Clarity, consistency and compelling. That should be the aim of a well designed website with a professional feel. The only ambiguity on the site should stand out as being a deliberate design more than a flaw.
Navigation within the site should be effortless and in the standard web format. Most important however, it’s what’s on the site that counts. In other words, content needs to be worthwhile and presented in the most attractive manner to the target audience.
Clarity also defines a good web design. Every page has to be crystal clear about its purpose and instructions, if necessary, and interlinked to the rest of the site in a convenient format.
There are ten tips to achieving a well designed website. The first one deals with the basic purpose and nature of the site. More than bowling the viewers over with stunning visual appeal, it is more important that the look of your site is in line with the nature of content. Think about the kind of impression you want your site to create and how viewers should feel when they visit your site.
The next step involves research of similar sites to get a good idea of all the requirements your site should have. Take note of the positive qualities of other websites as well as the negative, to enable you to incorporate the former and keep out the latter.
Research equips you to take on the next step of planning your website. Draw a sitemap with all the pages the site will have.
User friendliness comes next and this factor is of utmost importance. The most attractive of websites fail in their purpose if users find it difficult to navigate. Logic should determine the site design and navigation format. Avoid gimmicks like image-based cursor over links which can be confusing, if not irritating. Ease of navigation is more important than visual appeal, and the latter can always be incorporated into the basic format.
A good web design involves four major factors, apart from several other guidelines. Images and tables should be incorporated into the design in an aesthetic manner and with the purpose of user friendliness. Consider the number of images necessary for your site, keeping in mind the fact that each file on a web page requires a separate HTTP request to the server. The implication of this is that even if you use only small images of less than 30kb, having a large number of them will still result in slowing down your site. In the case of tables, make sure you don’t use one table for the major part of your site.
Selecting a browser for your website should be done after checking out several options for browsers. You have to ensure that the design of your website is not going to be distorted or adversely altered when viewed on a particular browser. For this, you may have to try the design with different browsers to make the necessary alterations and corrections.
A suitable navigation bar is next. In recent times an increasingly popular trend is the in-site navigation bar which tells users exactly where they are in your site.
Plug-ins have witnessed a spurt in popularity it the past year or so with elaborate graphics and animation effects. Before you litter your site with them, do remember that a majority of users may not have the plug-ins installed to be able to view your embellishments.
Don’t ever underestimate the importance of meta tags when designing your site. Keyword Meta tags and site descriptions are the basis on which search engines include your site. While keeping your site description simple and brief, remember also to avoid cramming too many keywords into it, as they may end up confusing the user when displayed on search results.
Get familiar with these guidelines and you’re ready to begin designing a website that looks good, feels easy and gives valuable information on the subject of the site. That’s what it takes for success in the world of E-Commerce.
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