Read these 11 Web Design Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Web Design tips and hundreds of other topics.
Some people can get a graphics design software package, but they are not a graphic designer. Same with web design. Just because someone has access to publishing pages on the web doesn't mean that they are web designers.
Web design considers the layout of your text and your graphics throughout your website. The best web designers also do what they can with your website's meta tags to gain you the best exposure for your purpose on the Internet. Web designers are not traffic brokers. Web designers are also not usually web developers.
Color, layout, and other visual considerations are all part of what a good web designer will do for you.
The Web sites of today are not the simple HTML coded sites that once existed. Today, handling Web site design and maintenance can be a complicated task involving complicated databases, Flash animation, Web programming, and interfacing with current business practices. In order to simplify the process of Web site design and maintenance, it is helpful to start off by incorporating a set of guidelines to update your Web site from the design implementation phase.
• Start by designing a Web site with an easily modified layout, site map, and links.
• Establish a consistent team who will design and provide regular maintenance to your Web site.
• Start by initiating client feedback to your Web site so that it becomes an integral part of the updating process.
• Have a clear-cut set of marketing strategies and match your Web site to your business goals. Be flexible and prepared to make changes in direction along the way as your business grows or takes a new direction.
Retail businesses, whether they are primarily brick and mortar operations or solely online, need well-built ecommerce Web design to stay competitive with other sellers.
If you are starting out or expanding your business into the ecommerce realm, it is helpful to understand the basics of ecommerce Web design.
Your ecommerce Web site should consist of a site map organizing your online store. For a basic retail Web site, you should have a general database for your goods and an online purchasing system for customers to buy a product off of your online store.
More complex Websites will include customizable databases, allowing you to keep track of your products by category, tracking when stock is low, and cross referencing products.
More sophisticated ecommerce Web design will also include custom graphics, text, and interactive features like Flash animation, music, and voice-overs. You can have the option of mining customer data to profile your customer base. Options for an online store also includes URL tracking so that you know where your visitors found you or where they looked before coming to you.
Many different factors constitute award winning Web design. Elements of a Web site include creativity, originality, ease of navigation, and informational content. As with all creative endeavors, some elements of an award winning Web design can be construed as objective. The Webby Awards has a 500 member judging panel, all with expertise in various areas of Web, business, and creative fields. They use a set of six criteria to judge award winning Web design, including content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall user experience.
First there was the Grammy's, now there's the Webby's and the Addy's to take on the award winning Web design market. If you want to know about the latest innovations in Web design and development, take a look at award winning Web design. The Webby Awards gives tribute to Web sites around the world that have excelled in the areas of design, creativity, and ease of use. The Webby Awards now recognizes over 65 categories of business, consumer, and culture, including corporate communications, financial services, lifestyle, and television. The Addy Awards uses a thorough set of criteria to judge and recognize advertising accomplishments in all areas of media, including interactive media such as flash design and Web design.
When you decide to work with a Web design and hosting company, you have the convenience of dealing with a one-stop shop. Your Web design company will create your Web site and provide the hosting for you, eliminating the need for you to locate your own Web hosting. The advantage of a Web design and hosting company is in their tendency to be customer oriented. Whether you are a small or large business, be sure to find the service that meets your needs best. Smaller businesses may only require a limited amount of file space and unlimited data transfer for their Web site. Larger businesses may require security, 24-hour customer support, and a quick response time.
Before you even build or design a Web site, you need to choose Web hosting for your Web design. Web hosting for your Web design is important because it is the service that allows your Web site to operate. You would not even have an online presence without Web hosting. Some things to consider when deciding on Web hosting for your Web site include:
• Reliability of the service
• Size of file space you need in MB.
• Number of mailboxes you need
• Whether you need tracking capability
When working with Web designers, it is helpful to understand what software they use for Web interface design in order to help facilitate communication. Web site designers use a variety of software media to create their final product. There is some variation on the tools based on the preferences and experiences of the Web site designer as well as the desired end result. A Web designer may use a combination of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, HTML coding, and Flash in order to put a Web site together.
• Photoshop the software most commonly used to manipulate images for special effects.
• Dreamweaver is a commonly used industry standard software used to create the overall Web site. Go Live is another widely used program.
• HTML involves physically writing codes to provide instruction for a Web page on the Internet. Although a software program is generally the main medium to create Web interface design, HTML is still widely used for specific modifications of a Web site.
• Flash is the software program used to put the "bells and whistles" onto a Web site. You can create live animations, add effects to browser buttons and text, and implement video on to a Web site.
Communicating with a Web designer or Web design firm on a project may be much like conversing in the same language, but in another dialect. You have an idea of what you are hearing or trying to communicate, but you are not entirely certain the speech is conveyed properly. To learn the language of Web design, it is helpful to keep a few things in mind:
• When discussing the idea of creative specifics of Web design, you may have an idea of what you aim to achieve, but you may have a difficult time with the description. In this instance, pictures can be more worthwhile than words. Browse through design books, periodicals, and Web sites. Mark the images that appeal to you and present them to your designer.
• Think of your target audience when describing a design aesthetic. If your target audience is a sophisticated, college educated market, ask your designer to create a Web site along those lines.
• Ask your Web design firm or Web designer to educate you. It will be worthwhile to spend a brief meeting session to review the specifics of a project, including the design process, review process, technical issues, and nature of the project team, if any. One meeting spent learning the language of Web design can assist you throughout this project and those in the future.
When it comes to Web hosting accounts, one size does not fit all. Depending on your Web site needs and the size of your business, there are a number of different Web hosting accounts you can choose from. Here are some of the basic variations:
Virtual Hosting – This type of hosting is suited for a small ecommerce site. Rather than having the presence of a physical server, you have the advantage of using a "virtual line" to your Web hosting service provider's network.
Dedicated Computer – If you are a small ecommerce site with high traffic, an option is to use the dedicated computer. You get to take advantage of using the high speed Internet connection and support systems of your Web hosting service.
Server Farm – This scenario incorporates a number of servers into one location. Web hosting accounts utilizing this type of service are suited for larger business with more processor intensive needs for their Web site.
Unless you are a non-profit with a limited budget, you should avoid soliciting free Web design. There are two reasons for this. First, Web design, like any other service, is a professional business. The Web designers and Web programmers who put together a Web site for your business or organization have undergone a great deal of training and need to put in a lot of time and effort for their services. Secondly, putting together good Web design does not come free or cheap. Design has intrinsic value in its ability to create a business image, inspire and attract a following, and market a business or product. For those who are interested in free Web design, consider either doing the legwork yourself or placing your money in an alternate area where you find value in spending your marketing dollars.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|