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4) Orientate Your Visitor. Each new visitor to a site is like an explorer. Without guidance in form of headings, titles, links, brands and logos, they may not know where to go or where they are within structure of site. The interface design must also include features that orientate visitor, especially if site is large and has many sections and sub-sections. The designer can maintain a feeling of familiarity with consistency in design, orientate visitor with headings and titles and can guide visitor easily with clear navigation.
5) Stay Consistent. Consistency, as I've mentioned, is very important in many of interface design elements as well as colour, font, and graphics. When interface changes, visitor thinks they have left site. Confusion leads to bookmarks. Remember this. When a site visitor feels uncomfortable, is confused or irritated by a Web site they are two clicks away from a familiar site that is linked in their bookmarks or favourites. Two clicks.
Is there more? There is always more. Designing Web sites is a challenge and requires skills, knowledge, experience and flexibility because by time you read this, Internet and all its dimensions will have improved or changed, possibly enough to create a domino effect that will alter Interface design. However, basics of Interface design remain same and include symbolism, clarity, navigation, structure, guidance and consistency. Know basic rules, become familiar with them and then you can decide whether you are good enough to break them.
Cheryl R Cowtan is the CEO of Virtual Visions Online (http://www.vvo.on.ca) and specializes in Web site planning, Interface design, and Internet Marketing. Her company offers free quotes on services, free design tips and resources and you can join her free ABCs of Design and Marketing newsletter at http://www.onelist.com/community/ABCDesignMarketing.