5 Web Design Tips to Save Time

As any web designer knows, doing good web design can take a lot of time to do right. There are many ways to shorten this time, but how can you ensure that the quality of the design doesn’t suffer while cutting back on time? Here are 5 web design tips to save time while keeping quality up.

  1. Use website templates. This is one method to save time that is seen used often by web designers. There are templates of various types available online, some free, some that cost. This is a plug and play method of design, where you only have to fill the different elements in the template with the content, and can save substantial time. The downside to this is that while it saves a lot of time, a web site template is not as customized as other designs may be. To keep a more customized approach while still using templates, it’s recommended you have multiple templates to use and choose from so that the sites you create have different options on how they may appear.
  2. Include header/footer file for each page. This can be done in different ways – in PHP, you can create a unique header and footer file, then include these on every page. If you use Dreamweaver, you can use a nested template to include headers and footers into your main template. For raw HTML, you can use server side includes or use JavaScript to fake a client side include. By using these includes, you can save a lot of time by only needing to edit one file when you want to change the header on every page, as opposed to making an edit on every single page. And these types of includes don’t need to be limited to headers and footers, but can be used for any part of your site that appears on multiple pages.
  3. Make a code library. If you make multiple web sites, then you’ll often want to use some of the code in several different projects. By putting the different chunks of code you use into a library of sorts you can then access these elements from the library quickly. It can then often be just a cut-and-paste to get useful parts needed for your sites in place, and will save a lot of time. This is like using a template (and you could include your own templates in your library), but can also be used to store different types of code, like common JavaScript code that you use often, or a specific structure within the site code that you like to use occasionally.
  4. Use a web server. By installing a web server locally, you can test code that requires a server (like PHP and SQL code) without needing to put it on the web. Making code changes and being able to test immediately saves a huge amount of time that is normally spent on the process of saving, uploading, then testing for your new web design projects.
  5. Find helpful tools. Every web designer has different needs and uses different tools, but it’s worthwhile to explore the possibilities for tools that can help your productivity. These may be tools like a Firefox extension (like the web developer toolbar), a specific type of graphics editor, or even a web design expert you can regularly ask questions to on a forum (gurus can often be some of the best resources). If you can locate the types of tools and resources that would most help you with your design process, this can save untold amounts of time.

By using these 5 web design tips to save time for your site development projects, you can get through many more projects more quickly and be quite a bit more productive.