Monday, April 03, 2006

Seven tips for good web design

[Tags: , ]. Thanks to Jill Barrow at Thomas Telford School for prompting me to write this little list of tips. These are more conceptual than technical, but if all you want is technical skill, go and buy a book on Dreamweaver.

Tip 1: Know your objectives

Before you do anything, write down what you want your website to achieve. Do you want to sell products? Communicate information? Do you want to get people talking? Keep it simple and write it at the top of every page of planning. Whenever you're unsure what to do about a problem this will help you decide.

Tip 2: Think like your audience

What other sites do your audience like - and why? Why is your audience going to your site? Make it as easy as possible for them to get to what they want. Talk to them - and listen.

Tip 3: Have a brand idea

Write down five adjectives that describe how you want the site to look and feel. Do you want it to be modern, or traditional? New, or established? Authoritative, or radical? Funky? Friendly? Cutting-edge? This is your brand, and when you produce draft designs ask yourself: does this fit my brand?

Tip 4: Keep colour simple

A base colour and a second for emphasis is enough - if you're not convinced, look at famous logos and designs: Coca Cola (red and white), McDonalds (red and yellow), Orange (white and, er, orange). There are lots of websites that will help you choose colour schemes - explore them. You'll also find more advice on intelligent use of colour at Web Design From Scratch.

Tip 5: Use layout conventions

Most websites stick to a common layout with navigation down the left or, less often, along the top. Like having a contents page near the beginning of a magazine, users are used to this and get frustrated if navigation isn't where they expect it. Unless you've got a very good reason, stick to these conventions.

Tip 6: One point of contrast

Once you've settled on your layout try to keep your elements consistent - images should be the same size, text should be the same size. Then pick one element and make it bigger and bolder. This is your headline story, or your product of the day. By making it bigger you give your user an entry point into your page - but stop there. If you make any other elements big and bold too you'll lose any impact, so only do it once.

Tip 7: Test it.

On yourself and on other people. Set your users tasks and watch what they do - then redesign your site if you think it will make it easier for them to do what they want to do with it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are some awesome tips dude
love stewi

9:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these are good tips, anyone who reads this page should use these for ideas in your own web page.
i found them very useful

8:53 am  

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