Web design basics are as important as choosing the right color pencilThere are several elements you will want to keep in mind when designing a web page. The process of blending these elements together in a pleasing, creative, and constructive way is the way to build a site that will become popular and successful. Here are some basic tips about web designing that everyone should know before putting together a web page.

“Good things come in small packages.” This is especially true for graphics. 10-12KB per image is plenty for presenting a quick-loading yet visually interesting page. Since most users find animated graphics annoying or distracting, try to avoid utilizing flashing or moving images. If you are illustrating the content of the site, it will only confuse people to have pictures that are unrelated to the subject.  Flash animation can also be problematic as it requires  the user to have additional programs installed and they may not have the ability to do so.  Remember that simple web designs are oftentimes best since they communicate the message of a webpage in the most direct format.

While non-standard layouts may be interesting to design and enjoyable to develop, they are not the best way to reach your readers. Standard formatting such as the three column layout is easy for users to understand and navigate. Fancy layouts can actually distract and annoy people because they don’t understand how to operate them or they are hard to read on their browser. An example of this is the layout where you scroll to the right to read the page rather than down. Interesting? Yes. Good for reader? No. Also remember that the whitespace on your page is more than just a blank spot. It’s an integral part of the layout and should be viewed as such. The right amount of whitespace can enhance your message and make it even more noticeable.

Your readers are not usually coming to your site because they want to read advertisements, so make sure you don’t overwhelm them with ads. Marketing and making money is great, but be considerate to your reader’s since you will likely lose them if they can’t find the content of your site through the ads. Small, non-flashing, relevant ads will earn you the most money as readers will be more likely to click on them. Many people can recall a webpage they left because of huge, animated ads controlling the space.

Testing your site once it is designed is critical to ensuring it will work properly for a variety of users. Older browsers and operating systems may have trouble if you wrote the site with the latest and greatest technology. It is much easier to test first and discover the problems right away than to wait and have your customer complain later. Be considerate of the target demographic you are designing for as well and try to have content relevant to topics they are interested in. Simple fonts that are available almost universally are the best choice. Fun, quirky fonts may look better, but there is a good chance they will not work in a majority of other browsers. Experts recommend using “serif for headlines and sans-serif for text.” Although this is different than most printed documents, it is the best configuration for web design. If you have a “printer-friendly” option, be sure that the font options are reversed and sans-serif is the headline choice while serif is used for printable text.

Do you agree or disagree?  Perhaps, I missed something?  Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!