Ten Simple Web Design Tips
When developing a new website there are many factors that you should consider before you ever begin coding the website. In order to make best use of your time and talents, you can follow some simple guidelines that will help you make the best site possible.
1. Use wireframes. One of the first things you should develop when you are working on the creation of a website is a wireframe. This is a simple graphical layout that can be quickly sketched with a pencil and paper. In this sketch, you can use simple shapes, such as squares, rectangles, circles and others to represent different parts of the website. For example, you might have a tall rectangle in the middle of the paper to denote where the main content of the page will be, and a short wide rectangle at the top of the page to denote the header of the website. Using a wireframe in this manner will help speed up the design process.
2. Create the content first. Before working on any design work, try to come up with your content first. If you try to do both design and content work at the same time, you may feel overwhelmed and frustrated. By creating the content of the pages before you create the design, you will have a mental picture already prepared for what the website should look like.
3. Code by hand, if at all possible. If you have a choice between a GUI editor and creating the website by hand in a text editor, it can be very beneficial to use the text editor instead of the GUI utility. Coding a website by hand can reduce unnecessary code in the website, and there are some designs that can be difficult to implement in a GUI editor. Additionally, if you find pieces of other websites that you like, you can have an easier time inserting them into your website if you do it by hand, instead of with an editor.
4. Use CSS. When creating a website that has multiple pages, it may make sense to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to easily control the design and layout of the pages. CSS allows you to define pages styles, formatting, colors and lots more through a single page, called a style sheet. This style sheet is stored on the web server, and each page on the website references it when loading on a user’s computer. This central location for determining the style of a website makes it extremely easy to change things around, and is crucial for websites larger than a few pages.
5. Use HTML. Many web programming standards have been developed since the creation of HTML. ASP, XML and XHTML are all examples of these new, growing programming languages. However, when creating a site, it’s often good to try and use strictly HTML for all of the pages you can, simply because it’s displayed virtually the same on virtually every web browser in use. There are some exceptions, but in general, if you can design a page in pure HTML, then you can reach a broader audience than one that uses a lot of other languages.
6. Look for designs online. Whenever possible, look at the implementation of other peoples’ websites for inspiration for your own. Many mental blocks or problems designing a website can be fixed by looking at what other people have designed, and taking information from those designs and applying it to your own. Obviously, you should not plagiarize code that isn’t your own, but you can use other designs and code for help with yours.
7. Consider using a CMS. A Content Management System, or CMS, is a type of webpage that is easily updated and changed without a lot of code changes required. One of the biggest uses of CMS’s is in the area of blogs, where frequent updates to a website are required. Generally, a CMS takes a short time to set up, and can involve things of a technical nature. Once it’s been set up, however, it is easy to use and can be easily upgraded, changed or otherwise affected however you choose to do it.
8. Avoid standard Frontpage templates. Unless you are designing a website where a standard FrontPage template is required, you should avoid using them. People have routinely used FrontPage and other software programs’ default templates for years, and the designs are not unique in the eyes of site visitors. Try finding other templates online, or create your design from scratch or with the help of an experienced web designer.
9. Test your designs on potential users. The importance of testing designs on users before deploying them cannot be overstated. When designing any type of website, whether it is targeting a large audience or a small one, user feedback is extremely important. Even if you only ask some of your friends or relatives what they think of your website, you can get valuable feedback on design points that you might not have otherwise considered. Testing you designs on potential users will also prevent you from having to redo your designs multiple times to account for things that you might not have caught if you hadn’t tested it.
10. Utilize interface design principles. User interface design principles come from the fields of systems engineering and computer science and are extremely important when designing any user interface, including a website. Color coordination, proper button layout and alignment of content and flow from page to page are all types of interface design principles. If you take the time to do some research in this field and employ some of the principles in your design, you’ll be guaranteed to create a website that is easier and more intuitive for people to use. Many books have been written on the topic, and are available in difficulty levels from novice to expert.
All websites require work and a bit of talent to implement. By following these ten web design tips, you’ll have an easier time creating your websites and they’ll be of a much higher quality than they otherwise would be.
Article Provided By:
Adaptivity Pro Web Design
Salt Lake City Utah
P.O. Box 951049
South Jordan, UT