Designer, author, trainer, and University Professor Marcelle Toor shares...
The Top 20 Web Design Tips
Your Web site should be well organized -- Create an outline before beginning the design process.
Every graphic on a web page should be necessary -- Each graphic should relate to the text on that page, to the message being communicated, and to the audience.
Background color should be easy on the eyes -- Some colors hurt the eyes and visitors to your site will leave quickly.
Colored text should contrast with the background so that it is readable -- Don't lose sight of the fact that text on a page should be able to be read.
Do not center all text on a page -- A large amount of centered text is difficult to read.
Keep your copy short -- People don't have the time or patience to read large amounts of text from a computer monitor
Keep width of text to about five inches -- Wide columns of text are difficult to read.
If using audio files, or movies, give viewers a choice whether or not to use them.
Don't use blue for regular text color -- Blue usually denotes links and can confuse the reader.
Don't underline text for emphasis -- Underlined text usually signifies a link.
Use motion sparingly! -- Motion should only be used when necessary to convey a message!
Check readability of text -- Cut it and paste it into a Word document. Check for grammar and spelling.
Always ask WHY you are putting certain information on the web -- Keep information short and sweet. If you want to give your viewers more information, create a pdf file for them to download.
Always have contact information on your site -- Put your e-mail address, phone if necessary in a prominent location on your site.
Use links to other sites that are relevant to yours -- You don't have to reinvent the wheel. There is a lot of information on the web that is relevant and can be helpful to visitors to your site.
Include the webmaster's e-mail address on the contact page -- Viewers can report missing links or other problems. Nothing is more frustrating than links that don't work.
Make sure your site is accessible to everyone regardless of the browser they are using -- There are no standards-no common denominators for the internet yet. Viewers have different equipment--modems with low baud speeds. Keep this in mind when including graphics and some of the bells and whistles you would like to use.
Do not forget that your web site can be viewed by anyone, anywhere -- If you are trying to reach a global audience make sure your graphics can be translated and understood internationally.
Check out your site on different browsers -- Colors will look different on a Mac than a PC.
Look at other sites -- you can get ideas for your site: good design, good navigation, graphics by looking at other sites.
Some valuable web sites to check:
SITES WITH GOOD TECHNICAL INFORMATION:
Use the Design Cafe Web Review Forum to get your site reviewed by online peers.
* Web design manual from Yale University
* Have your web site analyzed by Dr. Watson for download speeds, link validity, search engine compatibilty, link popularity and spelling. http://watson.addy.com
* Set up your web site so it is accessible to anyone on any browser. http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/
* To find out what not to do when designing your site check out this site and the book with the same name. http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com
* This site has good info on web design http://www.wpdfd.com/
SOME WELL-DESIGNED WEB SITES:
www.workbook.com - this site showcases work by illustrators and designers
* www.pbs.org/riverofsong Smithsonian Institution series for public TV and radio about American music
* www.RKDINC.com Design firm with online portfolio and good design tips www.commarts.com/career/index.html This is the site for Communication Arts magazine, a trade periodical for graphic designers. Click on jobs wanted and check out some sites of the firms looking for designers. This is a good source if you want to see well-designed, professional-looking sites.
* www.btdnyc.com This is a site for Beth Toudreau, a NYC design firm. I found this site on the CommArts web site
from Marcelle Tour Designs
copyright ©2002, Marcelle Toor
Another point of view...
Susan from Ann Arbor, MI , USA writes in with these additional comments:
This article highlighted several things that should be done when designing a website. However, there are a few other items that I feel should be added to the list of web design tips as they help make websites more usable for everyone:
Avoid the use of the words "click here" for link text. Instead use meaningful text that describes the link.
Label the navigation links on your website so they are consistent with the titles of the pages they link to. It can be confusing for a reader to click on a link labeled "Schedule", and to then be presented with a page titled "Email Us". Keeping the labels and the page titles the same improves the browsing experience for all users.
Always use alt text with the graphics on your site so that someone who is visually impaired, or users who are browsing with images turned off, will understand what the graphic represents.
When you use Dynamic HTML Menus on your website, also provide an alternate means of navigation for users with mobility impairments, as they may have difficulty controlling a mouse well enough to use the drop down menus.
When using tables for layout, add a table summary, so that visually impaired users will understand the layout of the page. Use a validator like Bobby, located at:
http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp to check for accessibility issues on your pages.
If you keep these things in mind when designing websites, you will keep your readers coming back because your site will help them find the information they need quickly and easily.
Excellent additions, Susan!
I thank you, and your readers thank you!
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