Interested in designing a website, but need some guidance? These instructions are a step-by-step guide to creating a website that is organized logically, easy to navigate, and accessible by most visitors, regardless of computer type or visual/hearing difficulties.
Before beginning to create a website, think about your audience and purpose for designing the site. You may find it helpful to write this information down so that you can refer back to it during the design process.
Decide which template, if any, you would like to use for your site. A template, which is a pattern or guide used in the construction of the website, can either be found in a published source or modeled off an idea borrowed from another designer. The logic behind using templates is, “why reinvent the wheel?”
Maintain a simple and consistent layout throughout the site. Make sure that features, such as a company logo and/or navigation menu, can always be found in the same place.
Think of the pages you need to have and organise them logically, by importance and by topic.
Consider who your audience is, and write accordingly. Refrain from using confusing abbreviations or jargon.
To make your text easier to read, break it into smaller sections, using subheadings and appropriate spacing to separate each the sections. The use of bold or different sized font in the headings can show the hierarchy and importance of the topics.
Avoid filling the homepage with too much information; instead, provide only crucial information and links to other sections here.
Well-designed, easy-to-readpages are visually attractive; you do not need busy graphics. Flash animation, bright colours, and over-powering graphics all can off-put readers. Use simple backgrounds and make sure that there is enough contrast between the background and the text colour or else the text will be hard to read. Use standard HTML and avoid tags, features, and plug-ins that are only available to one brand or version of a browser, make your website universally readable.
Keep hearing and visually-impaired website visitors in mind. Caption video, transcribe audio, and include a note about accessibility. Though tables can be an efficient way of organising information, visually-impaired visitors who use a screen-reading program, may not hear the material in column order.
Include interesting and relevant links. Make the link descriptive so that it may be understood out of context. For example, instead of writing “click here!” as a link title, say something like, “Information About Our Company.” It is best to keep links away from graphical elements that may look like advertisements.
Keep a “mailto:” link somewhere logical and consistent so that visitors may get in contact with you, such as at the bottom of the homepage.
Be sure that you have avoided plagiarism and observed all copyright laws. Whatever you include on your website must be both legal and ethical.
Test your website. Make sure that all links work and that images appear as you want them to. Change your monitor settings to different resolutions, such as 640×480 with 16 colours and 1024×768 with 24 colours to guarantee that your website will appear as you want it to all visitors, regardless of what kind of computer they have. You may want to conduct some usability tests by having members of your target audience test the clarity and ease of and give you feedback on your website.
Publish your website.
Check links periodically to make sure they still exist, and listen to suggestions emailed to you by website visitors.
Don’t waste the user’s ink when printing. Use a separate style sheet for printing. If your web site has coloured background images, make sure to take them off. If your web site has white text on a black background, reverse it and put black text on a white background. More than likely, the user would not need the navigation bar, so if you have one you can take that off entirely. Also remove any unneeded images that just pretty up the page.
Make sure your visitors know that the site is active and being modified. Put a “This page was last modified at …” text somewhere on the page. Keep your users notified.
People don’t like extremely flashy websites with animated gifs and flash media. It can be distracting and slow down your website. Be modest when making websites for your business.
Don’t add a lot of large files to your website, or they’ll take a really long time to load.
If you don’t like coding (HTML,CSS,XHTML,etc.), try online website makers, as they are for beginners. Syntha Site is quite good, so is GooglePages.
Don’t use large blocks of text it will be harder to read, use instead more smaller paragraphs. You can always use CSS to make suitable distances between paragraphs.
When you have lots of articles or pages make sure you have offered certain ways for visitors to can find the information they want.
Test each and every link on your site before you put it online.
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