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Website Design Gone Bad – Frontpage and Dreamweaver Designers

Posted on: August 7th, 2007 by afoxsiteadmin

This posts target audiences are self professed website designers and those in the market for quality websites. First of all I would like to say that knowledge is most definitely power. But in the same breath let me add this. With knowledge comes great responsibility. With the invention of WYSIWYG there has been an onslaught of poorly coded D.I.Y web pages introduced to the Internet. Yes… onslaught is the correct word. Everyone and their grandmother now has the power to build a website. This is a wonderful thing. It is no longer necessary to hire someone to build your personal website, family reunion site, pet site, etc. However, there is a flip side to this. Self proclaimed website designers have sprouted up everywhere (this would be another great place to use the word onslaught).

The Dreaded Design View There is a vast difference from a hand coded, professional grade website when compared to a website made in Dreamweaver or Frontpage’s design view. (Please note: Dreamweaver’s code view can be a great tool. I’ve used it many times myself. The built in FTP feature is fabulous and as with most ‘code view’ applications, what you see is really what you get. Website code, either you know what your doing or you don’t.) Using any programs ‘design view’ will 99.99% of the time eliminate any hopes of xhtml or css validity. Also go ahead and scratch off cross browser compatibility.

Though I would like to point out that Microsoft Frontpage does a fabulous job building websites that look correct in Internet Explorer… Also I’d like to point out that Microsoft Word rivals Frontpage’s ability to create websites…. That should tell you something about Microsoft products. No offense Bill, we understand you don’t actually build any of your products personally.

Design view takes one very important element out of the website design process. Intelligence. Both Dreamweaver, Frontpage, and a myriad of other WYSIWYG editors are designed for one thing and one thing only. To provide a means for the average computer user to throw together a web page. This does not include use for design companies, website designers, and coders. What Is All Of This Extra Code? You know… I really can’t tell you. But this is something else to watch out for. If you come across any Frontpage or Dreamweaver websites you’ll notice one thing about the coding. There is a ton of it. In fact, in most cases it grossly outweighs the actual content on the web page. These programs don’t have the ability to discern the most efficient way to accomplish something (the intelligence factor) so it is impossible for them to break away from the rules they’re based on to build the simple websites they’re designed for.

What’s wrong with a little extra code?
Isn’t it all about how it looks? Did you know that the code to content ratio can actually have an effect on your search engine ranking? It is actually an important factor in determining a websites ‘worth’ on search engines. As a result it should obviously be a matter of concern for anyone attempting to have a website built. Also, this extra code isn’t just a little bit, once again, these programs pile tons! of it in there. This is bad news for any website hoping to pick up traffic from search engines. Also this limits your chances of a website working in multiple browsers.

No Substitute!
The moral here is quite simple. There is NO substitute for clean efficient code and proper design principles. If you are going to build your website yourself, take some time to learn valid HTML it’s really not that complicated. If you are looking to have someone build your website for you don’t be afraid to ask them about valid code, what programs they use to design in. Go ahead a step further, ask them if they use the design view. If they do, your probably not where you want to be. These design view website builders may be a place to start for some on their journey to website design, but they are no substitute to an experienced designer that can write clean valid code.

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