While designing a web page may appear simple, there are actually some very important aspects to remember which make it more complex than simply pulling text and graphics together.
If you have an understanding of the coding behind a website (such as HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP) then you have the ability to build your own pages and determine content, colour, text size, tables etc yourself. However, if you’ve less knowledge of the coding involved in building a website, you may opt to use a web design software package or opt to hire a web designer to help you.
Whichever method you choose as best to create your web pages, the first thing you need to do is put together a plan of action i.e. What do you want your site to achieve? Who will be using it? Etc.
Define Your Requirements
What information are you trying to provide? What must be on the page? Are there videos? Links? Documents? Is it text heavy or graphical? All of these things have to be thought about before building the page to make sure they fit and work correctly. It’s often beneficial to use simple pen and paper to work out how all of the elements needed on your page can best fit together. Once you have a clearer idea of exactly what the page should be doing, it is far easier to go ahead and create it.
Identify Your Audience
You need to know who you are trying to reach before you design your web pages. Knowing your audience will help you present information in a suitable manner to interest that audience. There is no point, for example, in writing your content in a manner which people wouldn’t understand.
One of the biggest frustrations for visitors to a website is not being able to find what they are looking for. Most visitors want to be able to find content fairly easily. To that end, you should think about how users will navigate around your site. Well there be an overall sitemap, will you provide a main navigation on ever page, will you provide search boxes or quick visit drop down menus? If people can’t easily get around your site, you may find the leave and don’t return. Clean navigation is also important for search engines as it allows them to easily crawl your website to rate your content.
Page Response Time and Speed
Loading speeds are becoming important, particularly given the social media items that can be pulled onto a page. It’s no longer difficult to pull videos and photo albums directly from the likes of Flickr or YouTube. If your page has to many images, to much text, to many feeds or videos then you may find it doesn’t load fast enough. If this is the case on your broadband, think how it will be for those on dial-up internet or slower broadband connections!
When adding graphics to your site, make sure to save them in a suitable format (JPEG and GIF are the most popular). When inserting shapes, lines, backgrounds, buttons or any graphics that only have a few colours, a GIF file is best. JPEG files are best suited for pictures. Also be aware of the size of the file you save. The larger the file size, the slower your web pages will load. Also make sure to use “Alt” (alternative) text on your web pages.
Fonts and Colours
These should be based on how best you believe they can help present your message to your intended audience. Small fonts aren’t suitable for those with reading difficulties and certain coloured text on specific back ground colours are difficult to read (e.g. orange text on a red background or white text on a yellow background). Fonts don’t always load correctly on different browsers either, so make sure to test before confirming which fonts you are going to use.
An important factor when choosing a layout is a headline. This is most likely the first thing your visitors will see and is predominantly what they will use to establish what content is on the page. Make sure it grabs attention and is relevant. For instance you wouldn’t write “information on product X” if the page was actually about product Y.
Web design can be a simple or complex process depending on your own personal creative and development ability, and the tips above are intended to give you a helping hand. If you’re still not sure of the process or would like some assistance, then contact the web design team at Easyspace today for a free web design consultation.