Entry by Derek Casanovas
Brian Immel, a former photographer and web designer for the Spokesman-Review, visited the class on April 23. An architect of College Front Page and the Spokesman-Review’s redesigned Web site, Immel has past experience in building Internet sites from the ground up.
Above all else, Immel said the three most important parts of any Web site are content, usability and relevance. If you don’t have content that people want, Immel said, nobody will come to you as a source of information. If your site is clunky and not easily accessible, he added, users will also be going elsewhere on the Web. Lastly, it’s important to find a Web site that people want to read. An example Immel used is the FAIL Blog — people know exactly what they’re going to get when they visit the site: images, video and stories of people failing.
Immel stressed the importance of many factors that go into developing an online site:
- Develop a simple design that people won’t get too cluttered up with. Also, make sure the site is usable — the links work, buttons are easy to find and the content people want is on the Web. Additionally, creating a hierarchy on the site is important for separating headers from subheads, headlines from body text, sidebars from the main splitter. And the design on all of the site should look and feel consistent throughout.
- Picking out a type is important. A clear font, in the right size, style and color is an effective way to brand yourself. Choosing something that matches the niche of your personality or site is vital.
- Images bring your site to life. Icons, headers, logos, backgrounds, elements, textures, buttons and even an error page are important ways of bringing your users into your product.
Lastly, Immel said the best thing graduates can do after leaving school is remaining active. There’s no reason to sit and home and wait for an opportunity. Immel advised students remain active blogging, try to find work at community newspapers and get your name on the Web. When the business model is found for the new era of journalism, jobs will go to people that have proven they can get the job done, Immel said.