Have you ever visited a website that was so bad that you felt like it was sucking the life out of you? Sure you have, we all have. We all know what a poorly designed website looks like. And the sad thing is, internet surfers will more often than not judge your company by your website. These web-surfers are your potential customers, and the last thing you need is them fleeing from your website just seconds after they arrive.
If you’re thinking of creating a website for your company, or redesigning an existing one, here is a brief list of some web design principles that should be followed:
1. Make sure it loads quickly.
You could have the best designed site on the planet, but if it’s not in front of me within 3 seconds, I’m gone. Once you have your website up and running, check it from a few different computers. Make sure it loads quickly on other machines and internet connections, and still looks good on a couple different screen resolutions.
2. Use Consistent Navigation Layout
Never take away the viewer’s ability to navigate through your site. If you have the navigation links to the various pages in your website listed along the top or the left-hand side, try to keep this placement on all subsequent pages. You want your viewer to be focusing on your products and/or services, not on how to get back to the page where they were at.
3. Color Theory
This has always been a favorite of mine. I’ve even been criticized at times for paying too close attention to color theory, but there are many studies which prove that color greatly influences shoppers. This applies equally as much to the internet. I suggest doing a search for more intensive articles on color theory on the net; they can be a wealth of information. But here are some brief examples to get you started:
-Reds / Greens : Hunger colors, great for restaurants, grocery stores, and other food vendors
-Royal Blue or Orange: Know to appeal to ‘impulse shoppers’.
-Blue: Color of loyalty and trust. Calming color
-Red: signifies action, passion, and strength.
-Purple or Black: Colors of royalty, sophistication, or wealth.
Keep in mind the psychological impact of color also varies from culture to culture, so be sure you know who your target audience is.
4. ‘Dumping In’ photos and content
‘Dumping In’ content refers to placing images and text on your website without paying attention to how it affects the overall design of your website. Too often I see nicely designed websites with poorly placed content.
When designing your website, it is a good idea to have all your content written beforehand, as well as all the images you will be using. Also, pertaining to images, try to have the image incorporated more into the design of your site, rather than simply having it as a rectangular jpg floating beside your text.
Before you even sketch anything on paper, before you open up Photoshop or even look at Dreamweaver, take a good look at other websites. Famous artists still dive into the history books to seek inspiration from the masters. Skilled painters still use photo references of their subjects. There is no reason you shouldn’t do the same type of research when creating a design for your website.
A good place to start is to do a Google search for ‘best websites’; this will usually yield some interesting results. There are some brilliant web designers out there, and getting inspiration from their techniques will make your website better in the end.
Copyright 2005 Mike Roshuk
About The Author
Mike Roshuk is a professional freelance designer specializing in Web Design, Graphic Design, and Illustration. Mike Roshuk operates under the name dieselshack, based in Edmonton Alberta. To learn more please visit http://www.dieselshack.com.