introduction to basic website design principles
Website last updated:
Friday September 16, 2016
The principles of good website design and Search Engine Optimisation
Good website design is generally reckoned to be able to attract visitors and keep them! Gimmicks such as flashing advertisements, scrolling text and similar effects are at best distracting and at worst, off putting. They are not considered conducive to effective Website design nowadays. There are some exceptions. (A website aimed at hiring out bouncy castles might well have flashing objects on it). Ideally the visitor should never be more than two or maybe three clicks away from any page. A good website design for a small organisation or an individual probably only needs to be a few pages. It needs to be well written and free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
There are three ways of getting a website. 1) Use one of the on-line web site builders, 2) Use a blogging platform such as Wordpress or 3) Get a bit technical and use website design software such as Adobe Dreamweaver which is my personal preference.. I have put together a list of for and against each this page.
I have put together a few notes on effective website design which show the generally accepted thinking that prevails nowadays but not all website designers actually follow these rules! Some of the main important points can be summarised as follows:
- The website should be easy to read with dark text on white or light background and not the other way around. To illustrate this point find a site with a black background and check. They give me a headache!
- The web site should be easy to navigate. The navigation buttons should be placed at least along the top and preferably down one of the sides of the site. There is nothing more annoying than having to scroll the page to get to a place where you can click and the average user simply looks elsewhere if the information is easier to find.
- It is a proven fact that humans tend to look at the top, left of a website initially. For this reason the main logo should be at the top of the page and either offset left or in the centre of the page. Out of choice, the side navigation buttons should be down the left hand side.
- The visitor to the site should never be more than two clicks away from the home page and better still there should be a link to the home page on every page of the site giving one click access to the home page at all times.
- The web site should be free from flashing images, moving pictures that distract. It is also not a good idea to include sound on a business website although there are some obvious exceptions e.g. a shop selling guitars may have sample sounds of the instruments. These ideas all make for effective website design.
- The keywords or phrases that go on your website along with hidden keywords known as meta tags need to be chosen carefully for your individual business. This is known as website SEO or “Search Engine Optimisation” This can be a lengthy process but is vital if you want the site to be search engine friendly.
Website design and SEO is dependant on keyword research even before text is applied to a page. Part of the website design process involves putting together an initial list of keywords and there are quite a few ways of doing this that are explained on this page.