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Web Design Elements

There are five basic elements of business web site design. Of course nothing is a hard and fast rule, but many elements are shared regardless of business. While a site catering to buyers of pop music will differ from one for a accounting firm, some things never change. Too often it is tempting to explore the new freedoms in web design by using hundreds of colors and dozens of fonts, etc. The cliche is true, even on the web, too much of a good thing...

Content

How do you get to the top of the search ratings and please you visitors? Content, content, content. The text content of your web site is what the visitors crave, same with search engines. Visitors want to see brief summarized information, but they want to be able to drill down for more. If they wanted to meet or talk to a person, they would not be on the web, they would come by or call. Their total impression of your professionalism, trust worthiness and expertise comes from the content on the site, until after the sale. The caveat is that they will not fight to get at the content. You can't have too much content, as long as it is relevant. New content added on a regular basis keeps them coming back.

Navigation

No one wants to see all the content on one page. So your visitors will need to move from page to page. Your navigation helps structure your content. Some pages are so important as to need to be always available. You never know at what place on your site you will make the sale (or need to field a question). A method to get to your contact page should always be available. Cute is nice, but usability is king. A visitor should not have to guess which symbol means what. Navigation should involve words (that would be recognized by the visitor).

Colors

So you have 14 million colors, what to do? You colors will effect your visitors. Why are hospitals not red and black? Why are blues and greens associated with swimming pools. The colors you choose will set the mood. All colors on a computer monitor are from directed light, not reflection like clothes, cars and houses. Too many colors can look confused. Large areas of bright colors like yellow and orange can irritate a visitor's eyes. Some colors just don't look good together. If they are too close, they become indistinct or look dirty. If the contrast is too much they hurt the eyes. Additionally, all your pages should have the same scheme so a visitor knows they have not left your site.

Back ground color or images are important also. They should not distract from the content. They should not make the text hard to read. Because there is more square inches of background, the choice of color will go along way to setting the tone.

Graphics and Pictures

Pictures have an important role to play in your web site. It is important that they compliment the content and not distract the visitor. Also they need to be optimized for the web. No one wants to wait while images load, or have the text on the page move around as they load. Martin Works optimizes your images for fast loading. We also construct the pages so that as the images are loading, the space is already reserved so that page elements don't move around. We can take the pictures you need, use your existing digital or photo paper pictures. We have the graphics tools to modify, combine or create original graphics for your site.

Fonts

The fonts available on your computer (when you select a font from a drop down list, like in Word) is influenced by the software you have installed. If you have installed a program for making greeting cards, it brought some fonts along. A graphics program, it brought some more aboard. Just because a font is on your computer does not mean it is on someone else's. And then there are visitors that are not even using the same operating system as you. Check out this table of browser friendly fonts. You should be selecting from the fonts from that list.

It might be nice for your pages to standout, or look fancy or cute. Your primary consideration should be your web visitors. If they can't use the page or get a headache reading the page, they will go somewhere else. If you must have a particular font, the only way to guarantee that font will be seen is to place it in a graphic image. Converting your text to graphics has many pitfalls, such as load time, visitors with graphics turned off, and search engines. Remember, it is your ideas that count most, you font should not get in the way.

Things to avoid

There are a few items that business sites should avoid. Music unless the business sells it. Imagine the poor worker in his cubical when sounds suddenly blast forth from the computer speakers. Flash, animation or slide shows that start automatically. Your visitor may like to see your presentation, but they probably want to know they are at the right site first. Anything that makes a page load slowly should be avoided. If your visitor wanted to wait, they would go find a line. Broadband may be available in many places, but not everyone has is. Many businesses take their broadband and split it among many computers, this slows down each connection.



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