About Website Development

It occured to me today that many people probably have no idea what is is that I do for a living. Sure, most people know that I work at a company that does websites, but most people still have no concept of what that involves. So, I thought I’d write about it.
Website Components
There are several peices that go into a website. There’s the design, which is the "look" of the website. For example, this website has mostly gray design, though there are several shades of gray going on. The dark strip at the top that says "evanagee.com" stands out to your eye because it’s darker and because there’s white text on top of it. That’s graphic design.

Web Design
Design is just a fancy word that tends to be used for many different areas, so I’ll try and use a different word that makes a little more sense. I make websites. I choose which colors to combine together to communicate a certain idea or mood. I choose how to place things on the page so that your eyes see the most important items first and the not-so-important items last. I find out what is the best way to arrange a logo the page so the page still flows and doesn’t look blocky or off balance. I design websites. There, does "design" make more sense if I explain it that way?
Most people expect that website development is a very technical profession, when in fact the technical aspect only occupies about 20% of the overall process of building a website. The design process is very much a form of art as anyone that’s ever tried to design something on the computer can tell you. The computer, which is by its nature technical, is the medium/tool, not the end result; just as a web page is a medium for displaying information, it doesn’t stand on its own.
Web-based Applications
The other aspect of website development, which isn’t always necessary, is the programming aspect. I’m not talking about HTML programming, there are many tools that have turned HTML programming into more of an artistic skill. No, I’m talking about web-based applications.
You’re probably thinking that you’ve never heard of web-based applicatioons before, but if you’ve ever bought something online, signed up for a mailing list or even sent an email you’ve used a web-based application. A web-based application is just what is sounds like, it’s a computer program that’s designed to be interacted with and return results on the internet through a web page. When you hear the term "database-backed website", "online application" or "script" what you’re really hearing about are online applications.
Whether you’re visiting a website that’s static (no web-based application involved), or you’re visiting a purely dynamic site (think eBay), one thing’s for sure, there was at one point in time a web designer working on that site. Web designers (should) help make sure that the websites they’re developing are as easy to use as possible. The fact that the links for this site on going down the left-hand column was a design decision that I made at some point.
Hopefully now you have a clearer picture of what it is that I do. If you still aren’t quite sure, feel free to ask me any time, I’d be more than happy to talk to you about it.

Some imagery provided by Unsplash.

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