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Copyright 2007

Design Tips

 

Using logos and images on your web site? Here are some general tips about how to get the best results.

Your logos and images should ;

  • be attractive and easy on the eye
  • help create the mood of your web site
  • print clearly
  • load quickly (under 10KB in size is good, under 5KB is better)
  • be displayed at an appropriate size
  • be saved in the correct format - either GIF or JPEG. (For cartoons and line art style images use GIF, for photographic images use JPEG)
  • blend well with your sites colour scheme
  • compliment your text and be related to the content displayed


Your home page is the most important part of your web site. How you design your home page has a huge effect on whether visitors will stay or leave and this decision is usually made within seconds of seeing your home page.

Your home page should;

  • display your business name and web site purpose
     
  • include your company logo or image
     
  • have a concise outline of the services and products you have available (including online shopping – this simply MUST be clear on your homepage if this is how you earn income from the site)
     
  • provide a ‘sample’ of what visitors will see if they click further into your site
     
  • grab the customers attention and entice them to look around
     
  • include small, fast loading graphics that compliment the topic
     
  • show text that is broken into clearly defined sections, displayed in columns – not the entire width of the screen
     
  • feature the service you provide or the product you sell in a prominent place 


Things to avoid....

We all make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Here are a few suggestions about things to avoid when planning your web site.

  • Background images can distract the viewer from the important information on your web site. If you 'have' to use a background image – keep it very light and suited to your web site style.
     
  • Too many big graphics on one page can make the page slow to load. Horizontal rules, icons and bullets can help divide up the content without making the viewer wait.
     
  • Avoid using italic fonts as these do not display well on almost all computer monitors.
     
  • Try not to use the same things we see on web site pages everywhere - like counters, under construction icons and free clip art. Try to find cheap custom designed graphics rather than use silly flashing smiley faces and the same shopping cart icons we are all familiar with.
     
  • Don't overload your visitors with too much information too soon. Try to be clear, concise and keep your objective in mind when creating content.
     
  • Try not to use too many fonts. Stick to a basic font like Arial, Times or Verdana for the bulk of your text. Headings can be creative, but make sure you use a font that most users will have already (yes, just because you have a fancy text called 'thingymijiggy' doesn't mean we all do). You can also convert your 'fancy' heading text into an image so that ALL visitors will see it displayed how you intended. Saving text as an image does increase download time slightly but this is a better alternative that the text appearing incorrectly.


     

Designing your own pages? Here are some simple do-it-yourself tips to remember.

  • Make sure you have plenty of white space. Visitors are more likely to stay longer if the design is not cluttered.
     
  • When using large amounts of text - try to use bullets and paragraphing to 'break up' the information into readable sections.
     
  • Body text size should be no less than 9 pixels in size. Some fonts, like Verdana, Georgia and Trebuchet MS, have been designed to allow smaller than 9 pixels to be readable on the web. However, most fonts begin to loose clarity below 9 pixels in size.
     
  • Add extra fonts as paragraph or page titles – not midway through a section of text.
     
  • Consider that most people prefer to read text in smaller column widths (perfect example is the newspaper). Try not to have anything spanning the entire width of the screen.
     
  • When using animated gifs, make sure the timing it fast enough to provide the movement effect you want, but not too fast that the viewer cannot understand the message behind the animation.
     
  • If possible, try to view your design on different size screens and in different browsers like Explorer and Netscape. Some design elements display differently on different browsers and screen sizes.
     
  • Keep your web design and layout easy to edit/update at a later stage. You want to be able to add extra menu items, more text and images as your site grows. You don't want to have to redesign the whole site when updating content.


 


Ally Lamont is the owner and designer of Web Graphics By Email. She creates fantastic web graphics, including logos, banners, web designs and photo collages, and then simply emails them to you for use!

 

 

 

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