Author: Joshua Tryon
That’s why I’m going to show you how to plan your website design first, and then how to implement it. I will also show you how to avoid some common mistakes that beginning web designers often make.
First, let us talk about some terms. When I say website design, I simply mean the creation of a website. Whether through the actually use of HTML code or through a point-and-click WYSIWYG(What you see is what you get) editor.
When I say usability, I’m talking about how “user friendly” your site is. This could be everything from font size to layout to the interactive and dynamic elements of your site.
This leads me to the next topic: the website design itself. Now just wait. I want you to stop before you do anything else and just think about what you want this site to look like. Take out a piece of paper and a pencil and draw your layout. Think about what your audience will be expecting.
Think about a color scheme. Think about other pages and sites that you’ll be linking to. Then take a look at some of your competitors sites and see what they did. Does it work for them? Will it work for you?
When you draw up your layout, ask yourself the following questions: “Where are the navigation links?(links to other pages on your site),” “Where are the links to other sites?(your affiliates perhaps),” “Are you going to have ads on your site, and If so, what kind(text, pictures, both?) and where will they be?,” and finally, “Where will the main content go? What will that content be? How should the audience to react to it?”
Now, consider your color scheme. What is the main subject of your site? If it’s a conservative subject like business or finance, you’ll want to use “cool” colors like blue, green, or gray. If it’s a more personal subject, like dating, or something artistic, like painting, you’ll want to use “warm” colors, like red, orange, or yellow.
What is the mood of your site? If it’s somber, use darker shades. For a calm look use medium shades. And if you want a child-like or carefree kind of site use bright shades. (A note about children’s sites: the actual color is less important here than the shade. Use bright, extravagant colors for a children’s site.)
Now look at some of your competitors. What kind of layout and color scheme do they use? Does is seem effective to you? If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to try and emulate it, but don’t be a copy-cat.
Your website design should be unique. If you’re competitors all do the same thing, maybe you should try taking a different course. Stand out from the crowd with your website design and it will be more likely to get noticed.
So now you’ve got a basic idea of what you want your site to look like. Now you’re left with one more big question: “How can I make this work in a way that my audience will be able to use it effectively.” That’s right, it’s time to talk about usability.
Usability is as much about code as it is about flow. Your site should allow the user to see what they want to see, but also make them see what you want them to see. This is sometimes easier said than done. As an example of what I’m talking about, let’s talk about ads.
First of all, you can assume that the user looking at your site is looking at your site because they saw a keyword they were interested in(i.e. they searched Google for your sites topic). So whatever ads you include on your site should fit nicely with your main content. A great way to accomplish this is with Google AdSense, but that’s another article.
The point in this is that you want your ads to be relevant, but you also want them to grab the user’s attention. The best place to do this is at the top or right-hand side of the page. If you have an article-based site or a blog, you might try to incorporate the ads into the content of your site by placing them between each paragraph. That way your users see ads about things they might want, and you want them to see the ads. This increases the overall usability of your website design.
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