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Substance and Style are Essentials Of Web Design

Aug 7, 2008
Though not as important as writing amazing content, creating an awesome site design is the most important part of leaving a remarkable first impression on your visitors. Contents keeps visitors coming back, but a beautiful web design has its own value. Before you go out and spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a web site design, make sure you understand the basics.

There are two aspects of a good web design: substance and style. Like we mentioned above, each has its own value, and can make the other aspect even better.

Let's start out with substance, or the technical aspect of a web design. A well-designed web site should be and easy to navigate. Minimize the distractions. Make sure your visitors can access the blog through a wide variety of web browsers, operating systems, and screen resolutions. You wouldn't want to mess up a beautiful design by only coding it for one browser.

One commonly overlooked component of web design is the page's loading time. With many designs extremely graphic-heavy, some sites take several seconds to completely load. In an era of web surfing where a visit may only last a couple seconds, it's important to keep your visitor's attention while you have it. Images should only be a few kilobytes (10kb - 12kb). Many graphic editors, such as Adobe Photoshop, have a "save for web" feature that will allow you to save the bandwidth and load time by cutting file size.

As far as the aesthetic design goes, it's important to be "unique," after all, that's how trends change. But in most cases, it's better to stick with a traditional conservative design. There's a whole laundry list of ways that a web layout can get out of hand. Minimize the distractions. Stick with a couple simple fonts. Avoid Flash-based component that steal bandwidth and attention. Cut down on the advertisements, especially ones that aren't extremely profitable. Don't automatically have your favorite song start blasting in the background. And whatever you do, there's no need to change the visitor's cursor. Final point: keep it simple, stupid. There's the end of that rant.

There are quite a few tools out there for a webmaster's disposal. Some software applications allow you to certify your site meets web standards. These swiss-army knives of design can help your site do it all. It's possible to check out your site in a variety of browsers and resolutions, as well as making sure the code meets world wide web standards. In most cases, trial versions available for download, if not the full version. For web designers working on a variety of sites, a do-it-all program is a great asset for improving design functionality.

Web design is the telephone line that delivers your message to your visitors. Better yet, your web design is the phone itself. Everybody wants a stylish design, but it's most important that the message is delivered across effectively.

Designing a web site is a never-ending process. Even after the initial design, you'll find that little tweaks are needed from time to time. With the ever-evolving Internet, even a state of the art web site may need a significant redesign just one year later. Ask your readers for feedback about the site design; after all, they're the ones you're trying to communicate with.

Hiring a web design firm is one to develop a beautiful web site. However, don't forget that functionality is the essential part. Common sense doesn't require a thousand-dollar phone consultant.
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