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5 Web Design Tips You Can't Live Without

In the world of web design, both novice and experienced designers often have their faults when laying out websites.  Don't fall into the trap of making "common" mistakes.  In this article Steve opens up his own bag of tricks, and gives us five design tips that may just make your next project that much more successful.

Author Info:
By: Steve Adcock
Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 50
November 27, 2003
  1. · 5 Web Design Tips You Can't Live Without
  2. · Combating Internet Spam Spiders
  3. · Take the Typography Test
  4. · Metatags Make Your Site Search Engine Friendly
  5. · Always Provide a Method of Contact
  6. · Design with the Little Guy in Mind
  7. · Wrapping It Up

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5 Web Design Tips You Can't Live Without - Take the Typography Test
(Page 3 of 7 )

Our web sites are nothing without content, and most content is comprised of simple text. Many web designers neglect to pay attention to their topography, and it shows. Proper topography varies based on where the text is and what purpose it serves. Although there are no rules etched in stone, there are a few general techniques that should be followed. Although some of these tips may seem elementary, I find many of them are not followed.


Clearly, headings should be larger, by 1 or 2 font sizes, than your body text. You may consider bold, but be cognizant of the letter width. Arial Black, for example, may create letters too fat for your taste. When using colors, be sure the colors contrast well with the background color of your site. Black and dark gray do not contrast well, while black and white (or light gray) work quite well. Sometimes, even a simple color change can create useful headings.

Also be sure to cascade your headings. A main heading, for example, would be larger than subheadings. This effect creates a sense of emphasis and flow to the information.

Do not italicize your headings. Italics are meant to underscore particular content, but since the text is a heading and of larger size anyway, italics are redundant and often make the text difficult to read.


The default is Times New Roman, which works fine, but many think it is boring. I have experimented with Arial, Georgia and Verdana, and have found Verdana the most readable font face available. This is a personal preference, but fonts should be restricted to the above four to ensure compatibility between all users of your web site. If your user's browser does not support your font choice, their browser will revert to its default. Since browsers have increased support for CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, whenever possible, use CSS to define your fonts, rather than HTML's <font> tag. Also, be sure to keep your font sizes large enough for visitors of all ages and eyesights.

Stress Styles

Avoid using all capital letters within your text, as it makes it difficult to read and implies you are shouting at the reader.

To stress words within your body text, decide on a format and stick with it. Some choose bold, while others choose italics or underline. My personal favorite is italics, but any of these can work well. Be careful when using underline, however, as it can be mistaken for a link. In addition, do not overuse these stress styles.

Entire body text should not be bold. Bold, like italics, is used to emphasis words, and usually an entire body of copy should speak for itself in regularly styled text. I like to use CSS to space my body text out a little to increase readability.

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