Effective Web Design 101

Web Design 101

Your Virtual Storefront

I've been creating website since the days of NetScape 1.0 came out. I thought I'd share some of my tips regarding effective website creation and design. I come across poor website design all the time when surfing the net. When you first create a website you should think about layout and how others will navigate your site. Do your research and find out what others are doing before you just toss together a site. Think of a website like a storefront in your local mall. Your home page is much like a storefront because it's the first thing your visitor sees. If its eye catching and always up-to-date then visitors will stay and view your site. If you walk by a store with a bad window display or the same as your last visit, what are the chances you are going to check things out? So you can see the importance of designing a great home page.

Keep it Clean

Don't overwhelm someone with a lot of information on your home page. I recommend a mix of 70/30 depending on the type of site. Give your users about 70 percent content mixed with 30 percent graphics/images/ads to compliment your content. Keep your visitors engaged in your content to keep them coming back. Ever had a hard time finding your keys in a cluttered room?

Easy Navigation

One of my favorite sites is DynamicDrive.com which offers lots of free cool stuff. Stuff that helps you make your website stand out from others in the crowd. I mainly use the navigation tools they provide on my websites. Both SpreadViralVideo.com and MyVolunteer.com use navigation that I found on DynamicDrive.com. I've also used code that disables the "Submit" button after its been clicked. That way the user cannot click it a 2nd time, preventing duplicate information.

Research Other Sites

While you want your creativity to be your own it's a great idea to see what others are doing. I often check out the design of other websites to see what others are doing. I did this years ago when I first started creating web pages to learn the art of HTML. When I started I didn't have the luxury of books or even classes on how to code HTML, JavaScript and other coding languages of the web.

Tools of the Trade

I want to finish up with just briefly talking about some of the tools of the trade. I have hard coded websites in the past however I mostly use WYSIWYG(What You See Is What You Get) software when developing my current websites. I don't know about you but I don't have a lot of free time, so I use FrontPage from Microsoft. I'm not part of a website team so I'm on my own when it comes to developing my websites. Therefore I use software that lets me crank out pages and a fast pace. Besides FrontPage other editors on the market are Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web(replaces FrontPage) and Adobe® Contribute® CS3 to name a few. Most of these allow you to use a simple "Compose" mode to create your web pages. These editors make it easy for you to add images, navigation, links, create tables and other aspects of a web pages quickly. Those who know how to code can switch to the HTML mode to have more control of the design.

If you're interested in purchasing any of the popular HTML editors I've listed a few below.

Expression Web

Expression Web (Full Product, PC)

Expression Web (Full Product, PC)


FrontPage 2003 (Full Product, PC)

FrontPage 2003 (Full Product, PC)


Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 - Complete Product - 1 UserPC

Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 - Complete Product - Complete Product - 1 UserPC

More applications can be found on CNet's site Download.com and are either free or try and buy trials. Most of the above software can usually be downloaded and tried out for 30 days before you buy. Give them a spin and see what types of creations you can come up with.

Do you have any tips to share with others? Have a favorite HTML editor? Feel free to comment below.


Rose DesRochers said...

Informative post. Dynamicdrive use to be a site that I used a lot when building html pages back in the day before blogs and content management systems.


DJInBoise said...

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah the process gets easier than back in the days. I still like it if I need something useful. Know of any other useful sites?


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