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Website Check-List: Part 2

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Old 12-28-2009, 10:05 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Default Website Check-List: Part 2

This is Part 2 of a Series on Good Web Design

A web site is like everything else in life -- there are good ones and not-so-good ones! Professional web designers have a check-list of elements that make up those in the first category. Here are the remaining four main elements to be considered. Each of these contributes to the impact and success of your site.

6. Segmenting and Sign-Posting

You have to make your page as easy for your visitors to read as is humanly possible and this means breaking it up into little 'chunks' for them. We've already looked at the need for columns, (which divide the page vertically), you also need to divide your page horizontally, by the use of headings and sub-headings.

When you were at school, your teachers told you to use headings in your notes; apply the same principles to your web pages. Look for the key points on each page and write a short statement that summarises each point; this is your heading.

Read through each section and see if it can be further divided into smaller points; write a summary of these sub-sections and these are your sub-headings.

Select a font for all your headings and sub-headings (and stick to it). It's not necessary to have a different font for headings (just go up one size for headings, and then use bold on all headings and sub-headings).

This way it's easy to recognise which is a heading (large and bold) and which is a sub-heading (smaller size and bold).

The point of this is to make it easy for your visitors to glance at your page and to take in all the key points. If what they see interests them, they'll stay and keep reading, so it goes without saying, that your headings should be written with care!

To draw attention to other important points, you can also highlight them -- by putting a whole sentence in bold or a different colour (or both). However, take care with the colours you select; some are quite difficult to read, even against a white background.

7. Navigation

Your main navigation bar should run down the left side of your page, for two reasons:
We're accustomed to reading from left to right and from top to bottom
We're accustomed to finding navigation bars on the left of web pages so why buck the system (especially when it works)?

It's also a good idea to have a brief navigation bar along the bottom of the page (just home | top of page will suffice).

When you've found a system you're happy with, use it on every page, so that your visitors know where to look for the information.

Make a blank page which has your page layout (columns), any logos or standardised graphics, alt tags and navigation bar already built in. Call this 'blank" and then when you make a new page, you have everything already set up and just have to enter the content, html tags and then save it as "whatever.htm".

8. Customer Security

If your site is a business site, then one of the most important things you have to do is to ensure that your potential customers feel confident dealing with you. On the web, you do this by telling people exactly what you're doing to safeguard their interests, in particular, how you're protecting their privacy.

It's worth having a separate page which sets out -- in detail -- your policy towards their email addresses; how you accept orders; how you gather information; who has access to this information; how you use information gathered from children and so on.

Visitors also like to know that real people have used your products or services, so it's worth asking your satisfied customers if you can quote any positive comments they've made about you. Don't be afraid to ask for testimonials; we all like to know that our opinions are valued.

Set up a separate page for your testimonials and offer to include links to your customers' pages in return for using their comments. This is one of those "win-win" situations!

9. Words, words, words

Now we come to the most important element; if this part is wrong, the rest of your efforts are largely wasted. How many times have you been impressed by a site's initial appearance, only to be disappointed by poor spelling, careless grammar and punctuation?

It reflects badly on the site owner and indicates that whoever is responsible for this page, is sloppy, careless, lazy, unprofessional or all of the above!

Would you entrust any of your hard-earned money to someone who doesn't even care enough to check the expression of his/her own site?
You can take steps to improve your own writing s****s
You can employ someone to proof read and edit your work

You can employ someone to write your pages for you.
There are places that will assist you with any or all of these steps. Don't spoil all your hard work by skipping this one, vital step! Browse through these other articles to read how you can improve the writing on your web site.

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