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The Framework Graphic Design Process

Just about any website design can be built on the SmartSpace platform. This is a guide to how the graphic design process works and what is expected of graphic designers in that process.

Graphic designers should check the SmartSpace HQ website for the current terms, conditions and prices for a website template build.

(Please Note: We have extended our free website styling offer for graphic designers in 2014. Click here for details.)

Details on the technical aspects of the setup of the domain name(s) and email addresses are handled at this link.

Design Submission

Graphic designers should send a pdf with the basic website concept to SmartSpace. It should contain the following information:

  • Home page and content page design (also product pages for E-Stores)
  • Short notes on the site navigation system
  • Short notes on any special features that will be required
  • Target publication date

SmartSpace will provide feedback on the concept and, if required provide alternatives where difficulties might prevent the required result being achieved.

So far there has not been a website where the final result is not virtually identical  to the original design concept.

Common Difficulties

The same issues tend to arise time and time again with respect to website design, especial for those designers who have not had a lot of experience on website design. Here are some of the most common.

Use of special fonts

Websites use the fonts installed on individual users computers to render a website. Therefore if a special font installed on your computer is used, when others view the website, the result may be far different.

Luckily, new browsers allow the use of "web fonts" which open up the range of fonts available to be used on website. There are some limitations to this and license fees may need to be paid if yoou are fussy about the font style you want to use

  • Use commonly available fonts for general text.
  • SmartSpace has systems available to be able to use images as titles and headings to add individuality to your website design
  • A greater range of options for web fonts is now becoming available although there may be some limitations to what fonts can be used, mainly due to licensing restrictions

Image Formats

Images usually take  longer to download that other elements of a website, therefore, it is always a goal to keep image sizes to a minimum.

Different image formats are better for different things, so designers need to be aware of the relevant strengths and weaknesses of image formats and how that is likely to affect design.

  • JPEG fomat is great for photos and images with a large range of colours, but cannot be used for an image which requires a tranparent area.
  • PNG and GIF formats provide the ability to make areas tranparent but are best restricted to text and graphics, not photos.
  • Where some graphics overlap other website elements, tranparencies are  required to get the desired result, sometimes ruling out photo based graphics

Many Page Variations for Similar Content

Whilst SmartSpace is extremely configurable, it can be more time consuming when the design requires large variations in design for pages that serve content that is basically the same.

Whilst styling can be varied from page to page, in some cases, extra costs may be involved in custom styling of special pages where there is a lot of fine grained styling.

Framework Specifications 

By Graphic Designer

Once the design concept sorted and any potential difficulties ironed out, the graphic designer should provide a more detailed concept design to SmartSpace via pdf file.

  • Heights and widths of pages, columns, borders and images, all provided in pixels
  • Colours (in hex format) of backgrounds, borders and text
  • Sizes of text and headings  (usually in pixels) along with any special styling that may be required
    • Case
    • Leading
    • Kerning
    • Font
  • Special behaviour of links and link text or any other special elements.

Do not provide any stand alone images to us, or upload any images onto the website at this stage. We will provide exact specifications of what is required at the next stage.

Element Specifications

 From SmartSpace

Once we have these very specific details, our designers and technicians will then send to the designer exactly what will be required to achieve the desired result.

  • Image sizes which may be required in the general content of the website.
    • Whether they need to be uploaded onto the website by the designer or of it should be sent to SmartSpace.
    • Often image formats and special specification will be detailed
  • Special instructions on how and where to upload images and attach to content
  • Special instructions on how to create and save content and content categories
  • Special configuration that may be needed in the relevant area of the website

Website Build

When a website template has been created for the first time, SmartSpace staff will usually load the framework for the designer and partially configure the website for testing purposes.

SmartSpace works cooperatively with the designer to work through any issues that arise in this process. It is important that the designer monitors this work which usually takes place over a couple of days.

Designers should always provide feedback to SmartSpace, where they might have questions or think that the result is not in keeping with their concept.

It is vitally important that communication during this period is active so that potential problems can be resolved as early as possible.

SmartSpace will often email the designer with requests for clarification on unforeseen issues. Quick feedback will ensure a quick build.

Once the initial build has been completed, it is up to  the designer and website owner to complete the content and data entry. At this stage there may still be some unresolved issues or small changes that may need to be made.

Designers can email SmartSpace as and when they arise or wait until the build has been just about completed and data entry complete.

At that point, SmartSpace finalises all the outstanding issues prior to website publication. Unless there are major issues with the template build, SmartSpace will not make small design changes during this period.

Ongoing Support

SmartSpace provides support to both the website owner and graphic designer to ensure the website performs to its optimum.

SmartSpace will email the website owner with a brief search engine optimisiation (SEO) report on the website. It is up to them to make adjustments they deem necessary.

Often, small changes need to be made after the website is published. This can often be achieved by changes to the website configuration in the relevant element.

In some cases, changes may require extra work from SmartSpace. There may be a charge for this work. SmartSpace never performs work which requires payment, without the express authorisation of the website owner.

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