Decisions Decisions - Website Design Please Help

Discussion in 'Web Design' started by winnergirl, May 19, 2014.

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  1. winnergirl

    winnergirl New Member

    This quote is me (about web design).

    "The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee." (You've Got Mail, movie quote.)

    I design in HTML and use Dreamweaver. I want to build a web site with many features: forum, classifieds, membership/drectory, and blog service for members to have their own blogs (like WP multisite), and maybe something like Facebook.

    I have spend a million hours (will maybe not a million, but hundreds) looking at software and CMS and other options. I have come to some basic conclusions, after huge hours of research. In their categories, Dreamweaver, Joomla, or WordPress would be best for me.

    Here is what I can not decide.

    1. Do I Dreamweave(r) and add on various software programs and have a basically unmatched web site? (I love HTML tables over CSS tables.)

    2. Do I Joomla and find extensions to use and have the site more uniform, but give up a lot of my control (I am not proficient with PHP and CSS, just understand some of the basics?

    3. Do I WordPress and find plugins to use and again, give up my control due to low knowledge of PHP/CSS?

    I can not even decide which software programs to use, because I can not even decide which way to design the website.

    Any help would be so much appreciated. I am going crazy looking at software and looking at options. Perhaps some input will get me off of the fence.
  2. Phreaddee

    Phreaddee Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well I have to say that if you did hundreds of hours of research and you didn't come to the conclusion that building sites in html tables is a BAD BAD idea then you didn't really do much research.
  3. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

    A design should be done before you start in a DEVELOPMENT tool such as Dreamweaver, and if you think that you could develop a website with all those components simply using DW you are delusional.

    Then you are NOT at a stage where you CAN develop a website with anything other than a "spread sheet" layout.

    Dreamweaver, Wordpress and Joomla are not verbs, they are nouns, so are something you use, not 'do'.

    Then you are starting from the WRONG point, you should already have a design which is a picture, a graphic, an image or a drawing, a concept of what the end result is going to look like |BEFORE you start doing anything else.
    THEN you start with a site, what IS the point of having all thos 'features' when the concept does not even exist?
    Thinking 'big' is all well and good, but;

    A: You will get pissed off because nothing is happening, on the 'blogs', 'forum', 'classified' etc.
    B: You will get lost in the "todo" maze (already happened)

    Most importantly, what makes you even THINK that you need all those "features" anyway??
  4. winnergirl

    winnergirl New Member

    I appreciate any feedback, but I was hoping for serious design feedback. I do not believe that there are "bad" proven design features, just preferred or not preferred by the designer. And yes, I do know the difference between a noun and verb, it was intended to be a pun, which is why the (r) in parens for the word Dreamweaver.

    I just joined this forum and I wrongly assumed that the members were all web designers and that I did not need to quote my qualifications. My error, I apologize.

    I am a proficient web designer with Dreamweaver. I have a number of my own web sites and I have built a few fairly large sites for other businesses. I have put up Joomla and WordPress websites. I have added forums and classified addons to Dreamweaver sites.

    For my project:
    I have bought the domain name, written an outlined, bought graphics and made the logo, designed the index page with Dreamweaver, which the content can easily me moved to Joomla or WP. I simply needed to give myself an emotional push off of the fence to build the site. I have just looked at so many software programs, for forums, classifieds and such that I have gotten myself confused with too many options. There are so many good programs. I was hoping for some feedback to help me refocus.

    I was hoping for some input before I started down a road of "no-return" of too much work to change directions. Dreamweaver/Addons. Joomla/Extensions. WordPress/Plugins.

    That said, I do appreciate your input and your taking the time to reply. All input helps me think things through, and writing helps me focus. I have some people in a Meetup group that apologize for constantly asking me beginner questions, but I assure them that thinking through the answers always gives me new insight and new ideas.
  5. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wordpress and Joomla are not 'programs' for site development or design, they are content management systems.

    Stop thinking that EVERYTHING has to be done at once,

    You don't need a forum until you have something to discuss.
    You don't need "classifieds" until you have visitors that might buy something and advertisers looking to sell something to those visitors.
    You don't need "members blogs" until you have members who WANT to 'blog' on your site.
    and so on.

    The more 'stuff' you try and "bolt on" to a site BEFORE it gains traction the less likely it IS to gain traction because it looks like a desolate wilderness, and in six months time you will be thoroughly pissed off with the spam comments on empty blog posts, pissed off with

    "Hallow dears, I am happy to be joint to this nice forum, please give me your informations" type threads on the forum.

    Sick to the back teeth of "Earn $$$$ working from home" on the 'classifieds'

    And will have rejected enough "Buy Viagra online", "Cheap Cialis online hear" << (that's not a spelling error on my part), and other such garbage "quality" site submissions to the directory to last you an entire lifetime

    The Internet is a cesspit of sites that people have had big intentions for. Then, once they get started and have realised just how much work they need to keep going, decide they need a life instead. Your big ideas appear to based on what the "expert" Internet warrior pundits keep telling people are the ones that will make money for you and you ONLY need to 'work' a one hour per day "building traffic"!

    Let me assure you that this claim is complete bollocks.

    So having said all that; ... What IS your motivation for wanting an 'all singing', 'all dancing' website??
  6. Jewel

    Jewel New Member

    Hi Winnergirl,
    let me give you my 5 cents. I'm a web designer who loves xhtml and css but in the recent years I have been using content management systems almost exclusively.
    I still do a lot of css creating my own wordpress themes with some builder tools or creating child themes from other themes.

    When my clients started requesting cms, I went on Youtube and started learning Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress by building the same site with all. I ended up abandoning the other two and only use wordpress. My reasoning was that if my clients want to maintain their websites, it was to be easy and I found it the easiest to work with. Obviously since this is for you, you would't have to worry about that.
    Now I know that some people prefer one over the other so this is just my opinion.

    I have become a huge fan of Wordpress and one of the many reasons is that there are plugins free and paid for almost anything you might want to do, which takes out the costs of hiring a programmer. Usually the plugins are made to integrate with little need of programming.

    (I took a php class and although I could not program anything from scratch, I have the basic knowledge to mess with some of the code and to know which parts go together or to look up the syntax of how to do basic thing. So, I would recommend learning some but it's not required).

    I would never try to create something like you want in a hand coded page, when there are frameworks already available and ready to go. Wordpress is a blogging platform and so much more. It's perfect for what you want to do.

    Here are some of the plugins you might want to look into:
    BB Press - Forum Plugin
    Membership - Membership Plugin
    Advanced Access Manager - Restrict access to pages etc for running individual blogging pages on the same url
    I'm sure there is some kind of classifieds out there as well
  7. Edge

    Edge Member

    I reckon xhtml should be spelt ex html...

    OK here's some advice. Focus on learning HTML5 and CSS2/3 to a high standard. Learn about responsive design. Subscribe to a digital design magazine - in the UK we have things like .NET and Smashing.

    Learn PHP to a reasonable degree of proficiency.

    Then finally choose a CMS like WordPress (you could do worse) and become intimately familiar with it and how to do things with it the right way.

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