Presentation layer in website design

As we all know, there are always two sides to every website design. The visual side that all users see with all the graphic elements, buttons, images and the side behind them, which is the code responsible for the functionality of the site. How do you achieve balance?

The enable side does not contain just one type of code, but it includes different types. First, it is the HTML code, which creates a framework for embedding CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) or programming languages ​​such as PHP. In other words, HTML is used to structure the content on the page, while CSS allows the content and style of your website to be manipulated separately, and programming languages ​​deliver instructions to the computer.

HTML itself does not support effects such as dropdown menus or carousels. There is code that is explicitly intended for the user interface while another code is used to manipulate the data and connect to the database. The “display layer” refers to the graphical interface as well as to the code that runs it, including the code that controls interactive elements such as drop-down menus.

Offer code includes:

  • HTML and HTML 5
  • CSS
  • Scripting languages ​​such as JavaScript, jQuery, and Ajax.

All of these languages ​​are usually skillfully woven together in order to create a highly functional and visually appealing website design.

1. Create a multimedia interface

Animated and immersive design is achieved through the use of Adobe Flash or a mixture of HTML, CSS and other scripting languages ​​mixed together.

For many years Adobe Flash has been in the lead, but it is starting to change. Nowadays with the development of HTML 5 and CSS, we are increasingly able to replicate a lot of interactive effects and animations.

HTML 5, the latest version of HTML, brings a huge step forward in the design capabilities of the presentation layer. It provides an enhanced toolkit of elements and properties and acknowledges the way designers work and use certain elements. For example, it allows designers to define the nav group with the new ‘navigator’ instead of the previously used ‘div’ element. HTML5’s animation and interaction design support features have also improved impressively, and the fact that HTML5 is supported on mobile browsers like Apple’s Safari has opened up web design possibilities.

A few words about Adobe Flash

Flash is an animation and interactive technology that enables the creation of a highly interactive interface. Regarding the implementation of the flash element in the design of the site, the process is quite simple. The component developed in Adobe Flash is exported as a standalone .swf file and in exactly the same way as the image, the .swf file is embedded within the HTML page. The .swf file can be a small part of the page or it can literally be the entire interface. It should be noted that users must have Flash Player installed in their browser to view a page containing the .swf component.

Despite the ability to create a great user experience, using Flash has some drawbacks. Chief among them is the fact that Apple’s mobile platform simply does not support Flash files. Therefore, a website built in Flash should offer an alternative version of the site to mobile (Apple) viewers (of course only if the market is important enough to them). Inviting the user to download the latest version of Flash Player on iPhone is an irrelevant button, because even if they download Flash, the site will still not be available.

HTML5 – Flash Alternative

As mentioned earlier, the combination of HTML 5, CSS, and jQuery code now makes it possible to reproduce animated websites that were only possible in Flash. With the “canvas” element, it’s now easier than ever to design a rich and animated user interface. Most modern desktop and mobile browsers support the HTML5 standard which makes it possible to create a design that works across many platforms.

1.1 DHTML, JavaScript, jQuery, and Ajax

Keep in mind that HTML is just a structure for the content. Scripting languages ​​such as JavaScript, Ajax, and jQuery that control the behavior of user interface elements and the content displayed on a page are woven into that structure.

JavaScript It is a dynamic scripting language capable of complex animation and interaction effects, such as creating a dropdown menu or an extended window layer. It allows interacting with the user, controlling the browser, and changing the content of the displayed web page. When JavaScript is implemented in HTML, HTML is referred to as “DHTML”. Dynamic HTML (DHTML) allows you to create interesting interactive elements and animations.

message It is a simplified form of JavaScript that focuses on the commonly used interactions between JavaScript and HTML. It is designed to make it easier to navigate the web page. jQuery is a free, open source software that is available online. You can copy and paste ready-made texts into your web pages and customize them to serve your purposes. With jQuery, you can create animation design effects and interact with much less code than is required with JavaScript.

Examples of jQuery effects:

  • Stretching and collapsing by the windows
  • Rotate the image ring
  • Image zoom on scrolling etc.

Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) It allows data processing such as sending or retrieval of data in the background (asynchronously) without interfering with the display or behavior of the web page. So there is no need to reload the page or click the Refresh button and the data on the page can be refreshed/refreshed automatically.

1.2 CSS advanced graphic effects

In the past, in order to create a graphic element, a button for example, we used to rely on bitmap graphics like jpeg or gif. Not only do they increase the loading time of the web page, but they also have to be created by designers who are familiar with software like Photoshop, and then have to be changed manually every time you want to change the look of the site.

Nowadays, CSS offers increasing levels of stylistic control over the appearance of elements. It is now possible to add gradients, rounded corners, reflections, and soft drop shadows to text and elements simply through code.

There are quite a few useful CSS graphic style controls that can be implemented to avoid using bitmaps in UI builder.

The advantages of using CSS for our user interface include:

  • Faster download times – CSS code is written only once, and can be applied as a style to any graphic or text element;
  • scalable design – CSS code allows you to apply scalable themes to fonts and elements;
  • ease of maintenance – to change the size, color, and visual effects of a button, text or design element, we simply change the values ​​in the CSS code, and the change will be applied to all elements assigned to a particular style;
  • Accessibility – In CSS, we use actual text for our buttons and interface elements, and these are highlighted and defined in a way that screen readers can ingest and translate to users who rely on these devices.

1.3 responsive design

The latest trend in web design is Responsive Design. It is an approach that aims to create websites in a way that provides an optimal viewing experience that is easy to read and navigate across a wide range of devices. When the user changes the size of the browser window, the web page is instantly refreshed in order to display it optimally at the “viewport” size. Viewport is a new term that designers use to refer not only to different sizes of a desktop browser, but also to mobile devices that all have different sizes of fixed screens.

Responsive design is possible thanks to the “Media Queries in CSS3 Specification” part. It recognizes the browser size and tells the page to load the appropriate stylesheet, for example “widescreen.css” or “mobilescreen.css”. This is possible because different style sheets have different layout schemes, font sizes, and settings for image optimization.

Last but not least, getting creative UI ideas. There is a lot of inspiration on the Internet. It is advisable to analyze good design practices, break them down into the basics, and see how some of them can be adapted for application in our field.

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