Though you may be skeptical of website differences, take some time to compare sites like Facebook versus sites hosted by Google or Yahoo. You will find that there are major differences in the appearance and useability of these very different sites. Here are some solid suggestions on how to make web design work for you.
The 90’s were the last time frame use was popular. While they worked well for the time, they caused many issues for website visitors. Frames make it hard for visitors to bookmark and scroll through the page. Use other ways to make your site easier to navigate instead.
Functional websites work out for all visitors, regardless of their browser, so it’s essential that your website is tested across all the major platforms. What works in Internet Explorer may not necessarily show up correctly in Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Before your website goes live, check to be sure that the pages display properly in all of the most popular browsers.
Always mark files that must be opened in an external program with an icon. Many sites host PDF files, and less commonly, DOC files, that must be opened in Foxit Reader and Microsoft Word/OpenOffice, respectively. These files should be marked with an icon representing the file type, and a link to download the appropriate viewer if the user does not have it.
Let people cancel any action they have started. Whether filling out forms, signing up for email notices or even needing browsing options, users will find this useful. When you do not allow visitors to cancel something they do not wish to complete, you are forcing them into something, which can prove detrimental to fostering return visits and/or purchases.
Be aware of the background on your website. Animated GIF backgrounds and complicated patterns on your website can be very distracting to viewers trying to absorb your content. Make your site easy to read by choosing a background that complements the design of your website and doesn’t overwhelm it.
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.
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.
Even if you do not produce a site worthy of the best design firms, it is in your best interest to give it a shot. It’s possible, of course, but unlikely. However, your website can be every bit as professional as the big cheeses. All this requires is some knowledge and effort on your part. Use this article to start designing!