Good Web Design Principles
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      >  Tutorials  >  Good Web Design



    Principles of Good Web Design

    Good design is essential to a successful website. This is because design not only encompasses the appearance of your site, but the usability of it too. A badly designed website will drive visitors away, make it hard for them to find the information they want, or make it harder for you to achieve your objectives such as making sales, or earning advertising/affiliate marketing revenue.

    Here are a number of things that you should consider when designing your website:
    • Navigation

      Having gone to the trouble of creating a website, and providing information on it, you want it as easy as possible for users to find that information. This means your design must include a simple and straightforward method for users to navigate around your website.

      There are really two aspects to good navigation:

      1. You must make sure that the information on your website is logically and consistently organized - this is particularly important for large websites with many pages - where lack of a logical structure would mean that users could easily get lost.

      2. You must provide clear and uncluttered navigation buttons, menus or controls.

    • Text

      Text on your website needs to be well-written, as well as easy to easy to read and follow.

      Individual pages on your text should not present a wall of unreadable text. Each page should focus on a specific topic, and be organized into paragraphs. You can also use diagrams (images), subheadings, and bullet points, to help get your points across more clearly. If any individual page is too long, consider splitting it into two or more shorter pages.

      You should also remember that most people prefer to read shorter amounts of text on a computer screen than they might read offline - so keep your paragraphs short and concise.

      Finally, don't forget colors and choice of fonts - you can use these to increase readability.

    • Images

      In the early days of the web it was common to see web pages littered with dozens of unnecessary images (often flashing and/or animated) that added nothing of value to the website. While few would make this mistake today, many sites do include numerous unnecessary images - so think carefully whether each image you include in your design is adding something of value.

      As far as the images you do include, make sure that each is saved in the appropriate web image file format (for example, photographs should usually be saved in the JPEG format) so as to optimize page loading time.

    • Flash

      There are advantages and disadvantages to using Flash as part of a website design. Rather than just stumbling into a decision based on what tools you have handy or your web designer's mood, you should therefore make a considered decision whether to use Flash at all, and if you decide to use it, to what extent you will use it.

    • Standards Compliance and Cross-Browser Compatibility

      If possible, it is generally best to try to develop your site in line with current web standards, as this means that fundamental adjustments to it are less likely to be required in future.

      Even more important than Standards Compliance is the fact that you must ensure your website works properly on all the web browser's that are important to you. Which particular browsers, of course depends in part on your audience. Be sure to test your website on all applicable web browsers, but even more importantly, before starting development check the current compatability of any technologies you plan to use (e.g. Flash) with your audience's web browsers.

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