3/22/2011

Top Ten Tuesdays- Guide to Web Design

Designing your own site on the Web can be a time taking, yet rewarding endeavor. What separates the "beauties" from the "beasts" (in terms of Web design) can be an even more complicated discussion. What makes some Web sites great, while others lag is all about the implementation of content mixed with a great user-friendly design.

Here are my Top Ten Suggestions for Web design:

In terms of Design...........

10. Contrast. Keep the Design simple, keeping contrast in mind. Why are so many sites on the Internet white with black text? Simple- it is easy on the user’s eyes and therefore it is easier to read. Go ahead and use colored backgrounds, just keep in mind that you use dark text for light backgrounds and light text for dark backgrounds.

9. Images. Large graphic files or images that do not relate to the topic should be avoided. Sure, you may have some sort of high speed Internet- but does your best viewer? Keep all of your image FILE size small by using a photo editing software, JPEG in format (use GIFF for text images), and relevant to your topic. If you need to have a larger photo (for example: to show detail in something you have created) have it as a separate Web page and have the user "click image for a larger view." This will enable your site to load faster.

8. Repetition. Keep your site to one-two font styles and size, keep your background consistent from page to page, and carry some page elements (such as type of bullet you use) throughout your entire Web site. I have seen some Websites that have a different background color for each page. I often questioned myself if I was on the original site while navigating through it.

7. Spacing. Take advantage of white space- use it to space out paragraphs, between images, etc. to make viewing your site easier on your user’s eyes.

In regards to making it user friendly.............

6. Text. Make the text of your Web site for the computer and not for print (such as a newspaper or book). Keep your paragraphs short and make your font style computer screen friendly. I suggest an Arial font and staying away from fancy text that is hard to read. Note: It's okay to have some fancy text, such as your sites title, but don't use it for your entire content.

5. Click-able Links. Make links change color so the user can tell what they have previously clicked on and do not underline non-linking words as it may confuse the reader. In fact, it is often better to have links three colors: One color to let the users know that the selected text is an active link; the second color for when they hover over the link; and a third for the visited link. Make sure to check your links periodically to make certain they are still working!

4. Navigation. How do you keep your readers engaged in your site is highly determined by how easy it is for them to navigate around your site. Make sure all menus are clearly labeled and sidebars are neat. Helpful Hint: By nature we read everything from left to right. Have your most important information in the top left (i.e. the name of your site) and then so on and so forth.

In terms of content............ 

3. Goals and Objectives. BEFORE you begin your site, set out some simple goals and objectives you would like to accomplish by a particular date. What type of content will you cover, how will you market your site, and where do you see your site 6 months or even one year or more from now? This keeps you focused and organized. Update your goals and objectives accordingly.

2. Search-ability. You have a great idea. Your content is well written, is organized and presented neatly. Then why are you not getting the response that you want and/or deserve? Think about the titles of your Web pages (and/or blog posts) as well as your tags and Meta tags. Instead of naming a blog post, for example, "I am Going to Pull My Hair Out!" think what your post is about. "3 Year Old Temper Tantrum Crisis" may result in more hits via search engines. I laugh because when I began this blog I did a comic post about Inafitits. As of today, I am #1 in the Google Search for the term "Infatitis" (which is a condition that doesn't exist). Check out my Google search here.

1. Contact Information. Make your contact information easily accessible- if that is your goal to be contacted. Have it on the bottom or on a side bar of every page of your site, instead of having your viewer try to search for it. Having a "Contact Me" tab is wonderful, however it is just as easy to have it on the bottom of every page.


I have been creating Web sites for years and have found these tips to be the most beneficial. Of course there are several more that didn't make the cut on my top 10, (such as don't plagiarize and keep animation (Flash of or GIFF) to a minimum) but I firmly believe that these 10 will lead you in the right direction building a stronger Web site (and/or blog).
 

1 comment:

  1. As a relatively new blogger (less than 2 months) some of your tips are things I learned the hard way! I most especially agree with the font suggestion!!

    I am a new GFC follower and found you on Blog Hop...or Bounce! Would love you to check out my blog and follow back: IDoTheeWedSara.com

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Aimee ~Classified: Mom

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