Swiss army knife

The Right Tool for The Right Job

When building a website, use your head.

The Brains

A successful website all starts with content. By content I mean the text that your targeted visitors will read when they come to your website. It is the information that the people who use your website are seeking. The content is why you have chosen to build a website in the first place. You have information about something that you want to share, whether it is strictly for sharing information to educate, selling a product, entertainment or news. They all center around one thing, and that is the content – the brains.

Photo of a Brain -- represents the content of a website, the Text.

The Skull

Now that you have your content you need to give it structure, put it into a framework. Separate headings from paragraphs, lists from quotations, data from definitions. This is all done using proper HTML markup to define each of the elements. This structure, this framework is the skeleton of your website – the skull.

Photo of a Skull -- represents the structural markup of a website, the HTML.

The Muscles

Most websites these day will have a certain amount of interactive controls built in. These may be graphics that change when you run your mouse over them, perhaps a menu item that expands to show sub-menus, or it could be some helpful form validation telling the customer they forget to enter their email address. This functionality is handled with client side JavaScript and is tightly integrated with the HTML structure (the skull) to create real time interactive movement – the muscles.

Photo of Face Muscles -- represents the functionality of a website, the JavaScript.

The Skin

With your content arranged into a logical structure and all the right functionality in place, now comes the fun part of web design – the style. This is where you get to play with colors, sizes, fonts, backgrounds, and layout. The styling of a web site should all be done through the use of CSS, after all CSS stands for Cascading STYLE sheets. The CSS of your website is the skin, the hat, and the glasses and anything else you want to use to present your image.

Photo of a girl with crazy makup -- represents the style of a website, the CSS.

No actual human beings were harmed in the writing of this article!