In this large community called the Internet, there are sites that draw the attention from the very first time and sites that draw away the visitors, not because of their content, but because of their poor design. Basically, you must respect one golden rule: Provide as much information as you like, but keep the access to it simple and intuitive. You must think that your site can and will be visited by all kinds of people – from beginners (not only in WWW, but also in computers) to computer experts. Both will appreciate an easy access to information, but the main difference is that neophytes can skip your site because they simply don’t know HOW to get the information. One of the best examples are the image maps, where different parts of a picture point to a different link. If you want to use this kind of link, at least provide an alternate way of access – usually a list of typical text links.
Don’t use colors that tire the eye, such as red or green (lime). Instead, you can choose the always preferred white, black, or dark gray. A dark blue can also be used, as it gives some effect to your page or site. If possible, don’t use pictures for background, because the text can’t be easily read and the visitors will go away from it. However, try to use contrast colors for background and text, such as white/black, white/blue, and so on. Also, pay attention to the text links and their color (normal, hover and visited). Usually, the default color for a text link is blue, so, if you use a black background, you will have to change the link color for one which will provide a greater contrast.
THE TEXT COLORS & HEADINGS
As much as possible, try to use few colors. If you use too many the site will look unprofessional, it will became gaudy. Try to use different shades of the same color instead of choosing new ones. I saw on some sites words where each letter had a different color. Red with Green with Yellow, and so on. Red with Green ? Anyone with some taste will realize that this is an incompatible combination, especially when both are fluorescent. Duh ! If you sell something or want to gain some reputation, avoid these combinations. The headings are also very important. The visitor’s eye will be attracted by bigger headings, or even by headings of an equal size but different in color or other attributes. You’ll want to make them bigger, but not too much – it will get worse. The difference between the heading and the text itself must be reasonable, so that the page may please the eye.
FINALLY – 10 RULES TO RESPECT
– Make the pages as small as possible. On-line time costs money, images make this time longer. Faster access will always attract the visitors. – Access to information, access to information, access to information ! Use as many ways as possible to access a page or a piece of information on your site! Be logical about this! – Don’t use animated GIFs ! They are large, slow, and unprofessional. – Integrate the images into your site, so it will look better. – Every 6 months, it is recommended to change the entire layout of the site. This will attract new visitors, which will see a dynamic, new web site. If you can, use templates and CGI scripts. Thus the time spent on this boring operation can be considerably reduced. – Always show something new! On the first page! This will also contribute to the sense of “dynamics” of your site. – If the visitors can submit to your site, it is better to do this in real time. I have had a software site where the submitted programs were added to the database in a matter of seconds. Many software authors have written to me about this, because everyone wants speed. – Try to impersonate your visitors and think what they would like from a site such as yours. – There is a variety of graphic modes and monitors which the visitors can use. Preview your site in as many modes and colors as possible. – Write the preferred browser type, graphic mode and colors somewhere in the page. There are many differences between, for example, Netscape and IE, and you won’t lose visitors for compatibility problems, will you ? These are just a few aspects in creating a professional web site, both attractive and well-conceived. If you follow them, you’ll greatly contribute to the creation of a new, professional web site. Good luck ! Article written by