Tips and tricks: web design

I found this article on the internet, originally in German, and the Word file is from 2004, but the document might be even older, as it mentions 1999 near the end of the text 😁!

Do you want to create your own website for fun or cost reasons? The associated significant time consumption is not particularly important for private individuals. In any case, we have compiled and explained some of the most important (and most often overlooked) rules below - without claiming completeness. However, we are not offering an HTML course here, but assume that knowledge.

Tips
Tips - Photo by Frank Vessia on Unsplash

The most important thing is content

Good design is characterized by the fact that the focus is on the information. Pages should be clearly structured so that visitors can easily find their way around.

Information is absolutely in the foreground, which is why pages with mediocre or even poor design can be extremely successful. It's not about showing off your drawing skills (or those of a graphics program).

Use effects efficiently

Even the most beautiful introductory moments quickly become tiring. Above all, effects should not cost the user and distract them from the information. Otherwise, according to numerous surveys, they are perceived as annoying.

Functionality

The most annoying thing about a website is missing or broken links. So check all the links!

Short, flawless texts

Admittedly, we are prone to using a lot of text on these pages because we assume that the visitor actually wants to learn more. However, if you want to believe conducted studies, these texts are at best skimmed. Reading has not become less important in our society, but it is less valued. Inexperienced readers often have trouble understanding when a sentence contains more than 12 words (see tips and tricks for texts).

Correct spelling and grammar are self-explanatory, however, most people find mistakes less well on a screen than on paper prints. Therefore, repeated proofreading is an absolute necessity. Have employees or friends check your pages for errors.

Test pages with different browsers

Keep in mind that visitors use a wide variety of web browsers, resolutions, window sizes, and color depths. What looks stunning on screen with 32-bit color depth can look ugly or poorly done with 16-bit - for example, color gradients. So test your website with different browsers, color depths, and window sizes.
Of course, every site is just a compromise and doesn't have to be compatible with the oldest browsers.

Search engine

Assuming the right keywords are entered into a search engine, most visitors will be drawn to your website by search engines. First of all, enter finished websites into search engines.

Meta tags (e.g., keywords) are often called miracle cures, but they are rarely the only criterion by which a search engine positions different websites. Make sure that the keywords match the content of the website.

Most search engines also take text into account. This is especially important if you are working with dynamic pages (ASP, PHP) or Flash. Dynamic content generated from a database can also be found and listed by the most important search engines, but you really can't rely on that. Not so with Flash. Text is displayed here as graphics, which spiders cannot capture at all. Create at least some pages for viewing in normal HTML.

You also need to think about search engines when it comes to frames, as it is likely that individual subpages will be listed in search engines (unless you exclude them using robots.txt).

Avoid secret tips that you constantly hear about, such as writing and background in the same color. At least the larger search engines (i.e., the most important ones) are prepared for that and usually do not include such pages at all.

Do not use more than three fonts

Three fonts, including the title font, should be enough. Everything else looks restless. You also need to consider that the fonts you use for HTML pages must be loaded on the visitor's PC (otherwise, a different font will be displayed).

Do not put anything unfinished online

"Under construction" or phrases like "Here a new great website by Muster GmbH is being created" annoy the visitor. As soon as your pages are entered into search engines or the Http address is published in some other way, the result must look "ready," even if you are planning numerous extensions.

For example, very often, links can be found on websites that do not yet work. However, the visitor is not interested in what will be seen there in a few weeks. It simply leaves a negative impression of an unfinished website. However, if they discover new links during a later visit, they may even become curious.

Update regularly

Make sure that the information is always up-to-date. Nothing looks worse than, for example, a reference to an action week in July 1999.

Think carefully about whether it is really worth your time to create your own website. If you don't have a lot of experience and practice, many small things can go wrong that prevent the success of your project. In the end, it is often cheaper to hire someone like us to do it.

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