A Website Consists of:
- Contents – displaying information, website promotion, understanding, connections, politics, research.
- Information flow on the website – the contents must be minimized into short internet documents, two pages tops, in order no to bore/exhaust the user. You should write in a concise and clear manner.
- Graphic design decisions – graphic designers have an advantage, as they can also code in HTML as well as design the website.
- Web developers must know how to use graphic tools (as HTML coders). HTML coders must NOT try to design if they’re not graphic designers – it’s a punishment to the internet (quoting a well-experienced web producer whose name I won’t mention) 🙂
- Navigation system – what’s there and what’s not there – how to navigate through the menus and not to get lost in the website.
- Using applications – programming languages, such as CGI (in forms, for example). The program retrieves the submitted form and sends the appropriate reply. The information must be defined for the programmer. CGI = Common Gateway Interface, which is a standard for HTTP server access for programming and online databases. A script may be written in different languages (Perl, C++ etc.), as CGI is not a specific programming language. Search engine queries are also written in CGI.
- New technologies – VRML, Shockwave, Flash, RealAudio, etc. You should be updated about new technologies, install the plugins in your browser, see what’s happening, what’s new. If you see a new plugin, download it, suggest it to your client, be on top of things.
Web Design – Principles
Categorize the website – what it’s for, what the objective of the website is, which category it falls under:
- Product Image
An informative website
- Easy navigation
- Up to date
- Easy to read
An entertaining website
- High visual quality
- Visual/audible stimulation
An educational website
- A Learning process
- Using the media/technology to improve the learning process (interactive tutorials, remote learning sessions and so forth).
An informative/service website
- Don’t do an “enter the website” graphic in the first page, it’s a waste of time, get straight to the links and information ASAP.
A sales website
- Don’t put the links in the end or make obscure links. If you know what the website is selling, you have to make a quick link to the sales section – don’t let the users “fool around” before they reach the goal, just like in informative websites.
An entertainment website
- Entertainment from the very first page – stimulate the users, give them a taste of what’s in the website.
- Don’t start off with a dull “click-to-enter” logo/graphic.
- Give the users a reason to continue surfing, show them in the main page that something is waiting for them ahead, for example, a special sale – something attractive. Think sales/product image – promise the users something worthwhile.
- The massive use of graphics and color in entertainment websites is intentional and gives a feeling of fun.
- Be careful not to make graphic files too big, you don’t want grahpics to take up more than 50k for the main page.
An educational website
- In the main page – declaration of intent. “here you will learn X in 30 minutes”, provide an initial stimulation.
- Don’t give too much information in the main page.
Important principles to keep when designing websites:
- You should give all pages a similar design, it helps the users to know they’re in the same website.
- Consider whether you want the user to get to anywhere from everywhere. It’s important for an informative website. In an educations site, for instance, you want there to be a certain process, and not to let the users jump between pages, but rather guide them from a certain page to the next.
- If a page is too long, split it into several pages. If it’s mostly text, it’s better to allow continuous reading of the entire document.
- Navigation system – on top and bottom (when it’s not inside a frame). If you don’t put the navigation system in a frame, the worst thing you can do is put it on the side as you’d have to start scrolling up and down.
- When making navigation buttons, always add text links – mandatory.
- You always want to include some added value in your website – something that will attract the users to the website and make them come back for more. Added value can be a list of links updated on a regular basis, articles or tips on a certain subject, files for download and so forth.
- If you want people to come back to visit your website and that they won’t forget it ever existed after their first visit, you should update your website at least once a month – give the users a reason to come back.