Some website design guidelines and tips are based on common sense.
Website design guidelines and tips - just common sense
By Mary Magdalene Chia
Here are some design guidelines and tips to help you build a user friendly websites.
1. First, figure out what you want to do and make a plan for it. This may involves some brain storming. Then, translate your ideas and plans onto paper by drawing a diagram or a flowchart so that you can visualize it. Then, ACT on it.
2. Keep your design simple, clear, consistent and user friendly.
3. A simple design, layout makes it easier for you to build your website. The end result will be a website which your visitors will find easy to navigate and easy get whatever information they want.
4. Your content should be simple, complete and direct to the point. It should make clear the intention of your web pages, cover the subject matter thoroughly and convey the messages direct to your visitors.
5. If your design look complicated, redesign and simplify it. Complicated design/layout will only make it harder for you to build your web pages. It may also confuses your visitors if your site is full of complicated mess of information.
6. Be consistent throughout in your design approach. The background, color usage and text format should be carefully chosen and the screen layout for all your pages visibly consistent.
7. Create a simple logo to identity your website. Have a captivating tag line somewhere with the header, and write an About Us page which describes the uniqueness of your website. These will leave an impression for your visitors to remember your website. Make a copyright statement at the bottom of you web pages.
8. Have a clear color scheme based on the theme of your website. Choose carefully a set of colors you use for your background, text, border, tables and cells etc. The color scheme expresses the characters of your website and makes it unique and attractive.
9. Identify who are your target visitors and how you would make your presentation. Decide the tone of language usage and the approach that will best suit your visitors. Whether your language usage should be casual and simple or formal and technical? Whether you should use pictorial or language oriented approach in your website.
10. For ease of reading, the length of a text lines should not exceed certain width within the computer screen. To limit the length of a line of text, use indent text or use a table with the pre-set width.
11. Long blocks of text passages can be tedious and strenuous to read. Try to use short sentences, short paragraphs and bulleted or numbered list form to break them up.
12. The width of you web pages should preferably not exceed that of the computer screen. People viewing your site usually don’t mind scrolling up and down the screen; but will be annoyed when they have to scroll left and right.
13. Font size: use larger size font; Bear in mind that some of your visitors may have poor eyesight; some may have partial impaired vision and some ordinary people who just can’t stand reading tiny script on the computer screen.
14. The text color should contrast well with the background color to be easily read. Likewise, Background image or texture chosen should contrast well with the text color, so that it is easy to read on screen.
15. It looks great on the screen and soothing to the eyes. But it is not recommended to use white text on a dark background. When somebody wants to print out your page for reference, it won't print because the background will not be printed; while the white text is printed on white paper, you see nothing.
16. The images you put in a web page are not there just for decoration. They should be relevant and necessary to use as visual to help to convey the message, or serve to break a long and monotonous text messages.
17. Limit the size of an image you insert in a web page. Large image takes longer time to display, and most visitors don’t like to wait too long to view a certain image.
18. Keep the size of a web page small so that it will open up fast - preferably less than 10 seconds. If the page is too long, have too many items to load and slow to display, you should consider breaking it into smaller pages and link them up.
19. Contents such as video, audio, flash animations etc. are huge in size. They will slow down the display of the page. If it takes too long for to load a page, the viewers might give up and leave. They also use up more of your bandwidth.
20. Ensure that the visitors get around navigating your ,website, with ease. They should be able to find what they are looking for in quickly and get there. Use a menu or image map, a site map, arrows, links and buttons to provide direction to your visitors.
21. Make sure the pages are interlinked for easy navigation. Links should be well organized, strategically placed and easy to detect by using appropriate colors. Use anchor links to facilitate navigation on the same page. Always check for any broken links and fix them.
22. Load all the important and essential information in the first page that the visitors see. Give a quick introduction to your website with brief header, bookmarked lists, short summaries, etc. This will quickly let them know whether your page is what they are looking for.
23. Is your website screen layout look neat and tidy? Ask someone to have a look at it and get her feedback. You will be surprised!
24. The contents inside a table should have a little space between the borders. Set a padding around the table or set indent to your content.
25. Don’t simply add every neat gimmick and animated images you can find just because you think they are cool. In reality they are distracting and confusing.
26. Decide whether to use or not to use pop-up windows. They are great for catching the attention of the viewers; but can be distracting and annoying as well. Some viewers would dismiss pop-up as ads and close it immediately. Pop-up also will not work if the viewers have installed a pop-up blocker.
27. Encourage visitors to contact you by providing a Contact Us page with your email link. It is even better to have an opt-in box that serves to collect visitors’ contact and data.
28. Study other’s website design and set up. See how they layout and organize their header, links, menu, buttons, images and etc. Then choose, adopt and modify whichever design that suits your need.
29. Use website templates if you don't have any designing flair.
30. Make a back-up copy for all your web pages. It will save you a lot of trouble in the event that you have to rebuild your websites.
Well, some website design guidelines and tips - It’s all common sense.
About the Author
Mary Magdalen Chia is the author of "How to design and build your own websites".It is written for anyone who wants to design and build websites in 8 hours with simple, easy to follow step by step guidelines.
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