Web Site Design: Things You Should AvoidWritten by Gunter Gerdenitsch
Time and again I come across a web site with ages of load time, nearly illegible copy and a lack of content but full of irritating gimmicks. Often I cannot help wondering: "Horrible! Didn't they see how their Internet appearance does them a disservice? If their web site is looking like that - however will their core business be ... ?" Then, upon second thought, I have to say to myself: "Well, there's only one reasonable explanation: They *really* didn't see it."
Indeed, when you are developing your web site, you do it strictly LOCALLY on your computer. That's a great difference to how it will come out ONLINE to your visitors. (In fact, that's what makes difference between a professional web site designer and someone who is carving out his/her own web site. The pro's of course are subject to same discrepancies - but they are aware of them. The amateur is happy when his/her web site design is looking well on own computer - disregarding that it might be looking very differently to a visitor!)
Some of main differences between local and online web sites are following:
Many surveys among web surfers show that load time is one of main deterrent factors for NOT entering a web site and turning to another one instead. Professional web site design will always try to have contents on screen within first few seconds. Additional parts of your web site can be loaded during following 20-60 seconds - but during that time visitor should already have something to read on screen! (Preferably, of course, something to make his/her mouth water what is yet to come.)
Don't forget: When you design your web site LOCALLY, your computer takes contents from hard disk - that is, it appears on your screen within milliseconds, even with most extravagant graphics etc. A visitor to your web site, however, will have to load it ONLINE. And this might take quite a long time. While switching to another web site is just a matter of seconds. Don't be tempted to stuff your web site with things nobody is eager to see or hear!
Web Design for the No-Talent ArtistWritten by Jeff Clark
Not everyone can hit a 90 mile per hour fast ball 400 feet. That's why there are so few major league baseball players. Most everyone enjoyed art class while in school, but we also realized there was probably only one in each classroom who actually had a talent for drawing. So too with web design. We can't all be like brilliant Willie Otto (http://reticulum.net/wso/), but that shouldn't limit our ability to present a credible web offering that serves our purposes, and attracts attention. If your graphic art talent is limited to stick figures and cartoon landscapes, this article may just be for you. Know Your Limitations
Honestly judge your own abilities. No one knows better than you level of artistic talent you possess. Operate within limits. If you can't draw two straight lines, stick to computer generated graphics. If you don't know difference between a pixel and a palette, perhaps you're better off with text effects. If art is important to your web site's business, consider hiring a professional, or borrowing from free graphics sites, but always give credit where due. Never Try to Baptize a Cat
. . . or develop your web graphics with Adobe Photoshop if you have but two hours of training. The result will be same; lots of fur and blood. If you've never used any kind of graphics editor before, I recommend Adobe's ImageStyler or Jasc's Paint Shop Pro. They each have a very short learning curve, a number of creative built-in special effects, and make your first-time images look better than average. Neither are very expensive, and ImageStyler operates on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. Familiarize yourself with dingbats, and no, I'm not talking about Edith Bunker. Don't know what those are? They are little pieces of iconized art that a talented illustrator has developed and turned into a font. There are thousands of them available for download on Internet for free, or a small shareware fee. Type letter A, and right before your eyes you have a beautiful coat of arms or smiley face. They come in all shapes and sizes; look like buttons or arrows or caricatures; and make your job so much easier. Plan Ahead
This is equally important to most gifted professional or rank amateur. Even if you can't draw or render, you can visualize. Spend a lot of pre-computer time conjuring images in your head. Make feeble attempts to transform those images to paper so you'll remember what you had in mind. You may not be able to draw, but at least you have an imagination.