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In this course, author James Fritz shows how to create HTML-based websites with Muse—a toolset familiar to anyone who has used Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator. The course covers the design process from start to finish, from setting up web pages and populating them with graphics and text, to creating dynamic menus and adding special features such as widgets, slideshows, animations, embedded video, social media integration, and more. James also explains how to create an alternate layout for display on mobile devices, publish and update your site, and view analytics on web traffic.
Before we get into how to use Muse, let's step back and take a high-level look at the difference between Print and Web Design. Since Muse is designed for people who are familiar with Print, it is important to talk about some fundamental shifts and thinking that will help you with your transition to designing for the web. The hardest part about the Transition between Print and Web Design is learning to give up control. When it comes to Print, you have complete control over everything. We can decide what fonts we want to use, pictures, where everything is going to be, and how it's going to look.
How it looks on screen is how it should look when it's printed out. In fact, if it didn't, that would be a problem with the printer, and we might even have to reprint our job. On the other hand, with the web we have very limited control. We can set the initial appearance of things but the end user can override them. So we have to learn the differences between Print and Web to make designing for the web easier. Let's take a look at some categories so we can learn the differences between designing for Print and the Web. The first one up is Text. When it comes to designing for Print, we can set the font, the size, and the line breaks.
In fact, we'll spend a very long time making sure there's no hyphens, and we don't have any rivers showing up. However, when it comes to the web, we can set an initial appearance, but the end user can override this. So if you decide that you want to use the font Times but the end user wants to use Garamond or even Comic Sans, they can change that and there is nothing you can do about that. For color, when we're working with Print, primarily it's going to be CMYK and Spot, but on the web we're going to be using RGB Color Space and Hexadecimal numbers to signify exactly which color that we what to use.
Now for Print, we're kind of used to that, and we know that there are some limitations that we can't show super bright colors, but on the web we actually have a lot more color to play with. So in one sense I prefer to work for the web with Color because it's easier and there are more options. When designing around Page Size for Print, sometimes we can set it and forget it. That means if I'm going to design a brochure, and it's going to be 8.5 by 11, I know it's going to be 8.5 by 11, and I can design it that way. Now granted, if the client comes and changes their mind, I will have to update my design, but I know that when I'd sent to the printer it's going to come back as 8.5 by 11.
It's not going to become 11 by 17 or some other size. It's the way that it was in the beginning, all the way to the end. On the web, it's a little different experience. There really is no real size. Sure, we can set a size such as 960 pixels wide, but each page of that site could be a different height. One page could be 500 pixels, another 1000, another 10,000, if there is a lot of content. So there really isn't a specific size, plus there is different browsers that render it a different way. I might be reading a web page on my smart phone or tablet or even on a 30-inch monitor and each of those will display it in a different way.
When it comes to Navigation, for Print we use page numbers, sections, and maybe even some tabs. But you don't really need to have that much because the end user can just use their fingers to turn between the pages and flip around to get where they want. On the web we have to set up menus and hyperlinks, because if you don't do that, there is no way to move between the pages other than manually typing in a name of another page, and they probably wouldn't even know what that is. There is also a very strong usability factor involved, because if you put your menu at a wrong spot or a very difficult place to read, it will be very hard for them to move around your web page, where with Print they could just move between the pages whenever they see fit.
For Document Construction with Print, sometimes the ends can justify the means. What I mean by that is in a perfect world we would all design or print documents with master pages, paragraph, and character styles, and layers the best way possible. But sometimes when you just don't have enough time to work the correct way you can just put something together, and if it prints out okay, so be it, it will look good and the end user won't even know how it was built. On the other hand, with the web this is very, very important. If you don't build a web page correctly, there'll be a big usability problem because users might not be able to get to the page in the right way, the page might load slower and the whole SEO factor--which stands for Search Engine Optimization.
If you don't build your page correctly, it will be invisible to a search engine and nobody will be able to find it. When working with File Size in Print, it's mostly irrelevant. What that means is I could use a multilayered, multi-gigabyte PSD file if I wanted to in a Print document, because when I end up making a PDF or printing it, any excess information will be disregarded, and it doesn't matter. However, on the web this is of huge importance. It's going to always be a balance between Quality and File Size.
If you want your images to look good, they are going to be larger, but it will take longer to download. If you want your page to load faster, you'd have to have your file size smaller, but then the images won't look as good. There is a delicate balance between the two that you're going to have to learn. When it comes to Accessibility, there isn't that much we can do with Print unless we're talking about PDFs or EPUBs. However, one thing we should keep in mind is try to keep the font sizes larger instead of focusing on super small sizes. For people with visual impairments, it can be hard to read fonts that are smaller.
For the web, accessibility is huge. It's important for SEO and for people with visual impairments. We can help improve this by adding tags, alternate text, and other information to help people process this information. When you're finished with your document and you are ready to test or troubleshoot, with Print it's fairly straightforward. We need to check the PDF and maybe a proof of the printer for color shifts. If everything looks good, we're done. On the other hand, with the web this can be very painful and sometimes takes even longer than the design process.
You need to test your website in various browsers and OSs for compatibility problems. Even though print and web design are different mediums, the end result is the same. You need to establish a clear message to your customer in an appealing way. While the techniques that you will employ to reach this result may be different, the end result should be the same: a great design.
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