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CSS: Page Layouts
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Page design tools


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CSS: Page Layouts

with James Williamson

Video: Page design tools

As I mentioned earlier, most web designers spend a tremendous amount of time planning and designing sites before they ever write their first line of code. As such, it's essential that you have a strong set of tools to help you with the design process. With that in mind, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the tools that I use in my own design workflow and how they might be useful in your own. First I recommend getting a good sketchbook. Every one of my sites starts with a series of sketches. This allows me to get ideas down quickly, in a nonpermanent way, and I can take notes, write down measurements, and work through problems before I ever start creating digitally.
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  1. 4m 20s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      3m 26s
  2. 1h 39m
    1. Box model review
      8m 47s
    2. Calculating element dimensions
      11m 11s
    3. Understanding margin collapse
      7m 59s
    4. Calculating em values
      7m 41s
    5. Calculating percentage values
      7m 51s
    6. Normal document flow
      13m 3s
    7. Controlling element display
      8m 53s
    8. Using CSS Resets
      7m 11s
    9. Fixed, fluid, and responsive layouts
      9m 9s
    10. CSS debugging tools
      6m 46s
    11. Using the Firebug Inspector and the WebKit Web Inspector
      11m 5s
  3. 53m 15s
    1. Page design workflow
      3m 6s
    2. Page design tools
      4m 56s
    3. Determining page structure
      7m 18s
    4. Creating image assets
      8m 58s
    5. Creating initial page structure
      7m 3s
    6. Adding meaning with classes and IDs
      5m 23s
    7. Structuring content with HTML5
      6m 6s
    8. Building internal structure
      10m 25s
  4. 1h 36m
    1. Floating elements
      7m 50s
    2. Clearing floats
      7m 28s
    3. Containing floats
      7m 50s
    4. Clearfix technique
      10m 38s
    5. Floating inline elements
      14m 34s
    6. Two-column floated layouts
      8m 17s
    7. Three-column floated layouts
      11m 30s
    8. Column height considerations
      7m 3s
    9. Creating equal-height columns
      10m 42s
    10. Floats: Lab
      5m 25s
    11. Floats: Solution
      5m 21s
  5. 51m 42s
    1. Relative positioning
      7m 59s
    2. Absolute positioning
      8m 59s
    3. Fixed positioning
      4m 23s
    4. Controlling stacking order
      8m 31s
    5. Clipping content
      8m 21s
    6. Controlling content overflow
      5m 38s
    7. Positioning elements: Lab
      3m 59s
    8. Positioning elements: Solution
      3m 52s
  6. 48m 46s
    1. Design considerations for fixed layouts
      3m 28s
    2. Establishing the layout grid
      7m 57s
    3. Defining column spacing
      9m 30s
    4. Applying the grid through CSS
      8m 56s
    5. Creating grid-based assets
      8m 26s
    6. Grid design resources
      6m 22s
    7. Building fixed layouts: Lab
      4m 7s
  7. 44m 35s
    1. Designing for flexible layouts
      2m 30s
    2. Calculating percentage values
      8m 45s
    3. Setting flexible width values
      6m 6s
    4. Making images flexible
      8m 10s
    5. Setting minimum and maximum widths
      7m 24s
    6. Building flexible layouts: Lab
      4m 53s
    7. Building flexible layouts: Solution
      6m 47s
  8. 49m 36s
    1. Responsive layout overview
      3m 49s
    2. Using media queries
      7m 16s
    3. Organizing styles
      8m 39s
    4. Making content responsive
      8m 33s
    5. Mobile design considerations
      7m 32s
    6. Building responsive layouts: Lab
      4m 23s
    7. Building responsive layouts: Solution
      9m 24s
  9. 1h 22m
    1. Creating multi-column text
      6m 36s
    2. Using borders to enhance design
      13m 59s
    3. Rounding corners
      6m 56s
    4. Adding drop shadows
      10m 35s
    5. Working with opacity
      6m 8s
    6. Utilizing the background property
      15m 5s
    7. Working with CSS sprites
      7m 58s
    8. Enhancing page design: Lab
      6m 22s
    9. Enhancing page design: Solution
      8m 38s
  10. 6m 25s
    1. Additional resources
      6m 25s

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CSS: Page Layouts
8h 57m Beginner Feb 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

CSS: Page Layouts introduces basic layout concepts, gives advice on how to create properly structured HTML based on prototypes and mockups, and goes into critical page layout skills such as floats and positioning. Author James Williamson shows how to combine these techniques to create fixed, fluid, and responsive layouts. Designers are also shown how to enhance their pages through the creative use of CSS techniques like multi-column text, opacity, and the background property. Exercise files are included with this course.

Topics include:
  • Reviewing the box model
  • Calculating em and percentage values
  • Controlling how elements display
  • Creating fixed, fluid, and responsive layouts
  • Structuring content with HTML5
  • Floating elements
  • Using relative, absolute, or fixed positioning
  • Defining column spacing
  • Creating grid-based assets and layouts
  • Considering mobile-design-specific issues
  • Working with multi-column text
  • Enhancing page design CSS Sprites
Subjects:
Web Web Design
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Page design tools

As I mentioned earlier, most web designers spend a tremendous amount of time planning and designing sites before they ever write their first line of code. As such, it's essential that you have a strong set of tools to help you with the design process. With that in mind, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the tools that I use in my own design workflow and how they might be useful in your own. First I recommend getting a good sketchbook. Every one of my sites starts with a series of sketches. This allows me to get ideas down quickly, in a nonpermanent way, and I can take notes, write down measurements, and work through problems before I ever start creating digitally.

In fact, I love working in sketchbooks so much that I continue to sketch things out and make notes throughout the entire design process. Next, I want to point out a few online tools that I use. First up, I want to show you Typetester. Now Typetester allows you to compare up to three different fonts to each other, and what's really nice about this is the list of fonts that you can choose from. You can choose from the safe list, which is essentially fonts that are on every single machine out there. You have your Windows defaults, your Mac defaults, and even they go down into Windows Vista and Google Fonts. So if you're thinking about using the Google Fonts API, you can test out some of their fonts directly here.

So when you choose some fonts, after choosing some fonts to compare to one another, you can come in and change their size. You can change the tracking, the leading, the word spacing, colors. You can change the text that they display. This is a great way of comparing fonts side by side or even seeing how well certain fonts work together. Another online tool I use a lot is Adobe's Kuler. You can find this at Kuler and that's with K-U-L-E-R, kuler.adobe.com. Now picking a color scheme is one of the most important steps in web design, and Kuler really helps take a lot of the guesswork out of it, especially if you're really bad with color like I am. So let me show you kind of how this works.

Number one, a lot of people are members here, and they'll upload their themes and they'll play around with themes, so lot of times you can just kind of go through these themes that they have here and choose one of those and kind of use that as a starting point. Now you can also sort of mix and match your own. So if I click right here to toggle the color viewer on, notice that I can begin to move these around. So I can move different colors around. I can mix up my own colors. I could even say, okay, I want this to be the base color, and let's use complementary colors. And then you can sort of move these around as well, and the relationship between those colors remains the same.

Now once you do that, you can go down here and tweak these colors individually using the sliders, and you can grab the HSV, RGB, CMYK, LAB, and even the HEX value to use in your own sites. Now you are limited to five colors at a time, but of course you can pick a color and then continue to sort of build off of that to build a much bigger color palette out of that. So a huge fan of Adobe's Kuler, and it's a free service, so that's really nice. Now as far as Desktop tools go, I use a combination of three applications when designing page mockups. Now some designers prefer to design directly within the browser, but I really like to generate fairly detailed mockups before I begin writing code.

To do this, I use Adobe's Photoshop, Illustrator, or Fireworks. Depending upon the project, I may only use a single program or some combination of the three. Now typically, I use Illustrator when the layout calls for heavy use of vector artwork, icon creation, or, like you are seeing here, when I need to design a responsive layout that's going to have several different views based on the size of the screen or the device that's being used. I use Photoshop for all bitmap graphics, photographs, or mockups that make heavy use of image composition.

If I need to create a prototype, especially one that allows clients to preview interactivity and usability, I'll use Fireworks, as it has a lot of different built-in prototyping features. Now speaking of mockups, the one question I get asked over and over again is how do I go from my mockups to finished code? Well, currently there is no export option from any program that creates acceptable code, so if you're looking for that feature, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it simply does not exist. Now what I do, and the process that we're going to be exploring for the rest of this chapter, is use the mockup to help me plan my initial page structure and generate assets by exporting out graphics and other page content.

Of course everyone's design process is different, and the tools and processes that work for me might not be a great fit for you. If you're a graphic designer, you might already have a tool set that you use that you're very comfortable with and maybe it's a little different than mine, but it allows you to be just as productive. That's fine. I encourage you to use what works for you. Just think of this as an introduction into a specific workflow. Take from it what you think will work for you and then modify it for the specific projects or strengths that you possess.

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