Jacci Howard Bear (1997) defines website design as a form of electronic publishing. Website design involves arrangement of a website page or several website pages to give an aesthetic feel and most importantly enable navigation processes. Website design entails use of graphics, animation, navigation tools, content creation, color, and HTML authoring and ecommerce development. For the most recommendable software, we will look at many to choose one.
Web Design Tools
Website design is accomplished by the help of web design tools. Some of these tools include: Adobe Fireworks, Firebug, Photoshop, Coda, Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression (Jacci Howard Bear par 7). Firebug is cheap since it is free, open source software (Jacci Howard Bear par 7). It is a web design development tool for Mozilla Firefox web browser. The firebug has features such as Intuitive Document Inspection tool (for helping in keeping track of how pages relate to one another), console for logging, HTML and CSS editors.
Adobe Fireworks is a hybrid from Adobe which can work on both windows and Mac platforms. This web design tools is tailored to suit professional designers, which is quite enjoyable to use. It has HML and CSS capability and creation of PDFs using this software is easy (Jacci Howard Bear par 8). Dreamweaver, hybrid from Adobe is tailored specifically for commercial purposes and works on Both Mac and Windows Operating Systems. It has several tools which include: code hint, syntax highlight, built in FTP client, work flow and project management options (Lisa Lopuck 16).
Panic Coda is also web development software for both Mac and Windows operating systems. It is shareware software and uses fewer amounts of applications such as CSS editor. It is simple and uses a tabbed interface for file transfers or text editing (Jacob Gube par 8). Photoshop is designed specifically for photographers and graphics designers. Its use is in web graphics creation and incorporates features such as filters, layer comps, revert brushes, actions and scripting (Jacob Gube par 8). Microsoft Expression is a design tool developed by Microsoft. It was designed recently from scratch and incorporates the most recent technology. It is more of a further development of the earlier version of front page that was made specifically for people who had little knowledge on web design (Matthew David par 11). Therefore, the software I would recommend is Microsoft Expression over Dreamweaver. The strengths and weaknesses of the two softwares are as outlined below.
Many professional web builders use Dreamweaver to build their websites, thus it allows mind share between the various designers. The software has also an interactive surface which helps a designer to seek solutions. It has a host of tools which enables quick design and integrates Firefox web tool. It also has code referencing which enables creation of complex websites easily and quickly (Vishalseafarer 2010). Content display in Microsoft expression is clear and correctly displayed. It also gives easy support for CSS and thus one does not need to take an extra course to get accustomed to this feature. The software also supports other web design tools such as Dreamweaver and Visual Studio. One can pop in and out of Microsoft Expression without affecting the code (Digital Media Designer 11). It is also not very complex and thus both the professionals and dummies can use it. The purchase of the software is cheap compared to Dreamweaver (Vishalseafarer 12).
Dreamweaver is specifically made for professionals and it will be difficult for a dummy to handle it. The software is comparatively expensive compared To Microsoft Expression and other softwares which are freeware. It has a weak server support especially for PHP and ASP.NET 2.0.
Microsoft Expression has not been received very well in the market as people view it as an extension of Front Page which went crushing out of the market. The software also cannot be run on platforms such as Mac; It is meant to run on Windows platforms only and supports only server ASP.NET excluding PHP and JSP.
Microsoft expression is cheap as compared to Dreamweaver and is easy to use and learn. I would therefore recommend that it be put into use considering that it is tailored for both professionals and dummies.