A truly great website design consists of easy navigation, clear presentation of information, user friendliness, and most importantly great contents. If a designer can incorporate these elements seamlessly, they can achieve an excellent design each time.
Here’s my top 5 rules in website design:
1 – Do not use a splash page.
Whether it’s an html splash page or a Flash splash page, I stay away from designing splash pages all the time. A splash page serves as an entry point to a website, it will usually have some kind of brief Flash intro or a “click to enter” button that will direct you to the actual website. Although a splash page can be visually appealing, refrain from ever creating one. As a designer you only have mere seconds to present your information before your viewer surfs to another website.
2 – Do create a simple navigation
Place your navigation buttons where you know the viewers will find it, usually it would be on the left side or on the top. I’ve seen navigation placed on the right side, in some cases this is ok depending on the design. Try to minimize the amount of buttons you have and create submenus. For example if you have buttons for audio, video, pictures you might want to put those in a submenu called Multimedia. I try to stay away from submenus because a less internet savvy person might not know what to do with it, I only use submenus to minimize my button count.
3 – Do create a breadcrumb navigation
Breadcrumb navigation is a textual representation of where and how information is located within a website. It displays how major categories of information are linked along a continuum of sequential order. You want to place the breadcrumb underneath your header just above the content body of your site. Let’s go back to our multimedia example, if a user is on your video page, the breadcrumb should look something like:
HOME > MULTIMEDIA > VIDEOS
This will allow the user to easily determine where they are in your website. These navigation links should be clickable.
4 – Do not use excessive banner ads
There’s nothing more annoying to me than seeing a website with Google ads on the left, top, and right side all at once. If you’re planning on placing ads on your site, make it real subtle and do not over do it. Consider placing affiliate ads that are only relevant to the contents of your site. Keep the placement of ads consistent throughout the site, if you have ads on the bottom of your page, keep it the same for all your pages.
5 – Do provide great contents
Content is the most important aspect of your website. This is what can bring in or drive away your viewers. The major search engines will index your site quite regularly if you have great and relevant contents. Having relevant content is very important in search engine optimization, your viewer will be able to find your site easily everytime they search for a relative keyword or term.
~ Here are some more golden rules to think about.
- Never use abstract language on your website unless you are talking about such a subject.
- Be concise in your writing, positive and to the point
- Use appropriate links from your content, wherever required. For instance, a person may be interested in learning about natural stones and gem resources in India, from a section talking about types of gems available.
- Put your self in the visitors shoes to present the right information at every step.
- Do not cram loads of information in a single page and one heading: If possible, use subheads and divide your topics. What is the purpose of the site? Your subject and target should determine the word limit. Generally, 400-500 word write-ups are ideal. For more informative subjects, a volume of 1000-1200 words should be the upper limits.