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It didn't take long to realize that his stuff looked a lot better then mine. He was able to drag and drop everything right on the page. I, on the other hand, was creating tables and cells and.....well, you get the picture.
Not long after, I started outsourcing all my design work to another country. They produced some fantastic work and still do. The price has gone up over time but they still create 5 page sites for me for about $200 each. So my question is this; is it worth learning Dreamweaver, Photoshop, php and more or given the amount of time it takes to learn, is it better to continue outsourcing? While I do have a basic understanding of Dreamweaver and Photoshop, I know only enough to manage the sites afterwards and do a little editing. Listen to this next question and tell me if you agree. Is it enough just to know how to design pages or does the person need talent? Imagination, etc? You see, I don't have a great imagination either. I look at other peoples work and it does help inspire ideas but nothing compared to the people for whom it comes natural. I just wonder if imagination and creativity can be learned. My guess is that even if I learn all the technical aspects, I could still suck as a web designer? Agree or disagree?
Lastly, does anyone know if there are still design programs that are drag and drop without code experience and tables, etc?
Thanks for the read.
If you can farm it out at $200.00 a page or a $1000.00 for a 5 page site that's the way to go.
A very smart man told me once that you can work on your weakness real hard but will probably only get a 10% improvement so always stay with your strengths!..KF
[edited by: jatar_k at 1:44 pm (utc) on Sep. 28, 2007]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]
My first college computer course was similar, in fact, though they used a simulated machine language. Oh, and they let us use an assembler.
Alas, this is seldom done today.
I had the advantage of knowing from the outset the basics of how a computer works. Makes a lot of common sense that before you learn to program a computer, you should have some idea how it works.
You just don't know how hard it is to explain to somebody who started with a higher-level language just what's going on behind the scene. It's a heck of a lot harder to "get it" when you are taught the cart before the horse.
An analogy can be drawn to HTML/high level page design tools. If you don't know HTML, you'll never truly understand what is being put into place when you drag-and-drop. And that's awfully useful to know.
If you do want to do your own page design, then, I'd join the "learn HTML" chorus.
But, yes, it takes talent too, and I just ain't got it. I stick to basic pages with no pretty formatting, but make sure I get what I want on the page. Then I let somebody else make it look nice.
CSS is a godsend for the talentless among us, as it permits the separation of design from content. Fortunately, like many with no artistic or design talent, I know good design when I see it - I just can't create it!
I look at other peoples work and it does help inspire ideas but nothing compared to the people for whom it comes natural. I just wonder if imagination and creativity can be learned.
There are two aspects to designing a web page: designer (the "artistic side") and coding. Coding is mechanical while designing is creative. Now before everyone gets angry with me, let me continue.
We all know it takes good coding to make a page function, whether it be knowledge is CSS, HTML, JS, PHP, etc. These are all "learned" skills which some are naturally better at than others. It also helps too when you perform certain things regularly which makes it seem second nature.
Design or visual concept, on the other hand, and in my opinion, is more an instinct. Though design concepts can be learned such as spatial and color relationships, there is a certain degree of "instinct" that cannot be taught. This is even true with coders. However, the basics can be learned through design courses, journalism courses geared toward copy reading and editing, photography, and even drawing. All of these help with layout and visual appeal. Granted, a web page, like any visual medium, has both its limitations and accepted practices, but it is how you pull these things together is where instinct, and years of experience, come in.
Bluntly, anyone can "design" a page and anyone can write code, but to make these things work in harmony not only with each other but with the end user, that is truly designng.
I just want to add a suggestion, buy an HTML book, a php book and a mysql book and park them in your bathroom. Seriously. Next download some of the most comonly used open source software applications and get to trying out the things you learn from the books one at a time at your own pace.
It doesn't take long to get up to a level sufficient to handle your own as a webmaster because learning one thing tends to lead you to want to learn more. I taught myself in 98 and created some butt ugly stuff (functional, but fugly). Today I could dictate code in seven languages line by line without seeing it and you have it easier because there are ten times the number of code help sites out there now... like this one :)
I have to warn you though, when you master those you'll likely want the latest graphics software and several handy programs to do some of the more tedious things. Start saving a couple of thousand now.
is it worth learning Dreamweaver, Photoshop, php and more or given the amount of time it takes to learn, is it better to continue outsourcing?
The canny boss is able to do any job in his company. He might not be the fastest, the most effective or the most accurate, but he can do it if he wants to do it. He knows the processes involved, the requirements, the degree of flexibility and the outputs and because of that he is able to give directionswhich help rather than hinder and treat the causes of problems rather than their symptoms.
Be that boss. Don't be the suit who only knows how to sign cheques. Management is a very difficult task and those who say it is a generic skill which requires little knowledge of the company are entirely wrong.
You can use a WYSIWYG as a tool to make your site and to learn HTML. Any good HTML editor can help in this role as well. DW, FP and FP's replacement Expression Web are all pretty comparable these days.
I like it. I do more work in the code window than I do in the design window.
I rather spend my time on managing websites (uploading content) rather than learning how to code hardcore.
But thatís just me. I have a full time job and also 2 other part time jobs so I rather not invest my time in learning how to design Logos and design websites. HOWEVER, if I did learn how to do all that stuff I am sure I would have made much more money off my websites and owned many more of them.
in summary I donít think anyone can give you a definite answer and that you should go with your gut feeling.
You know your business/talent and your personal goal best; so you have to evaluate what works for you.
just an FYI: all that said: Im taking two Dreamweavor classes next month to learn a bit more. I also figured it would be good networking to meet other webmasters...
So once you know HTML then you have to ask, can I do better than the $200 people?
I understand HTML but still outsource my work, why?
They can do it faster than I can, all I do is give then an indication of the layout I want and they take it from there.
1. Great software and great code isn't worth its salt if it supports bad design. I see some of the best coders in the world with the worst webpages ever because they are bad designers. Then I see phenomenal pages with terrible, horrendous code, built by great designers. Guess who wins in the world of the web? If one page view is one vote, great design triumphs over great code 1000 to 1, or more! Being a good coder is important, but in the actually nuts and bolts of 99% of the web, it doesn't add up to much. I mean even the ebst coders will probably agree with this - "A 85k webpage functions no differently than a 150k webpage in the modern web." Even if your code is cluttered, ugly, convoluted, table-rich, it won't make any significant difference as long as it is cross browser compatible. Note: You spoke of $200 a page, so figure we are dealing with pretty static pages...
2. You design software is only as good as your design. For 99% of users MS Frontpage or Expressions is no different than Dreamweaver in terms of functionality. I see 1,000's of people say, "Frontpage is terrible because it makes cluttered WYSIWYG code, I simply can't build anything good in it." Then I look at their design, and guess what? It would still be weak in Dreamweaver! People blame the software as an excuse for not doing great work. You can outperform Publisher or Dreamweaver with Frontpage, or vice versa, the best designer can use any tool to make incredible designs.
3. My advice: Stop shopping software, stop worrying about code (you'll learn html as you learn to verify your sites, expand your sites, and repair your sites, learn as you go!), instead of worrying and learning code, spend all that time looking at the award winning sites. Go to the award sites and see who's winning in the different categories. Find what you like and print out the source code, print out the design layout, now try to replicate the look, feel, and functionality using whatever tool you have.
Does that all make sense? Start with a great design, then modify it until it is unique and your own. Use the award winners for inspiration, spend your energy learning great design and you'll learn code naturally and organically over time, and all your users will see is the great design!