One of my immediate goals is to learn how to be a better web site designer so I can stop making excuses when a client seems to be more interested in a fancy web site design rather than the web application work I usually do. Of course, I don’t really need to bother because I have plenty of work already and I’m not likely to go begging for design work. But it would satisfy my creative side if I could create fancy web sites.I’m probably not that far off from this goal. I already know CSS and XHTML which makes it possible to easily apply a design to a site. It is considered to be the more professional approach to web site design. The old way of doing things was to create a web page entirely in Photoshop as one huge image and then slice and dice it into a mess of nested tables and numbered graphic files. You were pretty much stuck with that design because the table layout was determined by the page image and the graphics where like puzzle pieces. You could not replace a puzzle piece without messing up the image.
I think there are just a few tricks I still need to learn. First, I need to learn how create different textures. A popular style is to make the page background image a pattern with a faded color to give it a different texture than the page content. The idea is to draw attention away from the background. This can be done smartly with diagonal stripes and a gradient or it can be done very badly to look like hideous wallpaper.
I also need to figure out how to apply a color scheme. It is easy to find a color scheme because there are web applications to generate them from complementary colors but there are no guidelines for how to apply the color scheme. Gradients and drop shadows are also easy enough to create but you need to know how to use them judiciously.