Author Avatar Design Tips

by Webnme2 on Mar 20th 2010

Website Design Tips

  • Always test your design using different browsers and operating systems – what looks good in Internet Explorer may be a mess in Netscape and what works in the current version, may not work on an older browser used by your visitor
  • Know your audience – don’t add “bells and whistles” to show you can do it, if in doing so you end up excluding a part of your audience
  • Design for the monitor resolution of your potential audience –
    • if most of your visitors are likely to be using older equipment, make sure your site can be viewed with monitors set at a resolution of 640×480.
    • Most webmasters design so that their websites can be viewed with a monitor set to a resolution of 800×600.
    • Watch your visitor statistics – if a lot of your visitors are using MSN browsers, you can be that they have a chunk of screen taken by the side panel. The effective viewing area is probably going to be closer to 640×480.
  • Monitor Resolution Planning Tips
  • Keep images to a minimum to improve download time
  • Blinking objects are distracting and may be counter-productive
  • If you must use animated images, make sure the image is slow enough to see
  • Use color carefully – too many colors causes a visitor to lose focus or become confused
  • Settle on a consistent color scheme for all of your pages – this way your visitors don’t have to relearn your website on each page
  • Try to avoid the need for a plug-in to view your content – you will lose some people who are afraid to load the
    plug-in or not savvy enough to do the job

  • Plan your navigation before you design or re-design your site – where do you want your visitors to be able to go? How do you help them get there?
  • Visitors tend to expect navigation to be in the left column
  • Make sure your navigation scheme is consistent through out the site and in the same place on each page
  • If you use images or JavaScript for your navigation links, make sure to
    include text links at the bottom of the page

  • Make sure to have a search facility on your site – if you don’t have the ability to set up your own, get one from Atomz, Excite, Google, or other sites that allow you to set up a search on your site
  • You should make it a goal to keep content separate from formatting-by using style sheets
  • Speaking of format – try to limit the number of fonts that you use to three or less
  • Don’t use capital letters – it is considered to be “shouting” and impedes reading – most people read by the tops of letters
  • Make sure that you have good contrast – this is especially important if you have a dark background – red text on black is hard to read for many people
  • If you must use a background image, make sure it doesn’t steal the show or make it difficult for a visitor to read your pages – muted or subdued images are best
  • Make sure to give a visitor some means of giving you feedback, even if it is just an e-mail link – forms are better
  • Consider community building by adding a live discussion area or a web forum where visitors can leave comments or answer questions (for you)
  • Change your content – add new things – don’t let your site get dull

About Webnme2

The author's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites. This is his personal blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

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