Discovering the basics of good Web design

Entry by Jasmine Linabary

Everyone has seen a Web page, but what considerations should go into its design. Here are some tips and suggestions:

When discussing the basics of Web design, a good place to start is in what it is not and that can be found on webpagesthatsuck.com.

Exploring pages on this site should give you a good idea of what is not effective in designing Web sites. Ask yourself for each Web site that appears why this site has been labeled a “Worst Site of 2008.”

One of my particular favorites is the Accept Jesus, Forever Forgiven site. Aside from the animation that shortly has you squinting your eyes to make sure they work properly, the largest problem with this site is consistency. Each page of the site has a completly different color, font and design approach. I don’t know once I open the “Introduction” page or “Statement of Faith” page whether I am still on the same site or not, because there is nothing suggest their connection to the home page in their design or navigation.

Vincent Flanders, who keeps webpagesthatsuck.com, has tried to gather the frequent mistakes of poorly designed Web sites. Here are a few highlights:

  • The site lacks “heroin content” (or a reason for people to keep coming back)
  • The site has too much material on one page
  • And a Martian can’t figure out what the Web site is about in four seconds or less

Jakob Nielsen also provides similar advice in his “Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design” which are also worth reviewing.

So why does this matter if you aren’t going to be a Web designer?

Online journalism experts and professors advise students to consider developing their own personal Web site that could include resumes and portfolios as a way of self-marketing. This would be especially important for people considering freelancing. For those considering developing their own site, Sreenath Sreenivasan at Columbia University has some advice on Web hosting as well as links to related articles.

Find something else useful related to Web design or have a really poorly designed Web site that you’d like to share? Add it to the comments section below.

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