, creatively used, produce affordable fashion. Mass market designers generally adapt the trends set by the famous names in fashion. They often wait around a season to make sure a style is going to catch on before producing their own versions of the original look. In order to save money and time, they use cheaper fabrics and simpler production techniques which can easily be done by machine. The end product can therefore be sold much more cheaply. Increasingly, many modern high-end designers are now beginning to turn to mass market retailers to produce lower-priced merchandise, and to broaden their customer base.
Designing a Collection
  • Planning a Collection: Every collection is very carefully researched and planned so that all the items in it complement each other, and have the particular fashion look which the company is known for.
  • Predicting Trends: One of the hardest skills a fashion designer has to master is predicting future trends. To do this, they look at what the fashion directions have been in previous seasons, keep an eye on what others in the fashion business are doing, and read fashion forecasting magazines. They also rely on knowledge of their own customers to see which styles succeeded and which were less popular in past seasons. Perhaps most importantly, designers use their imaginations to come up with new ideas. They often choose a theme to provide inspiration.
  • Choosing a Theme: The theme of a collection can be a period in history, a foreign place, a range of colors, a type of fabric - anything which has a strong visual impact.
Designing a Garment
  • The design: Different designers work in different ways. Some sketch their ideas on paper, others drape fabric on a dress stand, pinning, folding and tucking it until the idea for a garment emerges. A third method is to adapt their own patterns from previous seasons (this method can give continuity to a fashion studio's output).
  • Making a toile or muslin: After making a rough paper pattern, or life-size 2-D plan, of the garment, a sample machinist (or skilled sewing machine operator) then makes a trial version of the garment from plain-colored calico. The toile (called a muslin in the U.S.) is put on to a dress stand (or a model) to see how it fits and whether it hangs properly.
  • Making a card pattern: When the designer is completely satisfied with the fit of the toile (or muslin), they show it to a professional pattern maker who then makes the finished, working version of the pattern out of card. The pattern maker's job is very precise and painstaking. The fit of the finished garment depends on their accuracy.
  • The finished dress: Finally, a sample garment is made up in the proper fabric.
Areas of Work
There are three main ways in which designers can work:
  • Working Freelance:Freelance designers work for themselves. They sell their work to fashion houses, direct to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer's label.
  • Working In-House:In-house designers are employed full-time by one fashion company. Their designs are the property of that company, and cannot be sold to anyone else.
  • Setting up a Company:Fashion designers often set up their own companies. Many designers find this more satisfying than working for someone else, as their designs are sold under their own label.
Jewelry Designer
A jewelry designer is defined as a person who renders, creates, and models original Jewelry creations. By profession this person would be trained in the knowledge of metal smithing and design. Historically Jewelry designers originated as goldsmiths in the cultural aspects of Etruscan Civilization and became more dominate through ancient Greek and Roman cultures. In Ancient Macedonia from Thessaloniki however, the art of milling and rolling 24K Gold rose to the highest form and ignited the origins of what later 18th century jewelers such as the family of Castellani used in Italian Archeological jewelry.

Today's jewelry designers are often professionals with knowledge of Gemology, Metal smithing and Rendering in order to cater to large volumes of consumers as well as private clients.

Game Designer
A game designer is a person who designs games. The term can refer to a person who designs video games, or one who designs traditional games such as board games.

Video and Computer Game Designer

A video or computer game designer develops the layout, concept and gameplay, the game design of a video or computer game. This may include play field design, specification writing, and entry of numeric properties that balance and tune the gameplay. A game designer works for a developer (which may additionally be the game's video game publisher).

This person usually has a lot of writing experience and may even have a degree in writing or a related field (such as English). This person's primary job function is writing, so the more experience they have with that activity, the better. Some art and programming skills are also helpful for this job, but are not strictly necessary. In addition game designers often study relevant liberal arts such as psychology, sociology, drama, fine art or philosophy. Due to the increasing complexity of the game design process, many young game designers may also come from a computer science or other computer engineering background.

With game budgets now running into millions of dollars, the industry can often be volatile and a failed project could force a company into bankruptcy. So the design of the game is critical and the industry has been repeatedly criticized for choosing to develop sequels and licensed titles where sales are more certain, rather than investing in new game ideas. [citation needed] In larger companies entry level game designers will typically be given simpler tasks such as level design and object placement, while the role of lead designer will be reserved for a designer with more experience and a history of successful titles.

Graphic Design
Graphic design is the process of communicating visually using typography and images to present information. Graphic design practice embraces a range of cognitive skills, aesthetics and crafts, including typography, visual arts and page layout. Like other forms of design, graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.

Uses
Graphic design is used whenever visual intricacy and creativity are applied to the presentation of text and imagery. Contemporary design practice has been extended to the modern computer, in particular WYSIWYG user interfaces, often referred to as interactive design, or multimedia design.

Anywhere there is a need to communicate visually, there is potential enhancement of communications through graphic design. Here are a few examples:
  • In Administration:From road signs to technical schematics, from interoffice memorandums to reference manuals, graphic design enhances transfer of knowledge. Readability is enhanced by improving the visual presentation of text. Intricate and clever pictures are used when words cannot suffice.
  • In Advertising:Graphic designs have a unique ability to sell a product or idea through effective visual communications. It is applied to products as well as elements of company identity like logos, colors, and text, together defined as branding. See advertising. Branding has increasingly become important in the range of services offered by many graphic designers, alongside corporate identity and the terms are often used interchangeably.
  • In Education:Graphics are used in textbooks for subjects such as geography, science, and math to illustrate theories and diagrams. A common example of graphics in use to educate is diagrams of human anatomy. Graphic design is also applied to layout and formatting of educational material to make the information more accessible and more readily understandable.
  • In Entertainment:From decoration, to scenery, to visual story telling, graphic design is applied to entertainment. From cover to cover in novels and comic books, from opening credits to closing credits in film, from programs to props on stage, graphic design helps set the theme and the intended mood.
  • In Journalism:From scientific journals to news reporting, the presentation of opinion and facts is often improved with graphics and thoughtful compositions of visual information. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, television and film documentaries may use graphic design to inform and entertain.
  • On the Web:Graphic designers have long been involved in web design. Combining visual communication skills with the interactive communication skills of user interaction and online branding, graphic designers often work with web developers to create both the look and feel of a web site and enhance the online experience of web site visitors. In the job field, companies these days look for someone who can do both graphic and web design. There is a great deal of argument in the professional design community about whether or not this trend is positive. Although it has created new job opportunities for skilled graphic designers, it has also created a glut of web designers who think they can do graphic design but really have little artistic talent. It is important for designers to understand the intricacies of the other medium before offering the skill as a professional service(transitioning from graphic design to web design).
Industrial Design
Industrial design is an applied art whereby the aesthetics and usability of products may be improved for marketability and production. The role of an Industrial Designer is to create and execute design solutions towards problems of engineering, marketing, brand development and sales.

Process of Design
Although the process of design may be considered 'creative', many analytical processes also take place. In fact, many industrial designers often use various design methodologies in their creative process. Some of the processes that are commonly used are user research, sketching, comparative product research, model making, prototyping and testing. These processes can be chronological, or as best defined by the designers and/or other team members. Industrial Designers often utilize 3D Software such as '3D CAD, Alias Studio Tools, 3D Studio Max, Sens Able Free Form(R) Modeling Plus(tm) System, Rhinoceros, solid Thinking, Solid Works' Computer-aided industrial design and CAD programs to move from concept to production. Product characteristics specified by the industrial designer may include the overall shape of the object, the location of details with respect to one another, colors, texture, sounds, and aspects concerning the use of the product ergonomics. Additionally the industrial designer may specify aspects concerning the production process, choice of materials and the way the product is presented to the consumer at the point of sale. The use of industrial designers in a product development process may lead to added values by improved usability, lowered production costs and more appealing products. It is important that in order to be an industrial design the product has to be produced in an industrial way, for example an artisan can't be considered an industrial designer although they may challenge the same aspects of a product. However, some classic industrial designs are considered as much works of art as works of engineering: the iPod, Coke bottle, and VW Beetle are frequently-cited examples.

Industrial design has a focus on technical concepts, products and processes. In addition to considering aesthetics, usability, and ergonomics, it can also encompass the engineering of objects, usefulness as well as usability, market placement, and other concerns such as seduction, psychology, desire, and the sexual or affectionate attachment of the user to the object. These values and accompanying aspects on which industrial design is based can vary, both between different schools of thought and among practicing designers.

Product design and industrial design can overlap into the fields of user interface design, information design and interaction design. Various schools of industrial design and/or product design may specialize in one of these aspects, ranging from pure art colleges (product styling) to mixed programs of engineering and design, to related disciplines like exhibit design and interior design.

Also used to describe a technically competent product designer or industrial designer is the term Industrial Design Engineer. The Cyclone vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson for example could be considered to be in this category (see his autobiography Against The Odds, Pub Thomson 2002).

Industrial Design Rights
Industrial design rights are intellectual property rights that make exclusive the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or combination of pattern and color in three dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional pattern used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft. Under the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs, a WIPO-administered treaty, a procedure for an international registration exists. An applicant can file for a single international deposit with WIPO or with the national office in a country party to the treaty. The design will then be protected in as many member countries of the treaty as desired.

Interior Design

Interior design is the process of shaping the experience of interior space, through the manipulation of spatial volume as well as surface treatment. Not to be confused with interior decoration, interior design draws on aspects of environmental psychology, architecture, and product design in addition to traditional decoration. An interior designer is a person who is considered a professional in the field of interior design or one who designs interiors as part of their job. Interior design is a creative practice that analyzes programmatic information, establishes a conceptual direction, refines the design direction, and produces graphic communication and construction documents. The distinction between interior design and 'interior decoration' is one relevant in the United States but not common elsewhere. As the United States definition does not exist in most of the world, non-Americans would be confused by the distinction.

Interior Design as a Profession

Interior designers may perform some or all of the following activities, among other duties and responsibilities:
  • Research and analyze client's goals and requirements, along with the developing the design documents, drawings and diagrams that outline those needs
  • Formulate the preliminary space plans and the two- and three-dimensional design concept studies and sketches that integrate the client's needs based on knowledge of interior design principles and theories of human behavior
  • Confirm that preliminary space plans and design concepts are considered safe, functional, aesthetically appropriate, in addition to confirming that these elements meet all public health, safety and welfare requirements, including code, accessibility, environmental and sustainability guidelines
  •  Select colors, materials and finishes to appropriately convey the design concept and to meet socio-psychological, functional, maintenance, life-cycle performance, environmental and safety requirements
  • Select and specify the furniture, fixtures, equipment and mill work that are aligned with the design concept, including layout drawings and detailed product description
  • Develop the contract documentation to facilitate pricing, procurement and installation of furniture
  • Provide project management services, including preparation of project budgets and schedules
  • Prepare construction documents consisting of plans, elevations, details and specifications to illustrate various elements of the design concept, including the non-structural and/or non-seismic partition layouts, power and communications locations, ceiling plans, lighting designs, furniture layouts and materials and finishes
  • Prepare construction documents that adhere to regional building and fire codes, municipal codes and any other jurisdictional statutes, regulations and guidelines that apply to the interior space
  • Coordinate and collaborate with allied design professionals who provide additional consulting services for the design project, including, but not limited to, architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers, in addition to various specialty consultants retained for the design project
  • Confirm that construction documents for non-structural and/or non-seismic construction are signed and sealed by the responsible interior designer as applicable to fulfill jurisdictional requirements for filing with code enforcement officials
  • Administer contract documents, bids and negotiations as the client's agent
  • Observe and report information about the progress and completion of the design project, in addition to conducting the post-occupancy evaluation and preparing post-occupancy reports on behalf of the client
Landscape Design
Landscape design is similar to landscape architecture. Landscape Design focuses more on the artistic merits of design, while Landscape Architecture encompasses the artistic design as well as structural engineering. Landscape design and Landscape Architecture, both take into account soils, drainage, climate and other issues, because the survival of selected plants depends on those. Landscape Architecture may require a license depending on the country and region (a license is needed in most USA states). In Oregon, for example, a Landscape Contractor licensed with the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board, may provide levels of landscape architecture and design as long as that landscaper does not assign the title "landscape architect" to themselves. Landscape designers may be required to have a license, depending on the level and detail in the design plan, as well as the location. Landscape design landscape planning is concerned with small and large scale projects. The establishment of landscape plants over a period of time is not landscape design, but is considered "landscape management". Landscape design is almost synonymous with garden design. Landscape architecture and landscape designer should, embrace garden design, landscape management, landscape engineering, landscape detailing, landscape urbanism, landscape assessment and landscape planning.

Traditionally, landscape designers and architects have used pencil and paper to plot the position of plants and other landscape features. Landscape design software has become a popular choice since the advent of the personal computer.

Practically speaking, landscape architecture and landscape design are almost one in the same, if done properly according to the science, knowledge and skill that should be utilized. Some Landscape Designers are licensed Landscape Architects. Sometimes, professionals must call themselves "Landscape Designers" because local laws and rules prevent advertising as "Landscape Architects" without that level of license.

There are also licensed Landscape Contractors who perform landscape design. They may employ landscape designers.

Culturally, Landscape Architects are frequently associated with larger projects, and Landscape Designers are associated with smaller projects. But in actual practice, that's not the case 100% of the time.

In the landscape design profession, "Landscape Architecture" is generally the name of the more advanced level of college education pertaining to landscape design.

Lighting Designer

The role of the lighting designer (or LD) within theater is to work with the director, set designer, costume designer, and sometimes the sound designer and choreographer to create an overall 'look' for the show in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety and cost. The LD also works closely with the stage manager on show control programming.

Scenic Design
Scenic design (also known as stage design, set design or production design) is the creation of theatrical scenery. Scenic designers have traditionally come from a variety of artistic backgrounds, but nowadays, generally speaking, they are trained professionals, often with M.F.A. degrees in theatre arts.

The 'stage picture' is the 'look' or physical appearance of the stage for a play, whether in rehearsal or performance. It reflects the way that the stage is composed artistically in regard to props, actors, shapes and colours. The stage picture should express good principles of design and use of space. It should be visually appealing for the audience or should express the show's concept. The stage picture is also crucial for the creation of atmosphere for the audience.

The scenic designer is responsible for collaborating with the theatre director and other members of the production design team to create an environment for the production and then communicating the details of this environment to the technical director,(production manager) charge scenic artist and prop master. Scenic designers are responsible for creating scale models of the scenery, renderings, paint elevations and scale construction drawings as part of their communication with other production staff.

In Europe and Australia scenic designers take a more holistic approach to theatrical design and will often be responsible not only for scenic design but costume, lighting and sound and are referred to as theater designers or scenographers or production designers.

Like their American cousins, European theatre designers and scenographers are generally trained with Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre design, scenography or performance design.

Notable scenic designers, past and present, include: Adolphe Appia, Boris Aronson, Howard Bay, Edward Gordon Craig, Luciano Damiani, Ezio Frigerio, Barry Kay, Seán Kenny, Ralph Koltai, Ming Cho Lee, Santo Loquasto, Jo Mielziner, Oliver Smith, Franco Colavecchia, Jean-Pierre Ponelle, Josef Svoboda, George Tsypin, Robert Wilson, Franco Zeffirelli, Natalia Goncharova, Vadim Meller, Aleksandra Ekster, Nathan Altman, David Borovsky, Daniil Lider, Inigo Jones, Alexandre Benois and Léon Bakst.

Systems Design

Systems design is the process or art of defining the architecture, components, modules, interfaces, and data for a system to satisfy specified requirements. One could see it as the application of systems theory to product development. There is some overlap and synergy with the disciplines of systems analysis, systems architecture and systems engineering.

Overview

If the broader topic of product development "blends the perspective of marketing, design, and manufacturing into a single approach to product development, then design is act of taking the marketing information and creating the design of the product to be manufactured. Systems design is therefore the process of defining and developing a systems to satisfy specified requirements of the market or customer. Until the 1990s systems design had a crucial and respected role in the data processing industry. In the 1990s standardization of hardware and software resulted in the ability to build modular systems. The increasing importance of software running on generic platforms has enhanced the discipline of software engineering.

Object-oriented analysis and design methods are becoming the most widely used methods for computer system design. The UML has become the standard language used in Object-oriented analysis and design. It is widely used for modeling software systems and is increasingly used for designing non-software systems and organizations.

Systems Design

  • Requirements analysis:Analyzes the needs of the end users or customers
  • Benchmarking:It is an effort to evaluate how current systems are used
  • Architectural Design:Creates a blueprint for the design with the necessary specifications for the hardware, software, people and data resources. In many cases, multiple architectures are evaluated before one is selected.
  • Design:Designers will produce one or more 'models' of what they see a system eventually looking like, with ideas from the analysis section either used or discarded. A document will be produced with a description of the system, but nothing is specific — they might say 'touchscreen' or 'GUI operating system', but not mention any specific brands;
  • Computer Programming and Debugging: Computer programming and debugging in the software world, or detailed design in the consumer, enterprise or commercial world - specifies the final system components.
  • System Testing:Evaluates the system's actual functionality in relation to expected or intended functionality, including all integration aspects.
Web Design
Web design is a process of conceptualization, planning, modeling, and execution of electronic media content delivery via Internet in the form of Markup language suitable for interpretation by Web browser and display as Graphical user interface (GUI).

The intent of web design is to create a web site -- a collection of electronic files that reside on a web server/servers and present content and interactive features/interfaces to the end user in form of Web pages once requested. Such elements as text, bit-mapped images (GIFs, JPEGs, PNGs), forms can be placed on the page using HTML/XHTML/XML tags. Displaying more complex media (vector graphics, animations, videos, sounds) requires plug-ins such as Flash, QuickTime, Java run-time environment, etc. Plug-ins are also embedded into web page by using HTML/XHTML tags.

Improvements in browsers' compliance with W3C standards prompted a widespread acceptance and usage of XHTML/XML in conjunction with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to position and manipulate web page elements and objects. Latest standards and proposals aim at leading to browsers' ability to deliver a wide variety of media and accessibility options to the client possibly without employing plug-ins.

Typically web pages are classified as static or dynamic.

Static pages don’t change content and layout with every request unless a human (web master/programmer) manually updates the page.

Dynamic pages adapt their content and/or appearance depending on end-user’s input/interaction or changes in the computing environment (user, time, database modifications, etc.) Content can be changed on the client side (end-user's computer) by using client-side scripting languages (JavaScript, JScript, Actionscript, etc.) to alter DOM elements (DHTML). Dynamic content is often compiled on the server utilizing server-side scripting languages (Perl, PHP, ASP, JSP, ColdFusion, etc.). Both approaches are usually used in complex applications.

With growing specialization in the information technology field there is a strong tendency to draw a clear line between web design and web development.
  
History

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, published a website in August 1991.Berners-Lee was the first to combine Internet communication (which had been carrying email and the Usenet for decades) with hypertext (which had also been around for decades, but limited to browsing information stored on a single computer, such as interactive CD-ROM design).

Websites are written in a markup language called HTML, and early versions of HTML were very basic, only giving websites basic structure (headings and paragraphs), and the ability to link using hypertext. This was new and different to existing forms of communication - users could easily navigate to other pages by following hyper links from page to page.

As the Web and web design progressed, the markup language changed to become more complex and flexible, giving the ability to add objects like images and tables to a page. Features like tables, which were originally intended to be used to display tabular information, were soon subverted for use as invisible layout devices. With the advent of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), table-based layout is increasingly regarded as outdated. Database integration technologies such as server-side scripting and design standards like CSS further changed and enhanced the way the Web is made.

Web Site Design
A Web site is a collection of information about a particular topic or subject. Designing a website is defined as the arrangement and creation of Web pages that in turn make up a website. A Web page consists of information for which the Web site is developed. A website might be compared to a book, where each page of the book is a web page.

There are many aspects (design concerns) in this process, and due to the rapid development of the Internet, new aspects may emerge. For typical commercial Web sites, the basic aspects of design are:
  • The Content: The substance, and information on the site should be relevant to the site and should target the area of the public that the website is concerned with.
  • The Usability: The site should be user-friendly, with the interface and navigation simple and reliable.
  • The appearance: The graphics and text should include a single style that flows throughout, to show consistency. The style should be professional, appealing and relevant.
  • The Visibility: The site must also be easy to find via most, if not all, major search engines and advertisement media.
A Web site typically consists of text and images. The first page of a website is known as the Home page or Index. Some websites use what is commonly called a Splash Page. Splash pages might include a welcome message, language/region selection, or disclaimer. Each web page within a Web site is an HTML file which has its own URL. After each Web page is created, they are typically linked together using a navigation menu composed of hyper links. Faster browsing speeds have led to shorter attention spans and more demanding online visitors and this has resulted in less use of Splash Pages, particularly where commercial websites are concerned.

Once a Web site is completed, it must be published or uploaded in order to be viewable to the public over the internet. This may be done using an FTP client. Once published, the Web master may use a variety of techniques to increase the traffic, or hits, that the website receives. This may include submitting the Web site to a search engine such as Google or Yahoo, exchanging links with other Web sites, creating affiliations with similar Web sites, etc.

Multidisciplinary Requirements

Web site design crosses multiple disciplines of information systems, information technology and communication design. The website is an information system whose components are sometimes classified as front-end and back-end. The observable content (e.g page layout, user interface, graphics, text, audio) is known as the front-end. The back-end comprises the organization and efficiency of the source code, invisible scripted functions, and the server-side components that process the output from the front-end. Depending on the size of a Web development project, it may be carried out by a multi-skilled individual (sometimes called a web master), or a project manager may oversee collaborative design between group members with specialized skills.

Issues
As in most collaborative designs, there are conflicts between differing goals and methods of web site designs. These are a few of the ongoing ones.

Lack of Collaboration in Design
In the early stages of the web, there wasn't as much collaboration between web designs and larger advertising campaigns, customer transactions, social networking, intranets and extranets as there is now. Web pages were mainly static online brochures disconnected from the larger projects.

Many web pages are still disconnected from larger projects. Special design considerations are necessary for use within these larger projects. These design considerations are often overlooked, especially in cases where there is a lack of leadership, understanding or concern for the larger project to facilitate collaboration. This often results in unhealthy competition or compromise between departments, and less than optimal use of web pages.

Liquid versus Fixed Layouts

On the web the designer has no control over several factors, including the size of the browser window, the web browser used, the input devices used (mouse, touch screen, voice command, text, cell phone number pad, etc.) and the size and characteristics of available fonts.

Some designers choose to control the appearance of the elements on the screen by using specific width designations. This control may be achieved through the use of a HTML table-based design, or through the use of CSS. Whenever the text, images, and layout of a design do not change as the browser changes, this is referred to as a fixed width design. Proponents of fixed width design prefer the control over the look and feel of the site and the precision placement of objects on the page. Other designers choose a liquid design. A liquid design is one, like Wikipedia, where the design moves to flow content into the whole screen, or a portion of the screen, no matter what the size of the browser window. Proponents of liquid design prefer to use all the screen space available. Liquid design can be achieved through the use of CSS, by avoiding styling the page altogether, or by using HTML tables set to a percentage of the page. Both liquid and fixed design developers must make decisions about how the design should degrade on higher and lower screen resolutions. Sometimes the pragmatic choice is made to flow the design between a minimum and a maximum width. This allows the designer to avoid coding for the browser choices making up the long tail, while still using all available screen space.

Similar to liquid layout is the optional fit to window feature with Adobe Flash content. This is a fixed layout that optimally scales the content of the page without changing the arrangement or text wrapping when the browser is resized.

Flash
Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is a proprietary, robust graphics animation/application development program used to create and deliver dynamic content, media (such as sound and video), and interactive applications over the web via the browser.

Flash is not a standard produced by a vendor-neutral standards organization like most of the core protocols and formats on the Internet. Flash is much more restrictive than the open HTML format, though, requiring a proprietary plugin to be seen, and it does not integrate with most web browser UI features like the "Back" button unless a hyperlink is programmed to link a new html page from the Flash file, in which case the animation of the previous page would reset. However, those restrictions may be irrelevant depending on the goals of the web site design.

According to a study [2], 98% of US Web users have the Flash Player installed , with 45%-56%(depending on region) having the latest version. Numbers vary depending on the detection scheme and research demographics.

Many graphic artists use Flash because it gives them exact control over every part of the design, and anything can be animated and generally "jazzed up". Some application designers enjoy Flash because it lets them create applications that don't have to be refreshed or go to a new web page every time an action occurs. Flash can use embedded fonts instead of the standard fonts installed on most computers. There are many sites which forgo HTML entirely for Flash. Other sites may use Flash content combined with HTML as conservatively as gifs or jpegs would be used, but with smaller vector file sizes and the option of faster loading animations. Flash may also be used to protect content from unauthorized duplication or searching. Alternatively, small, dynamic Flash objects may be used to replace standard HTML elements (such as headers or menu links) with advanced typography not possible via regular HTML/CSS (see Scalable Inman Flash Replacement).

Flash detractors claim that Flash websites tend to be poorly designed, and often use confusing and non-standard user-interfaces. Up until recently, search engines have been unable to index Flash objects, which has prevented sites from having their contents easily found. This is because many search engine crawlers rely on text to index websites. It is possible to specify alternate content to be displayed for browsers that do not support Flash. Using alternate content also helps search engines to understand the page, and can result in much better visibility for the page. However, the vast majority of Flash websites are not disability accessible (for screen readers, for example) or Section 508 compliant. An additional issue is that sites which commonly use alternate content for search engines to their human visitors are usually judged to be spamming search engines and are automatically banned.

The most recent incarnation of Flash's scripting language (called "ActionScript", which is an ECMA language similar to JavaScript) incorporates long-awaited usability features, such as respecting the browser's font size and allowing blind users to use screen readers. Actionscript 2.0 is an Object-Oriented language, allowing the use of CSS, XML, and the design of class-based web applications.

CSS versus Tables
Back when Netscape Navigator 4 dominated the browser market, the popular solution available for designers to lay out a Web page was by using tables. Often even simple designs for a page would require dozens of tables nested in each other. Many web templates in Dreamweaver and other WYSIWYG editors still use this technique today. Navigator 4 didn't support CSS to a useful degree, so it simply wasn't used.

After the browser wars subsided, and the dominant browsers such as Internet Explorer became more W3C compliant, designers started turning toward CSS as an alternate means of laying out their pages. CSS proponents say that tables should be used only for tabular data, not for layout. Using CSS instead of tables also returns HTML to a semantic markup, which helps bots and search engines understand what's going on in a web page. All modern Web browsers support CSS with different degrees of limitations.

However, one of the main points against CSS is that by relying on it exclusively, control is essentially relinquished as each browser has its own quirks which result in a slightly different page display. This is especially a problem as not every browser supports the same subset of CSS rules. For designers who are used to table-based layouts, developing Web sites in CSS often becomes a matter of trying to replicate what can be done with tables, leading some to find CSS design rather cumbersome due to lack of familiarity. For example, at one time it was rather difficult to produce certain design elements, such as vertical positioning, and full-length footers in a design using absolute positions. With the abundance of CSS resources available online today, though, designing with reasonable adherence to standards involves little more than applying CSS 2.1 or CSS 3 to properly structured markup.

These days most modern browsers have solved most of these quirks in CSS rendering and this has made many different CSS layouts possible. However, some people continue to use old browsers, and designers need to keep this in mind, and allow for graceful degrading of pages in older browsers. Most notable among these old browsers are Internet Explorer 5 and 5.5, which, according to some web designers, are becoming the new Netscape Navigator 4 — a block that holds the World Wide Web back from converting to CSS design. However, the W3 Consortium has made CSS in combination with XHTML the standard for web design.

How it Looks vs. How it Works

Some web developers have a graphic arts background and may pay more attention to how a page looks than considering other issues such as how visitors are going to find the page via a search engine. Some might rely more on advertising than search engines to attract visitors to the site. On the other side of the issue, search engine optimization consultants (SEOs) obsess about how well a web site works technically and textually: how much traffic it generates via search engines, and how many sales it makes, assuming looks don't contribute to the sales. As a result, the designers and SEOs often end up in disputes where the designer wants more 'pretty' graphics, and the SEO wants lots of 'ugly' keyword-rich text, bullet lists, and text links. One could argue that this is a false dichotomy due to the possibility that a web design may integrate the two disciplines for a collaborative and synergistic solution. Because some graphics serve communication purposes in addition to aesthetics, how well a site works may depend on the graphic designer's visual communication ideas as well as the SEO considerations.

Another problem when using lots of graphics on a page is that download times can be greatly lengthened, often irritating the user. This has become less of a problem as the internet has evolved with high-speed internet and the use of vector graphics. This is an engineering challenge to increase bandwidth in addition to an artistic challenge to minimize graphics and graphic file sizes. This is an on-going challenge as increased bandwidth invites increased amounts of content.

Accessible Web Design

Accessible Web design is the art of creating webpages that are accessible to everyone, using any device. It is especially important so that people with disabilities - whether due to accident, disease or old age - can access the information in Web pages and be able to navigate through the website.

To be accessible, web pages and sites must conform to certain accessibility principles. These can be grouped into the following main areas:
  • Use semantic markup that provides a meaningful structure to the document (i.e. web page)
  • Semantic markup also refers to semantically organizing the web page structure and publishing web services description accordingly so that they can be recognized by other web services on different web pages. Standards for semantic web are set by IEEE
  • Use a valid markup language that conforms to a published DTD or Schema
  • Provide text equivalents for any non-text components (e.g. images, multimedia)
  • Use hyper links that make sense when read out of context.
  • Don't use frames
  • Use CSS rather than HTML Tables for layout.
  • Author the page so that when the source code is read line-by-line by user agents (such as a screen readers) it remains intelligible. (Using tables for design will often result in information that is not.)
However, W3C permits an exception where tables for layout either make sense when linearized or an alternate version (perhaps linearized) is made available.

Website Planning
Before creating and uploading a website, it is important to take the time to plan exactly what is needed in the website. Thoroughly considering the audience or target market, as well as defining the purpose and deciding what content will be developed are extremely important.

Purpose
It is essential to define the purpose of the website as one of the first steps in the planning process. A purpose statement should show focus based on what the website will accomplish and what the users will get from it. A clearly defined purpose will help the rest of the planning process as the audience is identified and the content of the site is developed. Setting short and long term goals for the website will help make the purpose clear and plan for the future when expansion, modification, and improvement will take place. Also, goal-setting practices and measurable objectives should be identified to track the progress of the site and determine success.

Audience
Defining the audience is a key step in the website planning process. The audience is the group of people who are expected to visit your website – the market being targeted. These people will be viewing the website for a specific reason and it is important to know exactly what they are looking for when they visit the site. A clearly defined purpose or goal of the site as well as an understanding of what visitors want to do/feel when they come to your site will help to identify the target audience. Upon considering who is most likely to need/use the content, a list of characteristics common to the users such as:
  • Audience Characteristics
  • Information Preferences
  • Computer Specifications
  • Web Experience
Taking into account the characteristics of the audience will allow an effective website to be created that will deliver the desired content to the target audience.

Content
Content evaluation and organization requires that the purpose of the website be clearly defined. Collecting a list of the necessary content then organizing it according to the audience's needs is a key step in website planning. In the process of gathering the content being offered, any items that do not support the defined purpose or accomplish target audience objectives should be removed. It is a good idea to test the content and purpose on a focus group and compare the offerings to the audience needs. The next step is to organize the basic information structure by categorizing the content and organizing it according to user needs. Each category should be named with a concise and descriptive title that will become a link on the website. Planning for the site's content ensures that the wants/needs of the target audience and the purpose of the site will be fulfilled.

Compatibility and Restrictions

Because of the market share of modern browsers (depending on your target market), the compatibility of your website with the viewers is restricted. For instance, a website that is designed for the majority of websurfers will be limited to the use of valid XHTML 1.0 Strict or older, Cascading Style Sheets Level 1, and 1024x768 display resolution. This is because Internet Explorer is not fully W3C standards compliant with the modularity of XHTML 1.1 and the majority of CSS beyond 1. A target market of more alternative browser (e.g. Firefox and Opera) users allow for more W3C compliance and thus a greater range of options for a web designer.

Another restriction on webpage design is the use of different Image file formats. The majority of users can support GIF, JPEG, and PNG (with restrictions). Again Internet Explorer is the major restriction here, not fully supporting PNG's advanced transparency features, resulting in the GIF format still being the most widely used graphic file format for transparent images.

Many website incompatibilities go unnoticed by the designer and unreported by the users. The only way to be certain a website will work on a particular platform is to test it on that platform.

Planning Documentation

Documentation is used to visually plan the site while taking into account the purpose, audience and content, to design the site structure, content and interactions that are most suitable for the website. Documentation may be considered a prototype for the website – a model which allows the website layout to be reviewed, resulting in suggested changes, improvements and/or enhancements. This review process increases the likelihood of success of the website.

First, the content is categorized and the information structure is formulated. The information structure is used to develop a document or visual diagram called a site map. This cr

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