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Usable Web Site Design

Joel Philip has pointed out six key factors one should consider when developing a web site. Are you developing a usable web site?

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By: Joel Philip
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March 20, 2003

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Joel Philip has pointed out six key factors one should consider when developing a web site. Are you developing a usable web site?

When the Internet first started it seemed like a new adventure for most people. Web sites were primitive by todays standards and did not have the flash that we either take for granted or expect in some shape or form.

Anyone can design a web site, so we think. You don’t have to learn how to write code know  how to use Photoshop to survive in the business of web site design or do we?

Designing a usable web site is not about flashy graphics or things that pop up in the viewer’s face. It’s about presenting the whole message to the visitor of the web site and having them return for a second helping of your message.

Heres a list of things to consider when designing a web site:

1. Who is your audience?
2. Do they get the message you are conveying?
3. What speed is their connection?
4. Will they appreciate your 200Kilobyte site?
5. What is the purpose of the site?
6. Is the presentation logical?

Lets go over these 6 simple questions. This is only the tip of the iceberg for web design.

1. Who is your audience?

If you don’t know your audience will they return? Probably not.

If you are designing for a corporate business then the visitors will not appreciate graphic intensive splash pages or MP3 music blaring in the background.

2. Do they get the message you are conveying?

If you talk in techno-babble then how will they follow what you are trying to say? It’s like talking to someone who describes everything in chemical symbols. If your site is about “water” don’t use H2O, just say ‘WATER” and keep the computer talk to a minimum.

3. What speed is their connection?

This plays a huge part in the success of your site and others. If most of the people visiting your site are on 56k modems or not so fast connections then using large amounts of graphics will make them leave ASAP.

4. Will they appreciate your 200 Kilobyte site? Or better yet, the Flash-intensive site?

Give the viewer the option to wander onto your Flash presentation. Use Gif images as much as possible and use jpeg images for high-resolution solutions. Not all people are saavy about plugins or have theknow how to deal with mulitmedia on the web. Most people leave the site by clicking the close button on their browser.

5. What is the purpose of the site?

Most people just want to have a site, “if they build it they will come” is usually the mantra. Do you really need or want to have a site? Can you get by without building one?  These are things to consider before delving into the concept and design of something that might not be feasible.

6. Is the presentation logical?

Ahh, something to really figure out before plopping down those images on the site. Can people find their way around your site? Are all of the pages looking consistent and in a logical matter?  Desiging a web site is easy, you only have to create one page. Then copy and paste all of the content into the page.

The hardest part is designing that one page. If you use the suggestions contained within this article then you can bring together something that your viewers will appreciate and understand.

The concept of web design is making the pages usable.

Written by Joel Philip – Copyright 2003

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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