5 Essential Tips for Effective Websites
I admit that for this issue of ATPM, I was so excited about Photoshop's newest version that I didn't really concentrate on the art section. However, one of our dear readers sent me an e-mail asking for some Web design guidelines. It was then that it hit me: I remembered compiling a list of Web tips to help me design better Web sites (if only I could read my own chicken-scratch handwriting...err here.. :P ). After some tweaking around, they shaped up enough to be published. The more you stick to these guidelines, the more efficient your site will be. Enjoy...
- Visually Appealing
- Easily Navigable
Visually Appealing: It is a Joy to Behold
- Images should be simple, yet convey immediate meaning.
- Text should be clear.
- Animations can be very eye catching.
- Overall color of text and images should contrast nicely.
Pitfall: Webmasters tend to opt for beauty over clarity. Always make sure that your first concern is to keep everything clear and easy-to-read.
Example of a visually appealing site: http://www.metatools.com
Easily Navigable: Simple and Accessible
- Avoid frames whenever possible.
- Make sure you provide text links in addition to the graphical ones.
- Try to have an intuitive on-page navigation system.
Pitfall: Frames, Frames, Frames, Frames, Frames, and more frames. Ever heard of tables? :D
Example of an easily navigable site: http://altavista.digital.com
Timely: The Web Site is Speedy
- Smaller images make for faster downloading.
- Avoid unnecessary Java applets, sounds, and other time-consuming items.
- Animations can be fun but don't over do them.
- An image may convey a million words but it also downloads a million times slower.
Pitfall: New technologies may be spiffy, but how much interest does an end user have in a video life-stream of the back of your bedroom?
Example of a timely site: http://www.apple.com
Useful: The Web Site is Useful
- The only reason an end user will keep coming to your site, is if he/she finds it useful (depending on the purpose of your site).
- Make sure that your site serves its purpose instantly. If you are selling cars, you don't have to show the corporate identity of your company first; show the prices! Anyway, whoever considers buying from you will probably go through the corporate identity anyway.
Pitfall: Give end users what they want and not what you want them to see.
Example of a useful site: http://www.downloadnow.com
Innovative: Thrill Me
- Always have in mind that the end user has seen it all. A ready made Java applet won't be enough to make you site innovative.
- Always try to bend the rules. Example: You learned about animated GIFs, but have you ever tried them as a background for you page? Check out http://www.atpm.com/4.08/example for a cool example.
- Everyone raved about Apple's "Toasted" campaigns, because they were head-on collisions with Intel-based machines. Although I loved them myself, I still think "Think Different" campaigns were good, at least different. If that doesn't do it, think "iMac"!
Pitfall: There is a fine line between being different and being confusing. Make sure that even with the heluva of chaos that you design, everything is comprehensible.
Example of an innovative site: http://www.ozones.com/~drozone/
Hope you found it an interesting read! Please feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, thoughts, criticisms, or simply topics you would like discussed in here.