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Designing the Elements of a Web Page

My previous article on information architecture dealt with planning the content properly. Now, that great content needs a great design to sit inside. This is where the web design part steps in and it is equally intricate. Many people will say "I don't know where to start." There is no requirement to be a professional designer to create a web site.

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By: Stephen Davies
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 9
August 13, 2007
  1. · Designing the Elements of a Web Page
  2. · The Starting Tools
  3. · Designing the Grid
  4. · Web Design Tips
  5. · The important principles of white space
  6. · Example of a Styled Template

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Designing the Elements of a Web Page - Web Design Tips
(Page 4 of 6 )

Here are some quick tips that will provide some aid towards finalizing that pristine web design. It does not matter whether you are planning to slice a graphic design in Photoshop into GIF files, plan the template in Dreamweaver or hand code the whole shebang using style sheets, there are certain points that need to be kept firmly in mind throughout the site design:

  1. Plan out some scenarios that fictionally represent what the target audience will need when visiting the site. The design should be based on how the visitor will access the information. Ensure that visitors' needs are met.
  2. Be conservative in how the graphics are applied if this is a first attempt.
  3. Care should be taken when applying color shades. The text type must contrast against the background color; black text on a white background is common. Ensure the text contrast is sharp.
  4. Bullets are excellent at separating important salient points in the content. They allow content to be laid out in a succinct manner. Even so, do not overdose on the use of graphical icons like bullet points and other visuals like buttons.
  5. Ensure that the font type and size is consistent throughout the pages. This is where style sheets can help.
  6. Do not omit the starting point as laid out earlier in this article. Design that initial template first, once there is a network diagram showing the flow of information from page to page. This does not need to be the final design. There must be a starting point from which future designs will flourish.
  7. If the site will embrace flash animations, take care with the amount and file sizes. This also applies to the JPEG and GIF images being inserted. Even at broadband speeds, many sites take some time to load. Do not forget the rule regarding attention span; do not keep visitors waiting for the page to load.
  8. On the subject of broadband speeds, there are still dial-up users out there. So a design that is balanced between graphic visualization and lower file sizes is always a good step towards a careful design layout and a fast- loading page. Also, the site will still load better during times of latency on broadband connections.

Next we shall discuss the importance of white space.

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