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Web Site Design Principles

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Principles of a Great Web Site

Keep it simple.

This rule is number one for a reason - itís the most important. A simple site is one that is easy to use and navigate. Simple is good, simpler is even better.

Design your pages for your target audience.

Before starting, determine who your intended audience will be, what types of information they will want, and what message you want to convey. Design your pages with this in mind. Keep your message on target by asking yourself, "Will visitors to my site need and understand this message?"

Make your site informative and useful. Give your visitors the important information they need, and make it easy for them to get it. If you have new or important info, put it up front so people see it first. Remove out of date information.

Tell visitors who you are.

Put your contact information, email address and some kind of identifier on every page of your site. If visitors to your site need to reach you, the contact information will always be right in front of them. Also, visitors do not always enter a site through the front page, so have your identification and contact info on every page so visitors will always know where they are.

Be consistent.

Keep your message and presentation consistent. Use a consistent layout scheme to make your site easier to navigate and use. When a visitor clicks on a web page link, using the same design and layout elements on every page will make it clear to visitors that they are still on your site.

Be considerate to the visitor.

Make browsing your site fast, easy and convenient. Most visitors to your site will have slow modems, so donít make them wait to see your pages. Keep audio, video and even graphics to a minimum, and keep the file sizes as small as possible. Always let your visitors know where they are on your site and give them the option to go back to the previous page or to jump to other pages.

Make it attractive.

You want to keep your site simple, easy to use and fast to load, but that does not mean that it has to be boring or ugly. Balancing style and functionality is one of the biggest problems to overcome when designing a site. If you donít have a good sense of style and design, get help.

Keep it current.

If your visitor doesn't see new information, they're gone and they won't be back. All of the information on your site should be current. Regular updates will give visitors a reason to come back to your site. Old or out of date information will drive visitors away.

Bottom Line?

When a visitor lands on a page on your website, they need to immediately think "this is exactly what I was looking for"!

Anything else, and "click", they're gone.

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