The best website design - make sure that your site doesn't look like it was designed by a novice.

Web Design

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What is the best website design?

In general, how important is Web design in building a successful high-potential website?

Not as important as most folks think.

Your site needs to be clean, simple, and well-structured. People use the Net to find information. The best website design includes informative content, simple layout, easy navigation and fast loading graphics. It allows users to search for and locate the information they desire in the quickest and most convenient manner possible.

On the other hand, your website design is a reflection of your business, the quality of your product. Web surfers looking for some information not only want the right info, they want it from the right source. So make sure that your site doesn't look like it was designed by a novice.

The following general website design tips will help make your site more professional...

Browsers

One of the first things about the professional website design is understanding that your site will be viewed on a variety of computer platforms and browsers. Mostly it doesn't matter, but occasionally it does. The platform issue is much less of a concern than the browser issue.

As to browsers, both the version of the software and the brand are essential. Different browsers display the same page in different ways (or sometimes don't display it at all). Older versions don't support all the new tag additions and modifications. They just ignore any tags and attributes they don't recognize.

Always check your Web design on at least the latest versions of the most popular browsers - Internet Explorer and Firefox. While no site looks identical on all monitors, browsers, and computers, you can design sites that look good on all, but only if you test the site on all.

Loading time

One of the most significant problems that faces Web designers is slow loading time, which often annoys users to the point where they give up and go to another site. So it is extremely important to design your pages to load as quickly as possible, which means keeping page sizes as low as possible.

Internet users are the least patient people in the world, and if your site is slow, they know they can get the information, products, or services they desire at another site.

Keep your graphics down to a reasonable size. For more information on using graphics, see Web Graphics and Web Page Backgrounds.

You can decrease the loading time of your website by using common images on your pages, because the images which have already appeared on a previous page will be loaded from browser caches, rather than from the server itself.

If you need to change images from page to page, try to use common elements from other pages. This Web design tactic is especially useful for title bars, which can be broken up into individual images. When a new page is loaded, the elements from the old page are loaded from the cache, leaving only the new elements to be loaded.

Consistency

When developing professional website design, consistency is the most important thing to keep in mind. Nothing is more unprofessional in Website design than a different colored background for every page. Backgrounds, colors, fonts, navigation buttons all need to present your site visitor with a uniform appearance.

A consistent website not only lets users know where they are, but can also help build a "brand" so your site is recognizable.

Navigation

Regardless of the best website design or highly informative content, if your site isn't easily navigable, all your hard development work will be worthless.

Keep navigation simple, and make sure it's consistent from page to page. No matter where you place your menu bar, always include a small text menu at the bottom of every page. For more information, see Website Navigation.

Fonts

If your site is straying from the standard fonts that everyone has installed on their computers (such as Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman) the viewer won't see your fonts as intended.

Your users' computers will display your site in their default fonts. So stick to standards. See Web Fonts for more information.

Resolution

Most of professional website designers have better systems than their audience has. The norm these days seems to be 1024x768 although there are still a small number of people using 640x480 or 800x600, mostly because they don't realize they have the ability to switch into a higher resolution.

If your page exceeds either of those numbers, the browser will display a scrollbar. If your page is more than the browser's width, a horizontal scrollbar will be displayed. If your page is more than the browser's height, a vertical scrollbar will be displayed.

People usually assume that most pages will have a vertical scrollbar, and are using it to scroll down pages. But many despise the horizontal scroll, and will often complain if they are forced to use it.

It's a good idea to design your entire page for 800x600, but keep the width of text within 640 pixels. People with older computers will still be able to read your content, even if some parts of the page require scrolling.

Keep looking

One way to the best website design is looking around the Web and learning from what you see. That doesn't mean copying, but instead, studying what others have done and understanding what works and what doesn't.


There are tons of online resources helpful to professional website design. For example...

Realm Graphics
One-stop shop for Web development images: backgrounds, banners, bullets, buttons, icons, lines.

Web Page Design and Layout
Yahoo! Listing of popular Web design resources.


If you need help of professional website designers visit...

DesignCrowd
DesignCrowd is a marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design like custom logos, websites, flyers, business card design and more. Businesses launch a design project and receive on average 100+ designs in 5 days from 400,000 freelance designers and agencies worldwide. DesignCrowd offers over 40 design services including logo design, website design, app design, business cards, promo flyers, posters and more services to help entrepreneurs and small business grow their businesses.

99designs.com
99designs.com provides a useful service. It connects thousands of passionate designers with small businesses and individuals who need design projects completed. Simply post your design brief and multiple designers from around the globe will enter the contest by submitting different designs for you to choose from.

Logo Garden
LogoGarden.com is the simplest way to create a professional brand for any business. You can create a customized logo in just minutes, no design experience needed. Start building your professional brand by creating a free logo.

crowdSPRING
This is an online marketplace for graphic design. Entrepreneurs and businesses who need things designed - from logos and stationery to websites and brochures - simply post what they need and name their own price and deadline. Once posted, over 87,000 designers from 150+ countries around the world will submit actual designs - not bids or proposals - for the buyer to review until they find the "the one."


For more information on specific details of Web design, see also...

Web Page Design
How to make your pages logically organized and user-friendly.

Web Page Backgrounds
The basics, tricks, examples.

Web Fonts
How to use fonts more effectively in your Web design.

Website Navigation
Maps, navigation bars, frames, JavaScript, site search engines.

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