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From RichoSoft

Basic Guide

Detailed below are some important aspects to consider when designing or setting out your specs, for a web site. They are not everything you need to think about but a sample of some of the key points.

Usability

Usability is the without doubt, the most important aspect to web design. It's all very well having a beautiful looking dynamic web site, but if it takes a long time to download or is difficult to navigate, users will give up and visit someone else's site. Users want to find the information they are looking for - if they don't find it quickly, they will look elsewhere.

Designing a Web Site

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Think about your users, put them first. Think about how you, if in their place as a user, would like to navigate and view the site. It’s all very well you knowing how to find a particular item, but is it easy for them to find it. Try not to make anything more than a couple of clicks away, there’s nothing worse than having to navigate loads of menu options to find what you are looking for.

Make sure the page structure is optimised. Most reading is done from top left to bottom right. The navigation is most important, but should occopy as little of the page as possible.

Put the most important information at the top of the page so that it is viewable without having to scroll down the page.

Align items horizontally and vertically they are easier to read and add to a pleasing layout.

Content

Writing for the Internet is different to writing a book:

● Keep it concise - Less is more!

● Use bullet points or numbered lists were possible.

● Keep page lengths short.

● Avoid centring text, it makes it hard to read.

Accessibility

Accessible to everyone is the key to a successful site:

● Make sure it works correctly on all browser versions.

● Make sure it works without downloading plug-ins first..

● Use correctly apportioned tags and titles.

● Check that the colours used are not bad for people with colour blindness.

Graphics

Use as sparingly as possible and make sure they are relative to the content:

● Keep the file size small to reduce download times.

● Use jpgs instead of pngs as the files are smaller.

● Always supply meaningful alt text for those disabling images.

Consistency

Make sure you keep navigation elements in the same place:

● Be like other web sites, most have their logo in the top left..

● Keep font styles consistent and use web safe fonts..

● Links should be underlined so it is clear where to click.

● Navigation bars are more often than not at the top of the page.

Simplicity

Finally, keep it simple, is the key to a good site. Clear headings and sub-headings, highlight important words, use a pale background with dark text and avoid colours that clash.

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