More and more people around the world are using the Internet, and the numbers are increasing everyday. The Internet has become the primary source of information for many, and because of that, web sites have to constantly improve the content and image of their web pages in order to keep users interested in accessing their sites.
What are the measures that should be implemented by web designers in order to make their sites more appealing to users around the world? Here is a list of issues that can be encountered in web design and the necessary action to be considered:
1. Availability of basic features
First, the design of a web site should be compatible to any browser. It should be able to pass HTML and CSS validation tests. Second, web sites should be able to cater to disabled users. This won’t be a problem as long as designers adhere to web standards. Third, the process of navigating a web site should be simple enough for all users. No user likes to encounter a new site, and then he or she has to figure out how to navigate around it. Fourth, status bars should be available. It shows the destination of links as the cursor is being moved. The status of the current page is also displayed as it loads.
2. Appearance of the pages
There are four elements that make up the appearance of a web site. They are the fonts, color, graphics, and writing.
Fonts are not just a matter of personal preference of the user and the designer. The primary importance of font choice is that it affects how fast the users can read the information being presented. Arial fonts are usually recommended over the Times New Roman and the Verdana.
When applying color, it is important that there is enough contrast between background and foreground in order for the content to be readable. To achieve maximum contrast, black text against a white background should be used. Link colors should be established at standard settings.
When it comes to graphics, bear in mind that some pages get too overloaded because of the use of too much images. As much as possible, use graphics only to support the content being presented to users. A lot of people actually have the tendency to shut off the images when browsing for information.
Web designers should remember the distinction between writing for the web and writing for print. Web content should be short and straight to the point.
3. Site performance
There are three factors that determine the overall performance of a web site. These are speed, tables, and connections.
Since everyone is hankering for more bandwidth, the best that designers can do is to avoid the usage of design that will take up too much bandwidth, because not every user has access to fast Internet connections.
To avoid making the site appear like it takes forever to download, avoid loading putting a whole page inside a table. Instead, divide the page into several tables.
Web designers should not cloud a page with too much items for the simple reason that each item requires a separate browser for the whole page to be downloaded.
4. The occurrence of bugs
Of course, no one wants to have bugs in his system. To avoid this, body text should be set up with relative font sizes. One has to consider that there are users out there who have poor eyesight, and they would like to adjust the font sizes through their individual settings in order to read the text more clearly. The relative value recommended for this would be:
In case of URLs, it should be simple and short, containing no punctuation or spaces. Users should be able to copy a URL and paste it into an email message without it being wrapped in multiple lines. To avoid dead links, redirects should be established, in order to avoid the breaking of bookmarks and links.
Web designers should make sure that navigation features will be present at all times, whatever the size of the window the user is using. Browser windows should be maximized when applying design, because not every user will be surfing the Internet in a maximized window.
The following website sections drew the most attention from the participants:
• Logo (6.48 seconds)
• Main navigation menu (6.44 seconds)
• Search box (6 seconds)
• Social media icons (5.95 seconds)
• Main image (5.94 seconds)
• Written content (5.59 seconds)
• Bottom of the website (5.25 seconds)
Keep it simple
A well-laid-out, easy-to-navigate website will always be more effective than one that’s cluttered and overloaded with information. Dan Veltri, co-founder and chief product officer of Weebly, advised limiting your top-level navigation menu to five clearly labeled tabs with related pages organized under those.
“Five to 10 pages is sufficient for the majority of situations,” Veltri said. “Add site search to the top-right corner of your site so that visitors can quickly find what they are looking for. Use a few strategically placed, high-quality photos to give your site a professional look.”
Provide easy access to contact information
A good business website should drive calls and sales leads, but it can’t do that if your potential customers can’t reach you, said David Brown, CEO, chairman and president of Web.com.
“Your contact information should be visible, preferably at the top of the home page, so that visitors don’t have to search for a phone number or address if they want to contact the business,” Brown told Business News Daily.
Veltri agreed, noting that having a contact form accessible through the main navigation menu is the best strategy.
As the Missouri S&T study found, users spend time looking at both social media icons and the bottom of the website. Including your social links in the header and footer of your site will serve as both an attention grabber and a way to keep in touch.
Take advantage of SEO
A picture may be worth a thousand words, especially on a website. But that picture needs to be SEO-friendly in order for customers to find your business.
“SEO is another critical factor of website design,” Brown said. “Search engines will analyze your website from the top to bottom, left to right. Pictures will not be picked up by search engines, so be sure to include keywords that will enable your site to appear in results.”
Make it mobile-optimized
As consumers increasingly use smartphones and tablets to browse the Web, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your business website can smoothly transition from desktop to mobile views.
“Consumers already demand a desktop experience when browsing on a mobile device or tablet, and mobile-optimized websites will be the key ingredient to delivering on that demand,” Brown said. “Websites with limited content and clunky navigation will be quickly passed over for a site — and a business — that delivers a better experience.”
“Choose a website service that takes care of [mobile optimization] automatically for you so that you can focus on running your business,” Veltri added.
Designing and developing can be time-consuming, especially when the project involves a new challenge, putting the team or freelancer into unknown territory. Moreover, time is a key factor in productivity. Working efficiently enables us to deliver better value at a competitive price.
However, some steps can be repeated for every project. These are steps we know and should make as quick as possible in order to have more freedom to experiment with new solutions.
This article presents a collection of tools, tips and tricks that will make your standard workflow as fast and practical as possible, so that you have more time for the exciting parts of the project.
Tips And Tricks
Useful Aligning and Spacing
Kris Jolls creates squares for the various spaces he has between elements. This cuts down time and makes sure everything is aligned and spaced properly.
“The Ultimate Photoshop Web Design Workspace”
Jacob Cass shares his set-up for the ultimate Web design workspace in Photoshop.
“Perfect Workflow in Sublime Text 2”
This is a must for all Sublime users. Ilya Grigorik has put together a two-hour tour de force to make you a Sublime ninja!
“Development Workflow for 2013”
Learn what a modern development workflow looks like, from editors and plugins to authoring abstractions, testing and DVCS integration
“Vertical Editing” (with TextMate)
Learn how to vertically edit in general and with TextMate in particular. It pairs best practices with vendor-specific redundant properties
“Prevent background-color Bleed on Touch Screens”
Add outline: 1px solid #fff to your code to stop background-color bleeding on touchscreens.
“Quick Tip: Rounded Corners Done Right”
Improperly nested corners are a detail that can ruin a brilliant design. Learn how to do it the right way.
“Out-denting Properties for Debugging CSS”
Martin Sutherland usually ends up adding a ton of properties to figure out how things fit together. Here is a little trick to remove the properties before a project goes live.
“Favicons Next to External Links”
A little trick to display an external favicon and next to the corresponding link, using simple lightweight jQuery.
“Dev Tools Tips and Tricks”
These slides include tips and tricks for performance. You will be surprised what Chrome DevTools can do. (Use the arrow keys to navigate the slides.)
“Sublime Text Workflow That Beats Coda and Espresso”
Andrey Tarantsov talks about jumping into Sublime Text 2 and and setting up a workflow that beats traditional tools such as Coda and Espresso.
“Speed Up CSS Prototyping”
This is a simple trick to overlay a grid or a mock-up over a page that you’re styling. It also allows you to edit content directly in the browser to see how the layout responds to various lines of text.
“Git: Twelve Curated Tips and Workflows From the Trenches”
12 simple tips for using Git, including: make “git diff” wrap long lines, set a global proxy, and clone a specific branch.
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