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A web site is just a web site unless it’s designed with a unique style. Creating a CSS Style Guide: Hands-On Training highlights the importance of a CSS style guide, which serves as an interface for the design team and a communication tool for the client. Laurie Burruss calls on her background as director of digital media at Pasadena City College and takes an informative, real–world approach to this topic. She shows how Dreamweaver CS4 can be used to develop a coherent site–wide emotion that boosts brand identity. The course culminates with building a working web style guide for professional use. Exercise files and a downloadable PDF quiz accompany the course.
Download the exercise files from the Exercise Files tab.
We have marked up all the parts of our page, but we haven't done one of the most fun and most interesting things that is unique to web pages, that they link to other places, that there's interactivity. So let's take a look at how to add interactivity to our website by creating links. At the top of the page I have created a simple text navigation bar. It's really easy to use. It's really easy to create. They are used frequently within web pages and often seen at the bottom of the web pages as a way for people navigating to jump around through the website without having to scroll back up to the top.
How did I do this? For each section of your web page, you put a text name, space, then type a pipe. The Pipe key is essentially found below your Delete key on your keyboard. If you hold down your Shift key plus your backward slash key that will create the pipe. So let's go through this just one more time. Here is your section name, pipe key, section name. You can do this all the way across the top of your page or at the bottom of your page and quickly create a text navigation bar. We will style this later on with style shades, but it's familiar to your user, easy to use, easy to understand how it works.
Currently we can tell by just looking at the text navigation bar that it isn't working. We don't see any of the clues that make us think that it is a hypertext link to something else. How do we create that? Select the name Link1 and let's go down to the Property Inspector and at the bottom we will see there is a link followed by a text box. Put your I-beam inside that text box and this must be done exactly as I say. There are no shortcuts, no easy way around this. You need to put the complete URL locater address.
It typically starts with http, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, and follow it with a colon, not a semi-colon, \\www. firefox.com. Tab out and as soon as you tab out of the box, if you look back up at the top of your document window, you will see that now the physical attributes make you think it's a link.
It's dark blue and it's underlined. Let's see how this looks in code. We will click on our Code button. Go up there. Wherever your anchor tags, which is what a link tag is called, are, they will be in green. They are easy to spot inside of Dreamweaver because of this color-coding. I'm going to select this tag right here. You can see it wraps around the word, but the actual reference to the website that we want to jump to is inside an attribute called href. This stands for Hypertext Reference.
Remember we don't embed things inside the web page; we link to things inside the web page. Now if you saw that you made a mistake or you had typed this incorrectly, for instance, my boss says to me, 'Laurie, I don't want you to use Firefox as an example. They are a proprietary company. Could you use the W3 organization instead?' I can easily change this inside of Code view by simply coming in here, selecting Firefox.com and typing w3 dot, remember dot, not comma, org.
If I click on my Refresh button, that automatically will update that code and now the link will go there. Let's go back to Design view and let's test this link in a browser to see how this works. One of the things that interactivity is the best place to test it is in the browser if you really want to simulate what your user experience is going to be like, you are going to do it in the browser just like the user would be doing it. We will come over to this button that looks like the world and preview it in Firefox. In order to preview a web page in a browser, you need to save your document. So let's go ahead and save. That takes us right out to Firefox, there is our page, looking good. Let's click on that link.
Well that's great, the link works. It jumped us right to the World Wide Web Consortium. However, there is one thing wrong. We jumped right out of our own website. We can't see it, we can't find it. Now of course, we could click on the Go back one page button, but that's not really an intuitive way nor a visual way for our users to go back and forth through pages. They are expecting to stay within a website but to link to many, many places and still be able to go right back to where they are. So let's see if we can fix that inside of Dreamweaver. Let's click on Dreamweaver and let's look at that link. Down at the bottom in our Property Inspector, we can see there is something called Target. Insert your I-beam inside of there and we can make it open in a new window or a new tab by clicking on the _blank selection. Let's save this. Let's see how that affected our code. You have a new attribute called target_blank. Let's go back to Design view and now let's preview that in our browser. Click on that link.
Terrific! Notice it opens up in a new tab. We can tab back to my site, go out to the World Wide Web, close the World Wide Web and still be in the site that I created. This is the user expectation currently. They have gotten very sophisticated about browsing. Users are expecting these kinds of usability features. They don't want to get lost, they don't want to be confused and they don't want to be disoriented. Let's close Firefox, go back into Dreamweaver and let's set up a couple of more links. Let's practice that one more time. Let's double click on Link2, go down to the Link text box at the bottom in the Property Inspector, let's type on http://www.google.com, tab.
As soon as we tab, our I-beam moves over to the target area and we will select link. Let's check that in code to make sure that we have done the right things. Let's find that link right here. I'm going to select the whole link so you can see it. So there is the link, wrapped properly with the anchor tag, the anchor tag takes us to a location and pins to a place. There is my reference to the URL and there is my target to open in a new window or in a new tab. Let's go back to Design view.
So we have Link5 selected in our Design view and you can see that we still have our A tag or anchor tag wrapping that. There is our link that the user will see and here is our reference to the hash mark, right here. So it appears just like the URL would. It must be inside these quotation marks, any attribute must be inside quotation marks if you are working with HTML as we are. Let's click back on the Design view. Do one more Command+Save, click on Preview in browser inside of Firefox and let's look at how these links behave inside the browser.
If I hover over Link3 and you look at the Status bar at the bottom of the browser window, you will see that it simply shows the web page that we are in, followed by a hash mark. I can click on it to see that the link works and get the user experience, but I don't jump anywhere. So this is a great tool for designers and developers to prototype something and to test something out, but not worry about knowing all the names because a lot of this work gets done as you are in process working with the client. Each one of the links 3, 4 and 5 work the same way and remember our first two links actually take us out to real locations. Let's close Firefox and click back into Dreamweaver.
There is one link I haven't shown you which is how to link internally to another page within a website. We will eventually get around to that kind of information, but since this is a one page website, it doesn't really make sense to show you how that would work because we have no place to link internally. Let's scroll down to the bottom of the page and there is one more link I want to show you, how to do E-mail links. I have put a little visual prompt, which is put your e-mail in there, Laurie, and I'm going to select my name at Mydesigns.com.
This is the proper way to write an e -mail address. This is just a dummy placeholder for what we are demonstrating in this project. I'm going to select this text, copy it, go down to the link area and paste it. It's still not correct. I must use the correct protocol or addressing. So I'm going to place my I-beam in front of the e-mail address and type mailto followed by a colon. As soon as I type "mailto" followed by a colon, the browser will recognize this as being an e-mail address and not a link to a website or to an internal HTML page.
Go ahead and click tab. In this case it doesn't matter about target because we are not opening up a website inside of a browser. We are going to open up an e-mail mail client hopefully. Let's save this. But before we go, let's check this out in Code. So again, it has the A tag. You are seeing the versatility of the A tag or the anchor tag, but in the href area, inside the quotation marks we now have mailto followed by an e-mail address. Go back to Design view, save your document one more time, preview it in the browser in Firefox, scroll to the bottom. Let's click on this.
We have learned that the link must be typed absolutely specifically correctly in order to work. So now our pages can really have some zip and fun and go all over the universe and take the full benefits of what it means to create websites on the World Wide Web.
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