Website designing profession is estimated to be one of the highly growing IT professions in the world with so many designers, programmers mushrooming in all corners of the world. But a question comes back to you the designer or programmer ……………… are you doing what it takes to deliver excellent work? Do you give valued services to the clients?
Well, I decided to share what I consider the basics in website designing:-
1. Understand the type of business you’re designing a website for.
This is what I consider the most of all important points when designing a website. When you get a chance to meet the client or receive an email from one of interested people in your service, please take time to understand what kind of business is that person doing. Do not hurry up to give out your pricing or quotation however much we all look forward to payments. Whenever you understand the following then your likely to have it all right from the start:-
- Is the website for commercial business, non-governmental organization, governmental body, a magazine or it’s a social networking site?
- What are the client’s expectations from that website?
2. Plan thoroughly your website layout:
Someone can only tell how beautiful your website will be at completion when he/she looks at sketch or layout. You must think it through before getting down to coding.
I personally do my layouts on paper when I have a very tricky, hard to design website, mostly when it holds lots of content…….it works for me. I don’t know about you. But all in all you must come up with sketch or Layout.
- Think of the languages to use when designing.
- Decide if the website will be dynamic (database driven) or Static.
- Decide if a website will have scripts.
- Pick the suitable colors, fonts for that website.
3. Navigation or menu: What makes a website simple, smart, systematic, friendly and traffic attracting is the navigation or the menu.
Whenever you design a website and users have to look a menu as if it’s a hidden treasure, then you’re bound to chase all the people away. Always make sure your menu is the position someone can easily read it.
A menu should come from the client’s content. Avoid using words that users have to get a dictionary or visit Google to understand them.
- Give your navigation a very clear font and color.
- If you have dropdown menus, make sure they are user friendly. Scripts used must be error free.
- If your menus have hover colors or pictures, make sure the words are clearer than the background.
4. Fonts: As designers we always want to experiment with so many font styles and we forget the basics. Fonts are very crucial in website designing. Fonts must be readable, attractive and eye catching to make that website a gold mine for your client. Below is what I could advise on fonts:-
- Use readable fonts and browser friendly. Fonts like verdana, Tahoma, comic sans and many others as per your preference.
- Avoid using so many different font types.
- Use standardized fonts. I mean fonts that are at most in all operating systems, applications, web browsers.
5. Optimized Images or Graphics: Like they say images speak a lot of words. Nicely designed, optimized images make a website look very professional, download fast and attract a lot of traffic.
Therefore avoid using:-
- Heavy images or graphics. (Try to optimize the images using any graphic software like Macromedia fireworks, Adobe illustrator, Photoshop and many more out there.
- Always think small, since we have so many broadband users and some how dialup users, very slow downloading pages are so annoying and are really a turn off. So avoid that to happen on your website and try to optimize your images.
- Avoid blinking, flashy, over rotating graphics. Always too much of anything is bad hence limit those annoying blinking images.
- Always provide an alternative text ALT at each image.
6. Search Engine friendly: You must focus on how users or search engines will find the newly designed website.
Pick out major keywords from the website content. Those keywords are always put in Meta tags in the header. Make sure keywords in Meta tags are not repeated.
Always choose what will be your title …must be something easily grasped or cached by the search engine.
Use optimized images that are search engine friendly.
7. Color: Color says a lot about the website, who designed it, who owns it and what particular group of people it’s targeting.
Background color, font color, heading colors all must be balanced very well to avoid color crash. Color schemes are very important. Color scheme matters a lot. Always focus what a user or visitors will see not what you see (always).
8. Testing: Always have your work looked at by either your workmates or friends. Try out your newly designed website in different web browsers, operating system environments, and different screen resolutions.