Archive for the ‘Web Design Tips’ Category

More Website Do’s and Don’ts

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Even more free tips to remember when creating a website.

1. Don’t center everything on your webpage
Centered text on pages not only looks extremely unprofessional, but it’s also just plain hard to read; just think about having to read a book where all the text was centered! Print rules have been refined for well over a hundred years now, and they work well. When in doubt about layout, think about how they do it in print.

2. Don’t create automatic pop-up windows
Pop ups are generally used for ads and such these days. Thus, most people have the “pop up blocker” on with their browser. Thus, anything in that pop up will not be seen by most people. Learn how to integrate those elements into your main pages and forget about pop-up windows.

3. Don’t use Internet Explorer’s scrolling ‘marquee’ tag
Just for the plain fact that it will ONLY work in Internet Explorer and no other browser is enough to avoid this one. A ton of people (especially people on Macs) do not use Internet Explorer, hence will not see what you are trying to tell them.

4. Do make you web pages viewable at 800 x 600 resolution
Many web designers have computers that can display higher resolutions like 1024×768 and 1280 x 1024. They design there pages to fit in that resolution, when someone hits those pages with a computer that can display only a maximum of 800 x 600, the visitor has to scroll to see the page properly.

Scrolling web pages vertically (top to bottom) is ok, as long as it’s not more than two and half pages or so. But scrolling horizontally (side to side) is really bad and annoying to visitors.

In a nutshell, you want to design all your pages these days for 800 x 600; they (still) make up about 40% of the web audience.

5.  Don’t set your type to all capital letters in your body text
Using ALL CAPS in text is good for emphasize and title elements, but don’t create long sentences or paragraph in all caps … it’s just hard to read.

Just compare this paragraph in all caps:

USING ALL CAPS IN TEXT IS GOOD FOR EMPHASIZE AND TITLE ELEMENTS BUT DON’T CREATE LONG SENTENCES OR PARAGRAPH IN ALL CAPS; IT’S JUST HARD TO READ.

That’s all for today.

More Website Do’s and Don’ts

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

More free tips to remember when creating a website.

1. Use Adobe Flash sparingly
I am a huge fan of Adobe flash, but agree that it can destroy a website very easily. It gets a really bad rap due to its annoying use with banner ads, but when used correctly, it can really enhance a website.

And that is what I like to tell clients. I use Flash to enhance a website, never to hinder it. If I think Flash is not needed, I will not use it. If I think it can be subtle, and help enhance what the client is trying to convey, I will use it. Never use Flash just to have it on your site. It will annoy the viewers and they will move on. Trust me.

2. Keep paragraphs short and concise
While reading long paragraphs in the newspaper or in a book or magazine is OK, it is not strongly recommended to use in websites. People generally just skim pages looking for the info they want, so keeping paragraphs nice and short makes it easier for them to skim it and see the info they want. I usually recommend to clients keep paragraphs no more than 4 or 5 sentences.

3. Bullet points are a good thing
In the same vain as #2, bullet points make it even easier for a viewer to get the info they want quickly and easily. While bullet points are usually frowned upon in virtually every other medium of information, they are generally accepted (and often appreciated) on a website.

4. Don’t Hotlink pics or video unless allowed
Bandwidth theft or “hotlinking” is direct linking to a web site’s files (images, video, etc.). An example would be using an <img> tag to display a JPEG image you found on someone else’s web page so it will appear on your own site, eBay auction listing, weblog, forum message post, etc.

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data transferred from a web site to a user’s computer. When you view a web page, you are using that site’s bandwidth to display the files. Since web hosts charge based on the amount of data transferred, bandwidth is an issue. If a site is over its monthly bandwidth, it’s billed for the extra data or taken offline.

A simple analogy for bandwidth theft: Imagine a random stranger plugging into your electrical outlets, using your electricity without your consent, and you paying for it. Download the image or video and upload it to your own site.

5.  Stock Photography is your friend
To help break up text, it is recommended that each page should have at least one image on it. While pictures of your company, products or people are best, Stock photography works wonders in a pinch. There are sites on the web that you can get Stock Photography pretty cheap as well.

One great place I use all the time is istockphoto.com. Just create an account and for a small fee (MUCH smaller than most other site), you have access to thousands upon thousands of stock images. Go search for free and check it out.

That’s all for today.

Some Website Do’s and Don’ts

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Here are some free tips to remember when designing and creating a website.

1. No blinking text... Ever. Everyone may agree with me and think this is redundant, but I STILL get clients asking me to blink text. It’s one of the few things I actually refuse to do, and will spend as much time as needed to talk a client out of it.

2. The key to a good website is consistency. Navs in the same place everytime, the look generally being the same on all pages, etc. If a reader gets lost on your site or confused, they are moving on.

3. Design for easy reading. Your best bet is to put black text on a white background, it is the easiest to read. You want to keep the eyes of the reader as comfortable as possible. Red text on a black background does nothing but hurt the eyes and annoys the reader.

4. Include contact info on every page. If you are a business website, add a footer to all the pages with your contact info, address, etc. Google demands this to be added to their database, and it make it easy for the reader to find your number or address if they decide to call you and are not on your contact page. Just remember, put it in the same place every time (see #3)

5. Be generous. I always tell my clients, “Cater to the 3am surfer”. What does that mean? That means imagine someone surfing your site at 3am and cannot call you with questions they have. You should want to be able to answer virtually any question they have on the website, so when they do call, their questions will either be minimal, or be ready to use your service. Remember, a website is a 24/7 marketing tool!

That’s all for today.