website design advice and guide

Designing the Website

Integral to how your Website is perceived is how it looks, visually. Ask yourself: What market are we in? Who is our target audience? How much information do we need to give our audience?

If you are selling a product or service, you've got to appear to be professional and authoritative. You want people to trust you and believe that the product/service you have is reliable and the best quality.

Layout: In General

First things first. Keep it simple. You just want to get information across to your visitors with as little fuss as possible. There's nothing more frustrating than getting to a website to find information is buried in a mess of unnecessary graphics, audio, animation, etc. which is slow to load.

Visually, the layout needs to be clean, clear and uncluttered. Keep limited to a palette of just 3-4 well chosen colours as this will make your layout more defined and consistent. Try to make your brand clear and focus on designing with your prospective client in mind.

Good photography is a real bonus when used well and will add considerable style and vibrancy to your web pages. Try not to go mad though, stick to just 1 or 2 good size photos on each page to minimize loading times.

Graphics

Graphics repeated throughout the site will be cached by the visitors browser. Think carefully about repeating graphics for header images and navigation to cut down on load times. You want to make your prospective clients visit to your Website as smooth as possible.

Photos, graphics and images will all need to be scaled and optimized for use on the Web. All images need to be scaled at 72dpi resolution, and graphics ought to be optimized to file size as small as possible without loosing quality. If you can keep general graphics files to less than 20k then your pages should load fairly quickly. Perhaps 20-30 seconds on a 56k dial up.

Please, I beg you, avoid the temptation to use gaudy tile images for backgrounds....

Multimedia

With Internet communications quickly speeding up, it's conceivable to employ short animation, video and audio in your Website. Sometimes you can convey messages to your audience more effectively with visual or audible examples. If you can do it, it can add a dynamic extra feature to your Website which may help it stand out from the crowd.





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