Creating websites is easy but creating effective websites is a different matter altogether. There are many elements which constitute web design but four of them I consider vital – Aesthetics, User interface, Navigation and Technical considerations – not necessarily in the same order.
Your website need not be uber cool but it certainly needs to be attractive. Human psychology is such that we are attracted to beauty, in whatever form. If you can present pleasant face, you can be forgiven for any other shortcoming. During the past few years I have come across some great looking websites which say nothing. Still I love these sites and go back to them time and again. Aspects of aesthetics which fascinate me are use of colors and the magic of images. There is a Chinese proverb that one image is worth a thousand words. A strategically placed image can transform an ordinary web page into a beautiful place. You must use restraint when using color. Gaudy, bright and flashy look must be avoid. I personally love English colors.
You can have a beautiful site yet it can be practically useless unless you have an effective user interface. By this I mean visitors to your site must be able to intuitively find whatever they have come there to read. This means that you must avoid clutter and embrace clarity. I see so many huge websites belonging to big brands which seem to convey almost nothing and you get lost in the maze of information.
One aspect of user interface which I find essential is simplicity. You must never confuse complexity with greatness. This is a common fallacy which newbies often fall for. On the other hand, simple layouts and designs are more effective and rewarding.
How many times have you gone round and round within a website and never found what you were looking for? It’s sometimes like a maze where it’s impossible to find your way. The first element of good design is navigation. Large bold navigation buttons are a must. You must not make your visitors search for links and buttons.
Internal navigation is also a good SEO practice. You must not allow any web page to hang loose without linking back to pages from which people arrive there in the first place.
Though I am taking up this aspect last, it is possibly the most important pillar of effective web design. You can have the best website with perfect aesthetics and user design, but they are useless unless you have visitors. In our eagerness to create a web wonder we tend to make web pages which take ages to download. Visitors don’t like to wait, even if they know that they are going to feast over some great images. Keeping the size of your web pages down to the barest minimum is critical. Use of Flash may appeal to your senses but may actually be harmful unless you take care about the technicalities.
You must get all aspects of web design right from the beginning. Pay more attention to the aspects I have highlighted and rest will take care of itself.
Sarah lamb is an avid blogger and likes to talk about blogging, SEO and other related issues. In addition to writing she is presently promoting GetSTDtested Review and TestClear Review , two useful reviews on testing methods.