I am a Ruby on Rails developer and so far have each page displaying the data I want it to. But changing the look and feel of a page is a process of editing the html and css by hand.

Is this the way that most web developers go about this? Or are there a set of tools that people use to create their sites look?

Any advice would be appreciated.


3 answers


Great question. Doctype should allow us to vote up questions as well as answers.

Personally, I like to start with pen and paper. I draw out several pages to get a feel for what I want them to look like and how the general layout will feel.

Then I do a mock up in Illustrator or Photoshop. I use color generators and design rules to help the process. Illustrator really lets me see how the site will look. Then I cut up the graphics I will need straight out of Illustrator or Photoshop and hit the XHTML and CSS by hand using the mock up as a reference.

I do not use Dreamweaver or any other WYSIWYG editor. Everything must be placed carefully and by hand. And for Pete's sake, no table-based layouts.

I would also note that I often look at CSS showcases online for inspiration. I understand that a lot of designers think this is cheating, but I find that it really helps get the creative juices flowing for me. I take certain aspects from others' designs, not verbatim copies. I make them my own.

Answered almost 10 years ago by Abinadi Ayerdis
  • CSS galleries are a great source of inspiration and as opposed to just ripping off a design they can give you a good idea of strong use of colour, sensible layout and effective UI. You can be inspired by these things without it being considered ripping off a site. Great answer, explains the whole process well +1 danwellman almost 10 years ago
  • +1 for hand-edited HTML+CSS. Doug almost 10 years ago

If you are really a Rails dev and not so much a designer, and you have a budget, asking for expert help on this can really speed things up.

If you do want to try making your own images, HTML and CSS, I always start out designing on a whiteboard - draw away, wipe the drawings/ideas you don't like and take a picture of the things you do like.

Answered almost 10 years ago by Wander Nauta
  • You make a good point, Wander, there are experts. Web design is a craft. It takes study and discipline to learn. It is worth taking the time to learn how to do it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. +1 Abinadi Ayerdis almost 10 years ago

best way is to read some articles on design and usabilty to get an idea!

Answered almost 10 years ago by Designchowk