Examples of poor website design
Overall, I think the design of this website is quite unorganised and hard to understand as lots of information has been crammed into one page. If I was going to improve this webpage, I would separate different items into categories and display them in more of a list or grid-like format with more negative space between each entry.
In my opinion, the design of this website- while better than the previous one as it is organised in a more visually easy to understand layout- is still overcrowded and perhaps uses too many colours that make it look messy and even unprofessional which is not good for a company selling cars. However, the logo and menu bar on the lefthand side is a good design choice as the viewer’s attention is naturally drawn toward the lefthand side first.
Personally, I dislike the layout of this website as I think a webpage should use as much screen space as possible as designers have to show a lot of information while not overcrowding the page and leaving large borders on the side is a waste of this valuable resource.
Examples of good website design
I think this is a good example of web-design as it has lots of negative space, making the important elements such as the logo and tagline jump out more as they are not being overcrowded. The use of a logo as the home button is also a nice feature I would like to include in my own website as I think this gives the website a more professional feel.
Like the last example, this design also has a lot of negative space and uses a logo as a home button, however, the rest of the menu is positioned in the top right corner. This in a way balances the webpage as there is a similar amount of information on both sides of the screen. It is not immediately obvious however that a user has to scroll down to see more of the webpage and although this is an interesting feature that I would like to use in my own design I will have to take care to make this more apparent.
Common locations of elements in web design
The logo is usually in the top left as this is the first place the eye is drawn to when viewing a webpage. Menus tend to be either directly to the right of the logo or on the top righthand side of the page. Content is usually underneath with either a large bold heading or an image.
Origins of the internet / World Wide Web
The predecessor to the current Internet we know was called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), it was initially designed to link computer at Pentagon-funded facilities so that they could share information between them. Although it was funded by ARPA, a branch of the US military department, it was more academically focused than military.
ARPANET was also responsible for the invention of packet switching – the system used to send information across networks. it consists of splitting information into small ‘packets’ that each takes their own route across a network. This allows the network to become more like a web of connected devices than having everything routed through one server or hub.
The transformation from ARPANET to Internet
The early network protocols had many limitations, they could only do three things- Log on to a remote computer or server – NCP (Network control protocol) printing to a remote printer and transferring files between different computers – FTP (File transfer protocol).
As ARPANET became more popular, other networks began to pop up around the world. However, It’s design required too much control and standardization to be able to connect to these new systems. So Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn began considering ways of connecting the Networks together. The system they came up with would eventually be known as TCP/IP (Transmission-Control Protocol/Internet protocol). This protocol would eventually form the basis of the internet we know today.
The term ‘Internet’ became popular around 1983 when TCP/IP came into wide use. ARPANET was split into two parts, MILNET and a civilian version of ARPANET. The word internet was originally an easy way to refer to both of these networks that were ‘Interworking’.
As free and commercial internet services like Prodigy, FidoNet, Usenet, Gopher, and many others rose, and as NSFNET became the backbone of the internet, ARPANET’s relevance diminished – eventually being shut down and decommissioned permanently in 1990.
DNS (Domain Name Servers)
Originally, internet server addresses consisted of numbers called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. As more address nodes popped up, it became more difficult to keep track of them so a system called DNS was developed.
DNS basically maps IP addresses to a more human-readable domain name. A domain name is broken down into different levels. For http://www.google.com, the top level would be com, the middle google, and the subdomain www. This tree hierarchy allows each domain node to specify different subdomains e.g. for mail traffic or FTP traffic.
Tim Berners-Lee and the creation of the World Wide Web
Born in June 1955, Tim was and is a computer scientist from London. From a young age, he was interested in electronics and whilst in college, he made a computer from an old television set.
After graduating from university, he then went on to become a software engineer at CERN. Tim noticed that scientists were having trouble sharing the information they had gathered, and so he realized they could solve this by using the fast-growing Internet and exploiting the developing technology known as Hypertext.
By October 1990, Tim had created three fundamental principles which he insisted must be kept royalty free: HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) and HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), that we still use to this day. He also wrote the first webpage browser/editor WorldWideWeb.app and the first web server HTTPD. From here, the Web exploded, with thousands of web servers popping up all over the Internet.
Initially, users would lookup webpages addresses on dedicated directories. As websites became more popular, it became necessary to have a tool to search and index these sites. One of the first examples of this was created by Matthew Gray. Called Wandex, it was the first indexing tool to ‘crawl’ the web, indexing and searching catalogued pages on the web.
Modern search engines, such as Google and Yahoo use complex algorithms to index and rank web pages based on keywords and network traffic.
Development of Web sites, Web protocols and Web pages
Responsive web design
Responsive web design has emerged as a range different devices and screen sizes become Web-Enabled such as smartphones and tablets. Web-designers will have to take this into consideration when creating web pages so that they work across all if not most resolutions. They can do this by creating ‘break-points’ in a page that will reshuffle and scale the content so that it is still easy to interpret.
web hosting can be broken down into two categories- first party and third party. First party hosting is where you run and maintain a server yourself. This can be quite difficult and requires a decent competence in computers and debugging. Third Party is where someone else hosts and maintains a physical server that you run your website from. usually, a third party host will run many web servers simultaneously for multiple clients using virtual machines running off one physical server.
Apache (HTTP Servers)
HTTP servers are what your browser connects and sends requests to when looking at a website. the server can connect to other server programs, such as SQL or PHP to further modify and customise the final webpage. the default webpage for a server is usually called index.html (or .php depending on what language is being used). Other web pages can then be linked to through this page.
Html is the base level programming language for web pages, consisting of different tags (e.g. <head> <body> <p>) that are used to layout information on a page.
CSS (cascade style sheet) is a programming language that allows the web designer to create classes and tags that an HTML document can use to standardise the design and layout of the website. Without CSS, it would be very difficult and time-consuming to layout a webpage visualy and so many would still be almost completely text-based.
An example of a CSS class:
Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language for accessing and manipulating databases. an example of where this would be used is to store user login details or other variables/information.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a filesharing protocol that allows users to log in to a central or ‘cloud’ server to access files. This can be useful when running a website from a remote location as it allows the client to modify and change it from pretty much anywhere.