Writing

Basic Concepts to Help You Remember What’s Most Important to Help You Reach Your Website Goals

In the late ’90s, anyone with MS FrontPage or Adobe PageMill was considered a web designer. Truth is, just because someone can make web pages doesn’t mean they are a good web designer.In the late ’90s, anyone with MS FrontPage or Adobe PageMill was considered a web designer. Truth is, just because someone can make web pages doesn’t mean they are a good web designer.Here are some basic principles that I’ve found useful over the course of 6 positions and 14 years in internet web design.

Top-Level Goals Remember these fundamental questions:What is the purpose of your website i.e. what are you trying to do?

Who is your audience? You’ll never go wrong if you keep these in mind and let them inform your decision-making process.

 

Style versus FunctionOne man’s “pretty” website nirvana is another’s website from hell. Your design should support your primary goal as soon as users lands on your home page. And beware design that looks good but is difficult to build and maintain with little payoff.    If your intent is to inform or sell, users want information easily and quickly. Slow-loading audio/video elements or Flash should be used only as needed.    Users typically scan pages from left to right, then down diagonally right to left (the Golden Triangle or Z-Pattern). Respect this basic guideline and place important page elements somewhere along that path.

If a user is made to wait, chances are they won’t. If a user is made to work, chances are they won’t.

Clean CodeCode your pages in a way that makes the code easy for you to read, easy for the browser to render, and easy to maintain/update.    Beware hubris! There are no bonus points for building websites using only text editors. Knowledgeable designers use html editors for the same reason we use hammers: for faster work flow and better ways to catch errors.    When using any HTML editor, remember that the tool is only as good as how you use it. All add extraneous code / formatting, so beware their pitfalls.    Check your work in multiple browsers/platforms. A contractor was hired to move existing content to new template pages at my company. She positioned all content absolutely via CSS without checking her work. Pages were “broken”, and she wasn’t retained: a costly mistake.Above all, there’s always something to learn from each project (good and bad) and every job!Some Author Information Personal Website Development Language/Editor: PHP/DreamweaverProfessional Website Development Language/Editor: .NET/Visual Studio 2010Development Platform: PC