Chapter 2

Web Design 101

Any chapter titled “Web Design 101” is bound to be passed over for more exciting topics. A broad introduction to Web site design isn't nearly as interesting as customizing a search results page or creating publishing sites, is it? Bear with me, though. SharePoint has its own rules, tools, and pitfalls that can make design easy or maddening.

Much of this chapter should be common sense. The key ideas covered here are pretty straightforward: Set limits, involve your users, make things easy to find, and make pages that give users what they need in as attractive a manner as possible. The problem is that common sense often gets plowed under in the name of speed and efficiency, or it gets lost in feature creep. And if you've ever had a Web browser open for more than 5 minutes, you can probably attest to the fact that common sense is not all that common.

Development and design techniques have changed considerably from the early days of the Web. In the murky backwaters of the Internet, site design required arcane knowledge. In-depth understanding of technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript were needed just to make pages function, let alone look professional. This meant that the majority of sites were created by people with a bent for the technical rather than an eye for design.

Times have changed. Moreover, the technology that drives Web sites has changed. The next time you crack open the Internet Information Services console (see Figure 2-1), take a look at ...

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