Let Your Little Website Shine, Part 2

Written by Lynne Schlumpf

I discussedrepparttar speed of your website load, and now we'll discuss element 2:

2. Looks great: Please remember that this subject has so many opinions among so many people that it really is up to you inrepparttar 134739 end. What you think looks great, may look stupid or overdone to someone else. If you get criticism in feedback from your visitors, keep it in mind if it is constructive. We'll just discuss a few things to help you decide for yourself.

The first and best thing to do is to find out whatrepparttar 134740 big guys are doing. You knowrepparttar 134741 sites that get huge hits. Study these sites. What about them is pleasing to your eyes? Is it a certain wayrepparttar 134742 navigation links are presented? Is itrepparttar 134743 location of certain elements onrepparttar 134744 page? What elements make up these websites that make them easy to look at? Do they have really cool graphics? Do they presentrepparttar 134745 content in an easy-to-look-at way? Notice that they don't usually overcrowdrepparttar 134746 page. A lot of junk crammed into one page turns people off. Their lettering and graphics are clean-looking. No raggedy edges (aliasing). Keep their formats in mind when you design yours. What colors do they stick to? How do they present their menus/links? Time them. How fast do they load? What elements on each webpage catch your eye first. Look at these websites with a different eye than just somebody visiting there. These websites were designed by professionals doing this for a living. What types of presentation do they know brings people back. Look at it from an artistic and marketing eye. What about these sites provides a lot of marketing material?

Don't copy them, of course, but keep in mind where their navigation links go, whererepparttar 134747 logo usually goes, how much content is onrepparttar 134748 main page, howrepparttar 134749 navigation links they have are pretty standard.

I Wouldn't Start From Here!

Written by Martin Avis

Inrepparttar old joke, a man goes up to an old-timer and asks how to get torepparttar 134738 local library. The old man thinks for a minute and then says "It's quite simple really, but I wouldn't start from here!"

Sounds silly? Well why do so many people design their web sites like that?

It is a basic human need to know where we are at any given moment. If we were to be blindfolded and set down in a strange city, most of us would panic. It isn't a logical, thought-out response - simply a wired-in emotional reaction to feeling out-of-place.

Almost every tourist center inrepparttar 134739 world provides maps and guidebooks for their visitors. They don't do it just to make a few dollars extra - they do it to stop thousands of folks from asking their staff directionsrepparttar 134740 whole time.

Yet how many web sites are 'designed' without a single thought for making it easy for visitors to find their way around?

Frighteningly few!

Most people have a need to build a mental picture of where they have been, and where they are now. If a web site does not help them satisfy that need, they will form an unconscious negative impression. Then,repparttar 134741 quality ofrepparttar 134742 information onrepparttar 134743 site becomes secondary to their basic human instinct. They will quickly click away and look for an alternative, better organized site.

Site navigation is not simply about a nav-bar on your home page. It encompasses three tightly interlinked factors:

* Home page navigation * Site 'look and feel' * Reassurance

Taking these things one at a time, let's look at how your site can be friendly to your visitors, and how they will feel good about you.

Home Page Navigation ---------------------

Every site makes some kind of stab at this. Whether it is a side bar or a top bar, an image map or in-text links, virtually all web designers make some attempt to move visitors on intorepparttar 134744 depths ofrepparttar 134745 site.

But wait - let's think about how it is often done.

Too many links. Why throw a link to everything ontorepparttar 134746 front page? A few themed links directing visitors of discrete sections ofrepparttar 134747 site are more comforting.

Too few links. Unless there is a very good reason to make people follow your site in a linear fashion, it is much better to let them browse inrepparttar 134748 order they choose.

Unclear links. However you decide to design your page, ensure thatrepparttar 134749 links are clear as day. Use of underlined text on a page that is not a link is confusing, as is changingrepparttar 134750 default way that links are displayed. If you do play design games like this, make sure you have a very good reason, and that your visitors have no choice but to understand.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
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