Web Design Tips
Over a period
of time, due to my own mistakes as often as seeing other web design mistakes,
Medlicott Design has been able to categorise common errors that many beginners
(and professionals) make when creating a web page or website. Although
only summarised here, eventually I hope to have more in-depth explanations
of why I have made these comments, and what suggestions I have to create
a solution. As this will be a work in progress check back often, and feel
free to send your comments, or arguments to me.
In my opinion, design errors fall into the following categories.
Navigation is not only important for your visitors, but also for the search engines that your visitors use to find you!
- Keep the same navigation structure throughout the website
Unclear navigation and over
complex navigation is often the bane of many websites. When you design
a navigation system, write down on paper all the places/pages you want
people visiting your web site to be able to visit. Try and place them
in a logical order.This works for vertical and horizontal navigation systems.
People (of western extraction) generally read from top to bottom and left
to right. So place pages of more importance to the aims of your website
(you have got aims and a strategy?) in more prominent positions. If the
credibility of your company is vital to your perceived image, place the
about page or company profile page near the start. If you want to get
them into your shop first, place the products page higher up.
Frames: If you can, 'AVOID' frames. Although they are great for sectioning pages, and in earlier years (including mine), frames were the first thing taught at design school. However as the Internet has evolved, the first consideration of any website should be, "can the search engines find me, and allow the world to see my brilliant information." Frames unfortunately do not help this process. Although search engines can access websites with frames more easily than in the past, the algorithms today place much more importance on content, and often that content is in a different frame.
Sideways scrolling frames, complicated frames, too many frames, and unnecessary scroll bars in frames are all pet peeves of mine when surfing the web.
Try not to set up orphan pages with your navigation. Orphan pages are when you get to a page and there are no links back to where you came from, and quite often no real identification to tell you where you are.
This is why when you set up your navigation and pages in your website, that you make sure you have created informative page titles. Don't just cram the titles with keywords, but create a meaningful title that helps the visitor as well as the search engines.
Another common fault is using navigation buttons as the only visually interesting part of your page, and often these buttons are far too large and do nothing to enhance the appearance of your website, or to achieve a look of professionalism. Size is relative to your target audience, but remember that if you target the middle ground, people can more easily adjust their own personal text size requirements without you forcing it down their throats. With the diversity in browsers and screen resolutions available now, it is harder to get the ideal look that suits everyone whether 800x600, 1024x768 or greater, so design your navigation not to take all the focus away from your content.
All visitors to your web pages need to be able to do is; easily find
your navigation, recognise how it works throughout the website, and feel
confident they know where they are going to, and where they will end up.
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