Web Design: A Beginner's Guide

Web Design: A Beginner's Guide

by Wendy Willard, Willard


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Essential Skills for First-Time Developers

Learn the basics of Web design from the tutorials and examples in this easy-to-follow, project-based guide. Web design expert Wendy Willard takes you on a tour of the essentials of Web design, from analyzing your needs and planning your site to the nuts and bolts of page development with text, graphics, tables, frames, forms, scripts, and multimedia. You'll also learn Web authoring technologies like JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), HTML/XHTML, and more. If you want to get started creating effective and efficient Web sites right away, this is the ideal self-paced learning tool for you.

This Beginner's Guide is Designed for Easy Learning:

  • Modules--Each programming concept is divided into logical modules (chapters), ideal for individualized learning
  • Goals--Each module opens with the specific programming skills you'll have by the end of the module
  • Ask the Experts--Q&A sections throughout are filled with extra information and interesting commentary
  • 1-Minute Drills--Quick self-assessment sections to check your progress
  • Annotated Syntax--Example code annotated with commentary that points to the particular technique illustrated
  • Projects--Exercises contained in each module show how to apply what you are learning
  • Mastery Checks--End-of-module reviews that test your knowledge using short-answer, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and simple coding questions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780072133905
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 06/01/2001
Series: Beginner's Guides Series
Pages: 557
Product dimensions: 7.42(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.24(d)

About the Author

Wendy Willard is founder and owner of WILLARDESIGNS, specializing in cutting-edge Web-based design and development for businesses of all types and sizes, as well as education and consulting about web-related concepts. She holds a degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Wendy teaches and lectures on Web design and development throughout the U.S., and is the author of HTML: A Beginner's Guide (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 2001). Wendy's passions include all aspects of digital design, drawing, painting and photographing Maine, Chop Point School & Camp (as you'll discover, reading this book) and anything related to the Web. She lives and works in Dresden, Maine with her husband, Wyeth, and daughter, Corinna.

Read an Excerpt

Module 1: Understanding the Medium

Web design. That simple phrase can mean so many things to so many different people. To a system administrator who's just been given the task of creating a new company intranet, it's probably a headache. To a high school junior considering her future, it may be a dream job.

So, how can anyone expect to write a single book professing to be the beginner's guide and still have the book fit on a normal bookshelf? Well, not easily, that's for sure. This book is meant to be an introduction into the typical process of what it takes to design a section of content to be viewed on the Web (a.k.a. Web design). The process itself, however, and nearly everything related to Web design, is in a constant state of flux. In fact, some people refer to this process as shooting an arrow (or, perhaps, many arrows?) at a moving target.

This means you, as the Web designer, must keep current on the ever-changing aspects of the Web, to aim those arrows best. Over the course of 11 chapters, I give you a solid foundation in the tools, technologies, and concepts needed to begin designing Web pages-and Web pages that not only look good, but that work.

The Anatomy of a Web Site

In preparing to design for the Web, let's first consider the structure and anatomy of a basic Web site. When you visit a page or site on the Web, you do so by accessing a Web address, formally known as a URL.

Some of the information in Module 1 is also discussed in my first book, HTML: A Beginner's Guide (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, November 2000). This is provided here as a reminder for those of you who are already familiar with it and to make sure we're all on the same page regarding this important background information.


A uniform resource locator, also referenced by its acronym URL (pronounced either by the letters U-R-L or as a single word, "url," which rhymes with "girl"), is like a Web site's street address on the Internet.

Ask the Expert

Question: I've heard the term "The World Wide Web" used so many times, but I'm a little confused about what it actually means and how it relates to the Internet.

Answer: The World Wide Web (YAW or the Web) is often confused with the Internet. While the precursor to the Internet was originally created during the Cold War as a way to link sections of the country together during an emergency, the actual term "Internet" wasn't used until the early 1970s. At that time, academic research institutions developed the Internet to create better communicate and to share resources. Later, universities and research facilities throughout the world used the Internet. In the early 1990s, Tim Berners-Lee created a set of technologies that allowed information on the Internet to be linked together through the use of links, or connections, in documents. The language component of these technologies is Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). A good source of information on the history of the Internet is available at www.isoc.org/intemet-history.

The Web was mostly text based until Marc Andreeson created the first graphical Web browser in 1993, called Mosaic. This paved the way for video, sound, and photos on the Web.

As a large group of interconnected computers all over the world, the Internet comprises not only the Web, but also things like newsgroups (online bulletin boards) and e-mail. Many people think of the Web as the graphical or illustrated part of the Internet.

If you haven't heard a Web address referred to as a URL, you've probably seen once-URLs start with http://, and they usually end with a three-letter extensions (although a few newer extensions can be longer). Some common extensions include .com (used for commercial entities), .org (for nonprofit organizations), .edu (for educational institutions), and .net (for other Internet-related businesses). Just as every house must have a street address to receive visitors, so must every Web site have a URL. An example URL is http://www.yahoo.com.

The newest types of domain extensions include .tv (for media-related sites), .biz, and .info. For more information, visit www.networksolutions.com.

The following illustration shows another example of a URL, as it appears in a Netscape browser....

...One part of a URL is the domain name, which helps identify and locate computers on the Internet. To avoid confusion, each domain name is unique. You can think of the domain name as a label or a shortcut. Behind that shortcut is a series of numbers, called an IP Address, which gives the specific address of where the site you're looking for is located on the Internet. Here's an analogy: if the domain name is the word "Emergency" written next to the first aid symbol on your speed dial, the IP Address is 9-1-1.

Hint Although many URLs begin with "www," this isn't a necessity. Originally used to denote "World Wide Web" in the URL, www has caught on as common practice. The characters before the first period in the URL aren't part of the registered domain and they can be almost anything. In fact, many businesses use this part of the URL to differentiate between various departments within the company. For example, the GO Network includes ABC, ESPN, and Disney, to name a few. Each of these are departments of go.com: abc.go.com, espn.go.com, and disney.go.com.

Businesses typically register domain names ending in a .com that are similar to their business or product name. Domain registration is like renting office space...

Table of Contents


Part 1: Preparing for Web Development
1: Understanding the Medium ..... 3
2: Analysis and Planning ..... 55

Part 2: Design and Production
3: Page Design ..... 101
4: Preparing Content for the Web ..... 151
5: Still Graphics Production ..... 217
6: Beyond Still Graphics ..... 251

Part 3: Integration and Testing
7: Coding the Page Structure ..... 287
8: Formatting Text Content ..... 335
9: Graphics and Multimedia ..... 371
10: Interactive Elements ..... 407
11: Testing and Deployment ..... 453

Appendix A: Answers to Mastery Checks ..... 485
Appendix B: HTML 4 Reference Table ..... 495
Appendix C: Special Characters ..... 517
Appendix D: Cascading Style Sheets Reference ..... 519
Appendix E: Locating Stock Media, Software, Scripts, and Code ..... 537

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