Yet Essential, Web Design Principles
As the internet
evolves from its infancy into maturity, website development,
design and marketing becomes more and more sophisticated
- and more and more complex. Content manipulation, various
scripting methods, fancy graphics and effects... and on
and on... allow us to create some impressive web sites.
A good gauge of
this complexity is the a slew of new internet-related
acronyms which popup on a consistent basis. Heck, I don't
know what half of them mean. But one acronym I do know
- and it's not an internet creation - is nevertheless
key to the development and design of any successful business
website. Perhaps you've heard of it - K.I.S.S. As you
probably know, it stands for 'Keep It Simple, Stupid!'.
And it's a methodology widely employed by the best web
developers, designers and marketers in the business. A
philosophy that provides the foundation for all successful
revenue-generating web sites.
From the largest,
multi-product online business conglomerate to the one-page
one-product mini-site, the purpose is the same. Provide
visitors, whether internet savvy or first time surfers,
with an online experience that's fast, efficient, easy
to understand - and dare I say it... yes, enjoyable.
Whether your an
entrepreneur building your own web site, or reviewing
one built for you by a web development and design expert,
it is important your web site, your online business, adheres
to these eight simple, yet essential, design principles.
Heed them, and online success is sure to follow. Ignore
them, at your peril. Here they are.
Each web page
must have a purpose - and that purpose must be clearly
stated. While a consistent design 'look and feel' is vital
across all pages of your web site, each page has a specific
function to perform. And that function should be clearly
understood by all visitors to your web site. Whether it's
to elicit feedback, provide feedback, promote your company,
present product information, etc., all play a role in
your ultimate goal of growing your business.
around and through your business web site must be clearly
visible and easy to use. See my article on web site navigation
for more details.
and clutter by minimizing usage of fancy flashing and
moving objects, which provide more sizzle than steak,
and make your essential products or services harder to
All business websites
should have contact information clearly visible. A 'Contact'
page is minimum. It's also advisable to include contact
information on every page of your web site. You never
know when the urge to turn from prospect to customer will
strike your visitor.
Not everyone has
broadband. Yes, there are still a fair number of users
surfing the internet with slower, less efficient, dial-up
access. That may change in the future, but it's a reality
today. Ignore this substantial customer base and you're
business will surely suffer. To avoid this pitfall, pay
careful attention to eliminate internet-clogging elements
on your web site. When possible, use text instead of graphics,
static graphics instead of animation, several smaller
pages instead of one large page. Do this and you can feed
quite well on the desertions from your flashier competitors.
For those who
are broadband users, who are not negatively effected
by all those 'bells and whistles', who may actually enjoy
such an impressive display, remember, 'form follows function'.
This is especially important on a business web site, where
functionality is key. All else is fluff and distraction.
For those of us
who may be 'visually challenged, make sure your web
site is easy to see. Avoid fancy fonts and use the more
legible standard-bearers, such as Times New Roman, Courier
New, Arial and Verdana. For standard text, use font sizes
of at least 10 pt... 12 pt is better. On many a web site,
font sizes of 8 pt or less are used, perhaps in an effort
to avoid the need to scroll. Let me tell you... it's much
better to scroll than to squint. For when I squint, I
usually stroll... right out of the site. It's also a good
practice to limit the use of italics as they too are harder
to read. Lastly, pay attention to text and background
color. Although white text on a black background looks
cool at first glance, it can quickly strain the eyes.
You don't want to do anything that will cut your visitor's
journey through your business web site..