No matter what sort of website you have, it is important to make sure that it follows the principles of good web design. A poorly designed website will drive away visitors and frustrate those few who persevere. The following article can help you design a high quality website and attract more traffic.
The graphics you use are important. Remember, bitmap images can get quite large and often don’t work very well while PNG images work fine. For text buttons, screenshots, and other images that are not photographs, use PNG for images with over 256 colors and GIF for images with less. For photos, JPEG images work well.
Frames went out in the 90s, so do not rely on them. These flawed systems were popular in the past. Frames make it hard for visitors to bookmark and scroll through the page. Use a different technique to help visitors organize information.
Don’t use splash pages for your site unless required by law, and especially don’t use a Flash intro. Most people just want to get to your content as quickly as possible, and don’t care to look at useless splash pages. If you have some amusing content that you absolutely want visitors to see, integrate it into the homepage instead.
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.
Avoid creating user interface (UI) controls that mislead your visitors. These controls include elements, widgets and more that create an interactive experience, such as a link, drop-down list or button. You do not want to make visitors think that clicking on an underlined word or phrase for example, will lead to a new page if it is not actually linked to something else. When your visitors have expectations of something working a certain way and it does not, they are more likely to assume there is something wrong with your site and leave.
Test your website before it goes live. There’s nothing worse then launching your new website and having to take it down right away due to bugs or other issues. Get a group of people together who are using different web browsers and computer platforms, and ask them to use a beta version of your website, writing down any issues they come across.
As you have seen, the principles of good web design are not terribly mysterious or difficult to implement. However, too many websites still ignore these basic techniques. Do not let your site fall into this category. Put these techniques into practice to design a website that you can be proud of.