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netCatalysts: Web Design Articles:Checklist for Effective Web Design

A "Good Looking web site" is not necessarily a "Good website"! Professional web designers shall have a check-list of elements that make up those in the category of "Good Websites". Website designing principles that can spell the difference between online business success or failure.

  • Visual Appeal

    "First impression is the last impression" the acronym holds good in case of web design. A website has to attract immediate attention of visitors and we all know that whether its internet savvy visitor or first time user he is short of one thing-TIME. So it has to be right impression without him investing muck of his precious time.
    The best philosophy that works here is KISS- KEEP  IT SIMPLE, STUPID that means clean, uncluttered, professional and attractive website.  

  • Content

    How often we as web professionals say and hear "Content is King in case of search engines" But content is king even to your visitors. Every web page has a particular purpose and each page has a specific function to perform. That function should be clearly understood by all visitors to a web site. Whether it's to elicit feedback, promote your company, present product information, etc., all play a role in the ultimate goal of growing your business.

  • Speed

    We all know that speed is the key to keeping visitors. Not everyone has broadband. Yes, there are still a fair number of users surfing the internet with slower, less efficient ,dial-up access. Visitors do get impatient if it takes us too long for a page to download. So you must ensure that page loads as quickly as possible. That means no big, flash graphics. When possible, use text instead of graphics, static graphics instead of animation, several smaller pages instead of one large page.

  • Graphics and Layout

    The graphics and lay-out of your home page contribute to that first impression. Think about overall image your company and make sure everything on your website contributes something towards that overall image.

  • Readability

    Some of the sites with Dark backgrounds, fancy fonts and illegitimate font size makes it painful experience trying read content on the page. Certain colored backgrounds make it very difficult to read text; purples, orange and reds dazzle the eyes. Avoid fancy fonts and use the more legible standard-bearers like Verdana and Times New Roman. For standard text, use font sizes of at least 10 pt. The color of your text is just as important.

  • Navigation

    Navigation around and through your business web site must be clearly visible and easy to use. Your main navigation bar should run down the left side of your page, for we're accustomed to reading from left to right and from top to bottom. It's also a good idea to have a brief navigation bar along the bottom of the page for easy navigation.

  • Headings and Sub Headings

    To make your page easy for your visitors to read its better breaking it up into little 'chunks' for them. We need to divide a web page horizontally, by the use of headings and sub-headings.

    Read through each section and see if it can be further divided into smaller points. Select a font for all your headings and sub-headings. This way it's easy to recognize which is a heading and which is a sub-heading.

  • Customer Confidence

    The most important things you have to do is to ensure that your potential customers feel confident dealing with you. On the web, you do this by telling people exactly what you're doing to safeguard their interests. It's worth having a separate page for privacy policy which sets out your policy towards their mail addresses; how you accept orders; how you gather information; who has access to this information; and so on.

Web Design Articles