A few easy Web page design tips - how to design Web pages to make them logically organized and user-friendly.

Web Page Design Tips

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Web page design is often the first thing that your site visitors notice. If they are presented with a handsome page that loads quickly and looks professional, they may be compelled to stick around. (At least long enough to see what's in it for them.)

The following Web page design tips will help you design Web pages which are logically organized and user-friendly...

Keep it simple

One of the most important things to remember when designing a Web page is to keep it simple. You do not need fancy graphics, Flash, Java, scrolling text and the like. Don't try to impress anyone with your Web building skills.

All you need is a professional logo, a crisp, fresh look and simple navigation links. Be backward compatible. Using cutting edge technology can exclude readers. Many if not most users will be at least one generation behind, so don't shut them out.

Keep page size as small as possible. That means using a small logo, and images only if absolutely necessary. No one will wait 30 seconds for your page to load.

When designing Web pages, it is typically a good idea to avoid nested tables (i.e., tables inside tables) and long vertical tables, as they take a long time to load. Ideally, your pages should consist of stacks of tables, which make your pages appear to load faster, as the top tables load first, giving the user something to read while waiting for the rest of your page to load.

Provide useful information

Most people use the Web to find information that they can actually use. So make sure that your readers will find your information useful for them.

Design Web pages so that all important text and images are above the fold. This is the part of the page that your users will see first.

The most significant information should be accessible to users without scrolling down the page. People will scroll, but only if they think there's something of interest to them on your page.

Home page

This is a Web page designed to act like an introduction and table of contents in a magazine. Home page should contain links to site's sections, and possibly directly to articles you want visitors to get right into.

Make sure the first thing your home page displays is a reason for visitors to stick around. Visitors should immediately learn what the site is about and what it's offering them. You need to answer these questions and do it fast. Surfers are a very impatient group. Stop them before they click away.

You can pull this off by displaying a few lines of text prominently, where your visitors will see it right away. You'd be amazed at the number of websites that leave this out. If your visitors are forced to search for how your site may help them, it's too late, they're gone.

Some sites use so called "splash screen," a page designed to act like a magazine cover. This page can add style to the site and serve as a ceremonial front door, but because they present less information than a home page, some users find them annoying.

Headlines

Always start your pages with the headlines - everyone reads them. Design Web page headlines so that they grab the eye, intrigue and captivate the reader. Their sole aim is to make the reader continue on to read the body text.

Use plenty of subheadings. They should expand upon the story hinted in the main heading, and draw the reader inexorably into reading the body text. Format them as separate lines, or as a lead-in sentence to a paragraph.

Bold text stands out. It's best to use it sparingly, such as for lead-in headings at the start of a paragraph. Use italics for emphasis. Italics can help make your text sound more conversational. People read bulleted text. Condense important points to bulleted lists.

Design Web pages for easy reading

When designing Web pages, it is a good idea to avoid wide text running from one side of the screen to the other, as this can result in lines of text that are so long they're very difficult to read.

You can control the length of your text by creating HTML tables that are specified in pixels, rather than in percents. A good width for a line of text is between 60-70 characters (400-500 pixels). It's more important for Web page design to make your text readable than to fill every inch of the screen.

In order to avoid large text blocks, break up text into smaller sub-categories. This will make your Web page more aesthetically pleasing, and more reader-friendly. Sub-categories also allow readers to select certain portions of content that they are interested in, rather than making them sift through large text blocks.

Make sure that your paragraphs are not too long - each paragraph should be no more than 3 or 4 sentences long. People on the Web simply don't have the time or the inclination to read long paragraphs.

If you combine text and images, use contrasting colors and blur the background image. In addition, this Web page design tactic also helps to reduce the size of images, allowing your page to load faster.


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See also...

Web Design
General tips and links to useful Web design resources.

Web Page Backgrounds
The basics, tricks and examples of how to design Web page backgrounds.

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

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

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