Basic Web Design Principles
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004
Home page should clearly indicate what the site is about. Provide top level navigation on the first page, your logo, and tell to the visitor what he can found on your web site. Your home page should be informative, and should call your visitor on action. Home page is the place where the visitor decides what he will do, click on some of your links, or leave the site. If you have a discount, or if you offer some free service in attempt to make a contact with potential customers, make sure to provide link to that service on your home page.
If you decide to implement flash intro on your first page, make sure to give the user possibility to skip the flash intro. The link “skip intro” should be outside of the flash, because you will force the visitor to wait until the Flash movie is loaded.
Place the navigation on the place where the people are used too look for it. Don’t experiment with the navigation! I can’t stress enough this. Keep the navigation system same on ALL pages. Visitors are not ready to learn your site navigation system. Consistency is the most important thing here. You should focus your effort on building consistent rhythm across all pages of your site.
Your font size should be enough big so your text can be read without effort. There are many people who will not bother to read very small letters. Don’t loose your visitors because of font size. Optimal size seems to be 12-13 points. Visitors should be able to read your text easy, without any effort. Broke big chunks of texts in paragraphs and make them easy to follow.
The length of a line of type should be comfortable to read. The optimal line length for printed materials seems to be about 10 to 12 words, or 60 to 70 characters. Somewhat shorter lines of about 40 to 50 characters may be more appropriate for larger displays. If the line is too long the reader must search for the beginning of it; if it is too short it will break up words or phrases awkwardly.
Creating emphasis is an important and integral part of designing and typesetting. Handled with taste and good judgment it can help direct and inform the reader. When these qualities are lacking, or someone feels that every word is important and must be emphasized in some way then your web page starts to look like a battlefield and becomes difficult to read!
It’s well known that one picture worth more than million words. This rule applies on Internet too. Do your best to show clear, attractive photo of your product. If you offer a service, find a photo which will best describe him. However, be careful about file size. Don’t compress your photo to that level to not be clear, but also don’t leave the photo on full quality. That will make file size too big, and will increase download time.
Gif vs. JPEG
Less experienced web designers many times use wrong format to store their picture. Here are few guidelines which will help mistakes to be avoided. If your photo has small number of colors (less then 64) GIF will be better choice. Make sure however to reduce the palette size too. That is, if your image have10-15 colors only, reduce your palette on 16 or 32 colors. Also, if your image contains text, GIF format should be your choice. JPEG use loosy compression method and will cause text and edges to become blurry. If you are saving a photograph – save it as JPEG.
JPEG images can contain over 32 million different colours. That is much more than the human eye can see.
If you want to incorporate large text into a photographic image, JPEG may be a good format to use. While the edges may still get blurred, danger of it becoming unreadable is slim. If you think your image is more important than the text, go ahead and use the JPEG format.
Do your best to reduce the download time. We live in a busy world and people are not will to wait long time. Try to reduce size of your graphics as much as possible without to destroy the image. Image must look good, but size (in KB) should be as small as possible.
Test before publishing
Do your homework, and do it well. Your visitors will not bother to send you an E-Mail that some of your links does not work or that some of your images does not appear. Even if someone do so, it is quite embarrassing. Perform spell and grammar checking. Remember that in many cases visitor will build his opinion about you or your company on base on your web site. When published, site should not contain any “under construction” or “coming soon” messages.
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Search Engine Positioning Firm