We're excited about the latest redesign of the SKDesigns Web site. Below you'll find an overview about this fresh new look and the supporting development behind the scenes.
The Visual Design
SKDesigns Version 5.5 debuted online October 30, 2005. While the design focus continues to be on classic, elegant simplicity that remains clean and uncluttered, we decided on a dramatic new color scheme.
This new Version 5.5 brings a vibrant and rich new color palette and topmast design to our recent Version 5.0's already solid new layout. Some of the inspiration for the new palette came from the rich, elegant, majestic colors SKDesigns' owner experienced years ago at an exhibit of Austria's crown jewels in Vienna, Austria. Based on deep reds, rich blacks, and majestic gold, this new color scheme is a major shift from the past nine years' palettes based on shades of blue.
The SKDesigns header logo design beginning with Version 5.0 changed, now using Adobe Caslon® Regular SC & OsF (Small Caps & Oldstyle Figures). This new font is also used for the deep red page section headings and for the black section titles at the top of the right-side column on each page.
Joe Gillespie's Mini7 pixel font is used for the small “Web Design & Development” in the header for its clarity and sharpness as a small screen font.
The previously used Adobe Caslon® Swash Italic Capitals is still present but it's now used as a hint behind the header and behind the category section titles. It's also used for the page background design. In addition, you'll find the original SKDesigns logo still present at the bottom left of each page within the footer area.
The content area fonts depend on what is available on each user's computer, but they're noted in the style sheets in this order: Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif. The browser will look for them in this order, using the first one it finds.
Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes, the development is based on W3C Recommendations, specifically XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2.1. The SKDesigns Web site also conforms to the WCAG, the W3C's accessibility guidelines.
Why does that matter? Here are just a few reasons:
- This development approach helps ensure that the widest possible range of users can access and easily use the SKDesigns Web site.
- Search engines can index the site easier, too, as a result of using this approach.
- While visitors with the most recent Web browsers will see the best visual design, even older browsers, text-only browsers, alternative devices (i.e., PDAs), and adaptive technologies (i.e., screen readers), can access the entire site.
- Keeping behind-the-scenes markup clean, lean, and minimal reduces file size, which helps pages load faster, reduces bandwidth, and reduces required server space.
- Fast-loading pages means visitors won't leave your site due to not wanting to wait for slow-loading pages.
- Keeping the visual style separate from the content behind the scenes also makes updating and maintenance simpler, too.
While each Web site has unique needs and the details necessarily change, we take a similar overall philosophy and approach for our Web site design clients, too, as a matter of course.
Increasingly more Web sites are required by law to conform to local or government accessibility regulations. SKDesigns believes accessibility is important whether or not it's required by law.
The SKDesigns Web site also takes advantage of server-side technologies to provide helpful efficiency and convenience for the Web site's overall management, maintenance, and changes. Once the design was established, a template could be created to utilize these technologies to centrally serve and customize navigation, headings, and other common page elements. The navigation, for example, is customized for each page, such as highlighting the current section and the current page. Server-side programming is also used to customize the right side column content and images for each section and each page, and much more.
If you click File, then Print Preview in your browser window, you'll see that the print version looks visually different than the screen version.
Why does that matter? The use of CSS to specify styles for print helps provide improved printability for each page, while also eliminating the necessity of creating and maintaining duplicate print-version pages.
After pencil and paper sketches, Adobe Photoshop was used for creating the visual design, all graphic images, retouching photos if needed, and for resampling (resizing) and optimizing photos and images for the Web.
All development behind the scenes was created by hand using TopStyle Pro and validated with CSE HTML Validator and W3C's HTML and CSS validators. This helps to ensure the lean, clean markup based on Web standards.
Questions? Visit our FAQ section for answers to common questions, planning your Web site, and other information. Would you like SKDesigns to create, redesign, or improve your Web site? Contact us today!