Searching for the right information on a web page can be a very frustrating
experience. Have you ever encountered web pages that are so cluttered with
information and graphics, that you leave, totally exasperated?
The same situation applies if you have a web site designed with animated
graphics, pop ups, revolving text etc. It may dazzle your visitors, but if it
takes more than 10 seconds to load, you will lose them. (see: "How to
Calculate and Speed-Up the Download Time of Your Web Site" - www.isitebuild.com/calculate.htm).
Start With a Simple Plan - to design a good web site you must start with a good
plan. Create a list of all the information and graphics you want to include on
the site. To see how to sketch out your site, see my previous article:
"How to Build A Web Site That Sells" - www.isitebuild.com/buildingA.htm
Factors That Effect Web Page Layout.
- Screen Resolution - Most Internet users these days use a 15-17 inch monitor.
Therefore, use a screen resolution of 800x600 pixels when designing your web
page. Some still use 13-inch monitors and many have large monitors over 17
The way around this is to use percentages when designing your web page. The web
page will then resize to the particular resolution the visitor is using. For
the designer, this takes more work than using a fixed width for your pages. If
you want to design your pages with a fixed length, then it's best to use a
resolution of 800x600 pixels.
- Contrast - strike a good balance between graphics and text. It is easy to
have too much text on your site (unless it is a book or an article). Visitors
usually scan web pages so make sure you use short sentences, small paragraphs and
it contains small headings
Too many graphics on your web page may create too much clutter. It also slows
the loading time of your site. Only use graphics to emphasize the points you
are trying to make. Remember, a graphic can also distract people from the
message you are trying to convey.
- Color - Have you ever gone to a site where there is a dark background and
dark text? You can hardly read it. Try to stick to a light background with dark
colored text. For example, a white background with black text is still the
easiest to read. Beware of using a dark textured background. The text will
become unreadable. The color should not distract your reader from the main
points of your site.
- White Space - this is the space between the elements on a web page. If there
is none or too little white space, your web page will appear disorganized. Try
to make the page look clean, simple, easy to read and navigate.
- Navigation - the key to good navigation of your site, is for your visitor to
find the information quickly and easily. It must be clear and simple. If the
presentation and organization of the content is vague, the visitor will get
lost, frustrated and move on to another site.
The home page is usually the web page that contains all the initial navigation
to your web site. However, planning your homepage is only a small fraction of
your job when designing your navigation. The deeper you can plan your site's
structure and navigation, the more successful your site's navigation will be.
With clear, clean, simple and attractive layout of your web pages, information
is easily retrievable. Your visitor will have an enjoyable experience and wish
* Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of iSiteBuild.com
Site Design and Low Cost Hosting
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