Elements of Effective Web Design
Businesses that are creating their first web site easily get afflicted with a love for web designs that include whirling, spinning, and flashing animations. This is part of an overall trend to use advancements in technology when it becomes available whether it is useful or not. So, a word of caution, use the new toys – but use them wisely.
The following are elements found to be common in good web design:
Simplicity in web design
Study the web designs of prestigious, large corporations. Scrolling text and gif animations are used conservatively or not at all. Too much repetitive movement is distracting and sometimes annoying. Try to keep scrolling text and gif animations to a minimum.
Simplicity in web design should also be reflected in background choice. Busy, loud backgrounds detract from content and make text illegible. Too many colors or fonts can also be distracting and give the site a cluttered feel.
Consistency in web design
Use one web design throughout the entire web site. Remember that to a visitor, a web site is a physical place. It is confusing if pages within a site are not consistent in design. Color is sometimes used to identify different sections of a web site but the web design and navigation should remain consistent throughout the site. Choice of fonts is also part of the design. Be consistent in your use of fonts.
Web site identity
Keeping with the concept that a web site is a physical place, consider the purpose of the site and reflect that purpose in the web design. A web site should reflect the philosophy and identity of the business or entity for which it was designed. Use of color and fonts again has a large impact on the ‘look and feel’ of the site. Choose these elements carefully.
Web site content
Have you ever taken the time to hunt down a web site to find particular information, waited for the page to load, and then not found the information you needed on the web site? Make sure that as much information as possible is made available on your web site.
Navigation is part of web design and one of the most important elements of your design. Make sure that you lay out a logical and effective method of site navigation. Consistency is again important. Spend time sufficient time on the navigation design of your site. Ask the opinion of others. Do they ever have to hit the back button? If you use graphics for navigation, provide alternate text navigation. You may include top-level links and an email link. After putting all that good content on the web site, you want to be sure your visitor’s can find it!
The visual appeal at first seems to be a hard quality to define. Certainly part of visual appeal involves personal preference but another part is reflected in adherence to the qualities of simplicity and consistency. Visual appeal is also dependent upon the quality of graphics used in a web site design. Spend some time visiting sites that you think are appealing. Notice the graphics on high-level corporate sites. You won’t find any ‘jaggies’ on these sites! Images must be properly anti-aliased to the background of a site.
Make your web site platform, screen resolution, and browser are compatible. If the site is not compatible to all viewers, consider creating alternate pages for those without the capability to view the enhanced site.