Web Design Tips and Tricks
developed some web design techniques and philosophies that have helped our
clients to realize successful Web businesses. We would like to share
this knowledge with potential clients as well as other web developers.
Some comments are considered standard good
practice; others are our opinions derived from personal experiences.
These "tips & tricks" cover two main topic areas:
Aspects of Good Web Site Design.
How to Increase Web
Aspects of Good Web
- Keep text concise especially at the top levels of the site. Surfers have trained
themselves to speed read a page to see if they have landed where they want to be. If they
cannot ascertain the information they are seeking within seconds they will move on. Longer
explanations can be made available via links to pages deeper in the site for those who
want the full story. Bullets often work well to crystallize major
- Professional looking graphics can create a "user experience", provide
contrast to text and create visual relief.. The quality of the graphics more than anything
else will instantly portray the level of sophistication of the site and entice the visitor
to linger. Use meaningful "ALT" text on images.
- Page format is important for aesthetic composition, readability and logical
organization. The most important content to the user should dominate
the web page "above the fold". Minimize navigational
graphics for destination pages to less than 20% of the page space.
Create effective "white space" or blank areas around graphics
and text for visual relief and aesthetics but at the same time, it is
important to provide as much information as possible with minimum scrolling.
Web page length
should rarely exceed 3 screen lengths. Some web pages can be very sparse depending on the
mood or feeling being portrayed. Be
careful with the overused and usually boring "centered and stacked" approach.
- Graphics versus download speed. Download speed is
one of the most
important aspect of web design. Strive for less than 10 second
download time which means a page design under 34 Kbytes. The
"bailout" rate of visitors increases after 10 seconds. A thorough understanding of GIF versus JPEG images and
(and best quality) for a given image or effect. The proper balance of text
versus image size is also important
so that a visitor can begin to read the information while images are downloaded. To
accomplish this, always insert width and height parameters inside image tags so that the
browser knows the image dimensions before it is downloaded.
Reuse images as much as possible as they are cached and only need to be
- Create straightforward navigation
with links that are clear as to what
they are about. If the link is for a large image or file include the file size
with the link so that those with slower connections will understand that
they will be waiting.
Realize that a good percentage of visitors will not enter your site from the
homepage therefore always include at least a "home" link on every page.
- Point Links inward especially at the higher levels of your site. You will work
hard at attracting visitors to you so dont invite them to leave as soon as
theyve come in. Give your visitors the opportunity to visit important external links
after youve had a chance to tell them about your message.
- I've been Framed! Frames have their pros and cons. Frames
are especially useful if you wish to keep your navigational links continuously available
to the visitor. Having all the links on one page in a frame also makes it easier to
make updates to the links since only one page needs editing as opposed to all your pages.
Frames are also useful for allowing a user to "design the page", by giving the
user the opportunity to combine various combinations of pages on the same screen.
The problems with frames are that not all browsers support them. This is
particularly important to busy commercial sites where the few percent using these browsers
can mean a large number of visitors left out. In these cases alternate non-framed
sites are created to support those visitors. Some search engines
have trouble reading frames and may not be able to read the links to
your internal pages. Therefore redundant links should be inserted
in the frameset page
to satisfy the search engines. Another frame related problem
occurs when search engines direct visitors to a single page and not to
the frameset. In other words, the main page is presented without
the top logo frame or left navigational frame leaving visitors confused
should be added to every page to assure that a page cannot be accessed
without the frameset.
- Target your design to the correct monitor resolutions
and self-optimize for larger display dimensions when possible. A low
resolution monitor of 640 x 480 pixels will have a viewable area on
all platforms and browsers of 557 x 270. If you expect the user to print the page on standard A4 letter size paper stick to
dimensions of 535 x 670 pixels. As a general rule graphic images should not exceed a
width of 535 pixels. Screen resolutions are getting larger with
about 80% of visitors using 800 x 600 or larger. This resolution translates to a
browser safe area of 717 x 390. Only 11% of current visitors use
the minimum 256 colors. Most pages today with fixed dimensions
are ignoring the few 640 x 480 users and optimizing for the 800 x 600
- Design to accommodate all users especially the none graphic user. This
will continue to be important as more and more people excess the web from mobile equipment
like Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). Use the ALT tag to describe the image they
would be missing. Did you know that visually disabled people can acquire special
software that makes ALT tags audible!