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Writing for the web: Good web design

Aug26

Written by:
2010/08/26 08:31 AM RssIcon

In this series I have concentrated a lot on the actual skill of writing. But a big part of having your blog, website noticed is the actual site design. It matters not if your writing skills are top notch but your website sucks.

Web design can be deceptively difficult. It involves achieving a design that is both usable and pleasing to both the owner and the readers. It must  deliver information and build brands. It must also be technically sound and visually coherent.

So in order to get people to actually read your fantastic copy on your blog, make sure that your design is pleasing to the eye.

Here are a few tips.

Know your audience. Website design reflects your character and will appeal to certain people. Know your audience so you design with them in mind.

Load times. In countries where bandwidth is not a problem, the temptation is to have large files on the site, i.e. flash, video, pictures. Remember not everyone that reads your blog has a 20mb line. Keep your site as fast as possible.

Offer something valuable. Make sure each page on your site has something valuable to offer.

Popup windows. No, no, no. Very annoying.

Neat and easy navigation. Navigation on your site determines how long a visitor might stay and explore your site. Make sure your navigation is available on all pages.

Consistency. Make sure your site is consistent across all pages, Use the same theme, colours, font’s layout etc.

Use web safe colours. There are thousands of colours that we can use. But only a few are what we call web safe. That is colours that your browser will recognise.

Colour choice. This is an important one. Colour determines the mood of your site. It also determines the mood of the visitor. Choose your colours wisely. Also, make sure that there is proper contrast between background and text. ie. Red on blue just hurts real bad.

Ads. Too many ads and that's all I see. You don’t want to distract from the copy on your site. If it’s money that you are worried about. Build up a user base, then the few ads you do have will pay off.

Usability. Think about what users actually do. Where will they go and how will they get there. Adhere to standards as much as possible.

Typography. This relates to the layout of your site. Things like font choices, font sizes. Spacing, consider more white space on your site. It gives reader’s eyes a chance to rest. Line length and line spacing. Don have too many long lines that are tucked in tightly together, difficult to read. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point.

Use design element effectively. Use colour, contrast, size and other design elements such as graphics to direct the users eyes to the important areas on your blog or site.

Flash. Keep flash to a minimum, use it to add effect.

Sound. Oh a big no no. Don’t have background sound. If you must have sound on your site, leave it up to the user to play and stop it. Give them the choice.

Moving objects. Oh this is so 1990 and amateurish. Animated gifs all over the place. Not professional, despite being irritating.

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