The design of a website greatly influences its popularity. A professional and appealing design will encourage visitors to trust and use your website. An amateurish website will drive people away without reading what you have to say. Here are some suggestions that will help you make smart decisions about the design of your site.
December 11th, 2013
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If you’re working on web design use the right graphics for the job. Remember, bitmap images are huge and usually don’t work well, PNGs work fine. For screenshots, text buttons, and other non-photographic images, use PNG if the image has more than 256 colors, and GIF if not. For photos, you can use JPEG images.
You should always be on the lookout for new information from various forums that can help you learn how to start out or gain more knowledge with web design. You can just do a quick google search and find the information that you want to learn right on the web for free.
Make sure that you prune content that is no longer relevant. If there is content on your page highlighting an event that is already part of past history, your readers are going to abandon you quickly. Users want to spend their time on sites that are cared for, and leaving up old information shows a lack of attention to the site. Set a schedule to review the site, to ensure that outdated information is removed, and fresh new content is added in its place.
Always ensure you are giving meaningful feedback, as this is what creates the communication between a website and its visitors. For example, if an action taken by a visitor results in an error, do not simply display “error occurred.” Instead, provide a message that explains what happened and how the visitor can correct the error by taking a different action. Without this feedback, visitors are more likely to grow frustrated and just give up by leaving your website.
If you want your site visitors to spend as much time as possible on your site, make text easy to read. One of the most common design mistakes is using graphic backgrounds with patterns or dark colors; combine this with equally dark text and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless the text is clear and easy to read, your site will not be a success.
To help your web pages load quickly, you should compress all the images on the website page. If you have images that are compressed then pages will load much faster. Nothing is more frustrating to viewers than waiting for a 250k graphic to load when it should really only be 20k.
Keep the sizes of your files and images small. Excessive loading times are a death knell for any site. The larger the files are that must load, the longer a user’s load time is going to be. Most users will click away if the page doesn’t start to load within the first few seconds of opening your page.
If you’re creating a large site, include search functions for your visitors. The best place to put your search box is on the top of your homepage. Shoot for the upper right corner. Users often expect to see a search box in this area and may want to search your site for the information they are looking for. You can use Google search or FreeFind, as they both give you access to an engine which is free and simple to use.
For the best layout, make sure that the colors you choose for the background and font are restful to the eyes. Choosing moving backgrounds or neon colors can make it hard for people to read, and they may navigate to another web site. However, include pictures to break up your content and make the site complete.
Be certain to have a way to receive feedback from site users. Thus, if there is a gap in your site’s offerings or visitors are confused about using your site, it will be easy for you to remedy the situation. Give your visitors a sense of engagement so that they will return to your website in the future.
Every page of your website should have a way to return to the main page, or “home.” This ensures that when users navigate deeper into your site, they always have a way to start over if they lose place of what got them to the page they are on currently.
Use custom error pages to make your site more informative. For instance, if you want people to report dead links on your site, either put a server-side script on your 404 page or have a form or email address that visitors can use to report the error. You should have custom pages for 403, 404, and 500 errors, at the very least.
A web design that both looks good and is functional is often the difference between a site that attracts visitors and one that doesn’t. Your traffic will be far higher if your website looks trustworthy and like an expert in the field. A design that isn’t up to standard is one of the biggest reasons for people not to stay on your site. And once people leave, they usually don’t return. If you make use of the suggestions related above, you can be a little more confident that you are making good web design choices.