The use of layers plays an essential part in website development. Layers created on available software design tools create magic in website designing. The ease and comfort with which the layered design is created in software tools are unmatchable and gives a free hand to designers to produce unique amazing designs.
Several website development companies that rely on prototype model for website development, create a layered design which can be easily transformed into HTML and CSS code without affecting the pixel of the images thereby maintaining the overall look and quality design. Layered Web Design is an approach to building single page static websites that look and behave more like web apps or native apps.
Three Layers of Web Development-
A good website designer and developer is very familiar with the three layers of web development. These layers are vital for an effective website design. Designers need to know the significance and purpose of these layers:
The Structure Layer (HTML)
It defines what the user will view when they visit the website. It contains mainly the information part of the website which includes text content, images or any readable information. The structure layer should be designed in such a way that the visitor on the website navigate the pages easily and enjoy great user experience. Since it is the XHTML that contains most of the readable content, the XHTML and structure layer is of great importance and complement each other in web development.
The Presentation Layer (CSS)
Once you have all the information that needs to be present on the website, you need to style it; like how it will appear to the end-user. This part is managed by the CSS of the code in the presentation layer.
Software Tools That Create Layers
Several software are available in the market for creating layered designs. Some of them are mentioned here:
- Adobe Illustrator
- Affinity Designer
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
- Photoshop Elements
- Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is an excellent program largely used for creating images, photo editing, graphic design and adding special effects to images. Photoshop is pixel-based software, whereas other software like CorelDraw is primarily used for vector-based graphics. Photoshop is the first choice of website designers because of its ease of use and comfort in the transition from Photoshop to HTML design.
Complex and unique design where highly sophisticated graphic designing is required, mainly for websites that are creative or for gaming websites, can be done effortlessly in Photoshop. These designs can then easily be converted into Websites using HTML and CSS codes on the browser.
The role of layered design in web designing is to show how your website will look after coding. The layered designs created in such software are reusable and are of great quality. The facility to resize the image size creates a pixel perfect websites.
One can also use grid systems, crisp vectors, sharpen photos, use pen tools and other features of Photoshop that allow doing much more while designing a website layout and design.
Certain features are there in Photoshop that allows web designers to design directly in the web browser. This feature helps them to get a clear idea of what looks best in the browser and design. Designers use it to create UI elements, web graphics, wireframes, and functional mockups. Thus, Photoshop plays a vital role in web design.
Why Layered Design Is Important in Website Designing?
Proficient web developers slice the Photoshop files and convert them into programming code. There are online tools and services to convert the Photoshop files into HTML but a sound developer knows how to do it through coding using front end design language.Sometimes other file types are used by designers. While we may be able to work with PNG, IDD, or AI file types, PSD files are highly recommended. Working from other file types may involve the added step of converting designs to a PSD file and then to HTML.
The PSD file preserves a design as layered images which is extremely useful for future editing of different parts of a web page design. Each layer can be worked on individually, without affecting the rest of the elements in a design. Photoshop can convert PSD files to other formats, such as PNG, JPG, etc so one can export a design for a wide variety of uses, like web graphics.
It’s also interesting to note that Photoshop files sometimes have the extension “.PSB”, which stands for “Photoshop Big”. The Large Document Format (PSB) supports documents up to 300,000 pixels in any dimension. All Photoshop features, such as layers, effects, and filters, are supported in “.PSB”. The high dynamic range of 32bits-per-channel images can be saved as PSB files. If a developer saves a document in PSB format, it will be opened in Photoshop CS only.
Advantages of Creating Layers in Website Designing Using Photoshop
Photoshop is helpful in website designing in many ways:
- It shows the final design of the website that can be shown to the client before going for actual development.
- Images can be resized which can be used at any place on the website.
- It allows us to take exact measurement which can be used to create web page design.
- It comes with grids and slice that creates a quality design.
- It allows us to save images for the website by resizing every image.
Layers keep the parts of the image separate which can be reused or edited in the future without affecting their resolution. You can separate parts of the image and edit them without affecting other parts of the image.
Keeping one layer on top of other and grouping them together gives the graphic designer the freedom to create unique designs for websites. Photoshop has numerous features to create smart objects and adding filters to create amazing outputs that eventually produces a great product.
These designs can then be easily used to convert into pixel-perfect websites with subtle effects. The non-destructive process of Photoshop to HTML conversions turns designers’ imagination into reality on websites, which is why layered designs are best for quality website development.