The Key to Good Web Design

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					The Key to Good Web Design
The objective of any reputable, proficient web designer is to create an
aesthetically pleasing, easily accessible and navigable website which has
the clients best business interests included from the start of the
project. The web site should convey trust; it should inform the web user
that the webmaster is trustworthy and that the website can be used
safely, therefore the website will convince the visitor to either;
register with the site and make a purchase if the site is ecommerce
enabled and/or make an enquiry if the website is offering a service.
A good web design is easy to achieve if you choose the correct web
designer. The web designer you choose should be able to demonstrate good
graphic design capabilities, be able to create instinctive site
navigation by developing the site with the user in mind and be able to
optimise the website for good initial search engine results as part of
the design. This can be achieved through developing a clear logical site
layout, site structure and a clear internal linking strategy.
The following suggestions offer some precious web design guidelines.
Site Navigation
Prepare your site navigation before designing the site, a clean-cut and
uniform navigation system is a must to prevent cluttering up the site
with forgotten links. Site navigation should be well thought out, as well
as being simple and intuitive; this is quite often overlooked by website
designers. Remember the three click rule: Research has shown if a visitor
cannot access the information they want within three clicks, they will
leave the site. Every area of your website should be reachable within
three clicks from anywhere else on the site. If you use anything other
than simple text links, make sure to test your navigation in all the
major browsers.
Maintain a site map to help people and Search Engines robots (SE's) find,
and index in the case of SE's, what they are looking for with ease. It is
worth while remembering that navigation should be flexible enough to
accommodate additional links in case you will be adding pages
periodically. Link Check: Test all site links and navigation to be
certain that they are valid. Nothing chases a visitor off faster than
broken links. Be sure to specify link colors otherwise the user's browser
defaults will determine what color the links are which can make them
Use keyword anchor text for your links, this will help you with site
optimisation, I also recommend using absolute links;
As opposed to relative links;
Cross Browser Compatibility
There are many variants of browsers in use, and of these browsers there
are many different versions being used, many users do not necessary take
the time to upgrade to the latest versions. A good website will be
required to render properly in all. Your website won't be much use if it
works well in Internet Explorer but is all over the place when viewed in
firefox! It is also worth while remembering that the user may well be
using a MAC, a Linux, a PDA and a mobile phone as well as the good old
PC. As a guide you will need your website to work, and work well in;
Microsoft Internet Explorer (all versions)
Web Standards Compliant
In order for you website to reach its full potential, the most
fundamental web technologies must be compatible with one another and
allow any hardware and software used to access the website to work
together. When a web site or web page is described as complying with web
standards, it usually means that the site or page has valid or nearly
valid HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The HTML should also meet accessibility
Web Images
Remember the three click rule I mentioned? There is also the 10 second
rule; Web surfers are increasingly intolerant of delays and research has
show that most people will click away if a webpage takes longer than 10
seconds to load. Your websites images should be optimised i.e. their file
sizes should be compressed as small in size as possible, without
sacrificing picture quality. Your images should also be optimised to for
keywords, the ALT tag should be used so people with graphics turned off
and those using hand held devices know what the image is supposed to be,
i.e. name your logo!
Avoid using frames, frames can easily confuse readers who wish to print
material on a page or bookmark a page for later reference or navigate
using the browser's "Forward" and "Back" buttons. Screen space also
becomes an issue with frames; if you use frames to divide the browser
screen, you will force many readers to scroll both horizontally and
vertically to see the full contents of each frame.
The current consensus among Web design and usability experts is that
frames should be used only in the rare instances when their limited
advantages clearly outweigh the many problems they can cause.
Web Content
Content is king! Not just plenty of it mind, your content needs to be
informative and keyword rich. You want the visitor to see you as a
valuable information resource. People use the internet to find
information. Whether you are selling a product or service you must
provide valuable information to the visitor or they will click away and
find a website that gives them what they what they want. Good content
within your site will help your page rank, search engine placement and
inbound links if you have good quality content, the likelihood is other
sites will want to link to yours.
Good Web design is a combination of common sense, good website structure
and internal linking, oh and a good designer is a must. Your site should
be attractive and easy to use and most importantly, your website should
provide a simple and easy navigational system to aid the user's

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