CSS Tricks: Using Color


As web designers we sometimes have a tough time figuring out exactly why a particular layout item is behaving that way. Sometimes it’s a matter of the cascade being at play, other times it’s a specific rule that we have set.

One of the best tricks that I have discovered is the use of blocks of color when initially setting up a layout or when debugging it.

There are some important notes about this:

  • Your layout will look as though it was colored in by a 5 year old on a sugar high in a crayon factory. This makes it easy to spot the culprit for breaking the layout, but it can be painful to look at.
  • I use two things to make sure I know that the color is not supposed to survive into the final .css file:
    • I use the color names rather than hex codes.
    • I also include a comment /*debugging*/ next to each item.

This post features one of my examples (in this case with a right sidebar, and navigation across the top of the page). You can view and download the HTML and the CSS from Google Drive.

This is one of the easiest CSS tricks that I have found when playing around with a layout. I picked it up from a tutorial by Russ Weakley a couple of years ago and it has saved my sanity a couple of times.

The First Rule of Web Design

The single most important thing when it comes to web design is content before anything else. In order to determine what content you should place on your website, which will in turn shape your page layout, navigation, etc. you need to decide what purpose your web site will fulfill.

Your goal of your web site might be:

  • To establish yourself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To communicate specific information to customers.
  • To attract new customers.
  • To make sales.
  • etc.

Unless you know what you want to achieve with your web site and what type of information that your users are likely to be looking for, it will be difficult, if not impossible to have an effective web design. Here, at Red Dragon Creative, we define an effective web site as one that helps fulfill a business goal.

In order to determine your content you need to consider your web site’s goals and your target audience. From there, you will be able to decide what type of content your users will expect and find useful. You will also be able to decide what format is most appropriate. Perhaps your users love to read blog posts? Or maybe they prefer to watch a video? Or perhaps they are a fan of infographics?

Once you know what type of content your users are likely to want included in your web design, you are able to ensure that your site is developed to allow your visitors to easily flow through your site…without giving your design a second thought.

The Costs of a Custom WordPress Website in South Africa

WordPress is blogging platform that has developed into a content management system. It is widely used by a hugely diverse group of people, from broadcasters to government departments to musicians to businesses to private individuals. WordPress offers:

  • A stable platform having been continuously developed since 2003;
  • Support for multiple users, allowing different people to communicate on the same platform;
  • Semantic, high quality code, which means that people who are accessing the web using assistive devices  or on mobile devices will have a higher quality user-experience.
  • It is very search engine friendly meaning that when people are searching for the information they are likely to find it. There is also an excellent plugin that assists with search engine optimization.
  • The WordPress core functionality is free.

That said, here’s a look at the costs associated with a self-hosted WordPress site.

  • The registration of a domain name. The cost of registering a domain name starts at around R75.
  • At a minimum you require web hosting with PHP and a mySQL database. (Every WordPress site that you run requires it’s own database). Hosting in South Africa costs range from R15 upwards.
  • Installation: WordPress offers an easy 5 minute installation (which I have found to be true in most cases, however on some cheap hosting packages you may need to configure a database which takes longer).
  • Content creation: The most important part of your website is your content, after all, it is the reason that people came to your site in the first place, and the reason why they will return.
  • Customizations, for example, the development of a custom theme.
  • Support may be included in your web design or web hosting package or may be charged at an hourly fee.
  • Making regular backups of your site.
  • Plugins :  many WordPress plugins are free, there are also paid plugins which you may require.

WordPress themes may be created on their own, but a recent trend has seen the development of theme-frameworks, such as StudioPress.  The WordPress themes that we create all run on the StudioPress framework which we chose because it is robust and offers great security, in addition to a myriad of other features.

Our custom WordPress themes start at R3,500 (which compared to recent publicity is an absolute steal.) Contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss your needs.