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Basic Considerations For Web Design

Jun 23, 2008
Successful web design centers around the principle of always considering the experience of the audience first and foremost. Thus, before creating a website or webpage and uploading it to the Internet, the webpage designer must consider the website's anticipated audience and/or targeted market. What will their experience be? Doing so aids the web designer in defining the purpose of the website or webpage under construction and helps determine what content and features should be included in the design.

Who Is Your Audience?

Consider who the people are that are expected to visit the website under construction? Consider the purpose for which the audience will seek out this specific website or webpage. What exactly will they be looking for? Why? In doing so, the designer will be well served to examine the key words that describe sister pages on the same web domain, as well as competitive sites that show up for these same key words in a general search query.

Experienced web designers recommend drawing up a profile of who a website's visitors are likely to be, taking into consideration the following variables:

* Audience Characteristics
* Information Preferences
* Computer Specifications, and
* Web Experience

Designing the layout and content of a webpage with these factors in mind, rather than tailoring its focus and function afterwards, is more likely to deliver the desired content to the targeted audience or market demographic.

What Is the Purpose?

Writing out a "purpose statement" that sets out the website's principle objectives will help keep the focus on what the website will accomplish for its targeted audience. Is the principle purpose of the site informational, or is the website or webpage marketing a product or service to its targeted audience? What are the short-term and long-term goals for the webpage or website? Do . . . or will . . . these goals change over time? How?

The short and long term purposes of the particular webpage will determine the features and scope of the content that initially needs to be provided for the targeted audience, as well as the links and functions that need to be built in to allow users to navigate around the web domain the page sits in. As the "purpose statement" is developed, the content that needs to be provided for users will become more or less self-evident. As construction of the webpage nears completion, checking the content you have included to the page's purpose statement will be an important check to ensure the webpage functions as it should, not only in the HTML behind the page but, equally important, from the user's perspective.

What Content Will Users Need or Expect?

Listing and organizing the content and features that users will expect or require should be done with reference to the purpose statement for the webpage or website. Organizing the features and content of the page or site with an eye both to the audience and purpose statement will help focus the theme of the page or site. Content and features that are superfluous to the main purpose of the site should be removed. Each page should have its own focus, segregating individual purposes to separate pages will help enhance the user's experience - provided well-defined links and navigation tools are included in the overall website design.

Now What?

Once you have set up the webpage or website, it is time to move to the beta phase. Test the site's effectiveness and usability with a focus group that has the same characteristics as your targeted audience. If this is not feasible, at a minimum invite one or more persons who have not been involved in the planning and layout process to give it a test drive, so to speak. Feedback regarding user experience is the optimal way to tune up a page's or site's functionality before it is uploaded. Once your focus group has given the site or page a thorough testing ask these individuals to compare their experience to the goals and objectives that were listed in the purpose statement.
About the Author
Smith & Saunders are leaders in Web design in Cambridge, England. They have been in business since 1980 and have a proven history of creating award-winning online marketing solutions. Visit Smith & Saunders online, or call 07768 255967 to speak with a representative from one of Europe's pioneering and most experienced Web design firm.
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