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Website Design templates: A web designer’s secret weapon
By: Stefan Mischook
Website templates (web design templates) can be an excellent tool when building a new website; a tool that can speed up the production schedule, improve the quality of the final website and just make the whole process of building a website much easier.
A fast way to build quality web sites
Now that the web has matured, the experts have discovered what works and what doesn't work when it comes to web site design. Out of this experience come web templates, web site designs that have been tried and tested. Like with building a house, there is no longer a need to reinvent the wheel with every project - today you can select a web design template and get it online fast!
Don't reinvent the wheel!
As a software architect and programmer, I can tell you that a core rule in that field is to not reinvent the wheel. This basically means is that if someone else has built it already, you should use it! You are wasting your time and money trying to recreate things from scratch.
Fortunately you can now select from a huge collection of proven web site styles that you can use 'out of the box' or use the web site template as the foundation to your own creation.
My own experience
I've been creating web sites since 1994-95 and have seen and tried just about all the possible ways of approaching a web project.
In the early years we would create all our web sites from scratch; this was a slow, tedious and expensive process. Besides trying to make the web pages look good, you had to figure out how to make it work with all the browsers and within the limits of your potential visitors computers:
- Will the web site end up being fast enough for people on slow modems?
- Will it work with Netscape and Internet Explorer?
- Can we fit in all the required sections so it works in an 800x600 screen resolution?
In those days I was not to keen on web site templates because I wanted to produce an 'original web site'. But I always discovered that the website ended up looking like other websites already out there!
Why was this happening?
It happened (and still happens) because web developers have figured out what works ... and they do it! In the same way that the automobile industry has figured out that a car seems to work best with four wheels, web designers over the years have figured out the best way to structure and design a web page. As such, you're going to see most web sites work with the same handful of proven designs and styles ... given a projects' needs.
The web site designers point of view
If you try hard enough, you can probably come up with some funky style for a page with for example, a new wacky navigational menu. The problem is that everybody expects to see a web page layout follow certain basic rules; navigation sections have to be arranged in a certain way, links have to look a certain way ... being consistent makes the web site more usable and easier for the visitor to use.
No worries, you can still be original within the context of a template; people do it all the time. The web site template serves as the framework for designers, where it eliminates the grueling structural work and frees you to develop the subtlety of the web sites' style.
With so many web site templates to choose from these days, you are almost guaranteed to find the basic style and layout you are looking for. You can then build off of that, speeding up the process - makes good sense for you and your clients!
The business point of view
Web site templates save you time and money; the production cycle of a web site project is at least cut in half when you use a web site template. Another advantage of using templates is that you can show the web site designers what you want rather than trying to describe it to them. The reverse is also true where the designer can show the client several templates that he/she can choose from - this in of itself will always be a great tool!
I have also found over the years that most people don't really know what they want until they actually see it. Templates allow the business owner to identify what they really want in a web site and actually buy it right there and then. They can hand the template off to the web designer for the personalized touches.
Even the great artists develop a 'template' of their own
This is just a side note, but it may be worth considering:
An artist typically becomes known for their style, this style is consistently applied in their work and it defines their careers. Picasso is one such artist; if you look at any of his paintings, you can clearly see that it's a Picasso.
Other examples are found in the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; you may have never heard a particular song, but their styles are so well defined you instantly know whose song it is.
An artist's style is really just a template of what works for them. In a sense, an accomplished artist creates his or her own design template and then applies it to their work.
About the author: Stefan Mischook has been developing websites for nearly 10 years. Experienced with Java/J2EE, PHP, ASP.NET and many other web related technologies, he now writes about web design on the popular websites www.killersites.com and www.how-to-build-websites.com