In this essay I will be talking about the differences between two distinctive websites. The websites are www.stopdesign.com (‘Stop’) and www.cyphondesign.com (‘Cyphon’) Both American companies are well established in web and graphic design and have been around for over eight years. Their websites are very well laid out and nicely designed which you would expect however I personally prefer Stop designs website because of their use of more colours makes it feel more put together and more welcoming than Cyphon’s website as it is too reliant on their signature greenie blue which to me feels clinical. At first glance you come to realise that Stop design’s home page and in fact the whole site is better planned and also significantly more user friendly. Stop design’s site is W3C approved which Cyphon’s isn’t. Stop’s pages unusually has XHTML and CSS buttons at the bottom which I’ve never seen on a site before, the XHTML button takes you to the W3C Validation Service and tells you that Stop’s site is XHTML strict. The CSS button takes you to the W3C CSS Validation Service to work as intended, your CSS style sheet needs a correct document parse tree. This means you should use valid XHTML for your source code and the Cascading Style Sheet, enabling any browser to read your site because if you use HTML being the older language used to develop documents on the World Wide Web before 2001. As the name suggests it is a Markup Language, this means it contains a number of tags which indicate what facility is required by the writer during the design process that is then displayed on the physical website through almost any browser. Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) is the next version of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) released in 2001 which eliminated errors with source codes there by simplifying web design. For this reason it is touted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as being its successor as it is compatible with all internet browsers. I do find it interesting that Stop does not have a site map, unlike Cyphon who have and site map also a links or rather a recommended links button, which indicates to me they may be more community orientated on the webmasters front. From what I have seen Cyphon is a text only site without pictures where as Stop is primarily text based pages with only selected pages relying on pictures within the portfolio. The rollover buttons and icons within both sites are interesting. The Stop design’s rollovers are mostly small pictures which I find works well by being more aesthetically pleasing. I have noticed more and more sites are using similar icons. Cyphon website is as I said a text only and with the rollover buttons they’ve used works well and keeps in theme with the rest of the site. Both sites have used tables to display their text, tables being the most prominent way of displaying text and pictures. Tables are flexible and practical both sites are displayed in a way some people could call a magazine column theme using the space to its maximum while still keeping clear areas. After the home page Cyphon has used only top and side banners primarily to keep wide open white space, Stop design has created the whole site as a whole; there are no white spaces or any open areas, it is entirely enclosed. Since starting the Dreamweaver course it has helped me to understand website design, function and practicality. It also has given me insight to notice things within sites and pages that I wouldn’t have even been aware of. I’ve looked at the Stop design site for months and only just realised that they have created a contact form within the contact page which is interesting because most websites like Cyphon rely on the messenger service within the browser for the form, making life easier. In all I have to say as a graphic designer I like the Stop design website for its shear look and style, however as a web designer for ease of design and practicality I do prefer the Cyphon design website because it achieves the same goal as Stop’s but in a plain and simpler way, and that’s what makes good web design. If you can make a site that looks as good as the other but in a plainer and simpler form that is functional then you’ve created a decent website. Although it never hurts to include a few pictures to make it that bit more interesting.