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Ten golden rules of web design  



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Ten golden rules of web design


1. Content 

No matter how attractive your website may be or how clever the graphics, your visitors are looking for content. They will want accurate information that is easy to find. Your first task is to provide that. The most successful websites are not the prettiest but the ones with the best content.


2. Literacy 

Your website will suffer if the copy is not checked carefully and regularly for spelling and grammatical errors. Get someone else to read the copy through for sense.


3. Make it easy to read 

Most visitors to your site will be scanning through quickly to find the data they want. Make it easy for them. Aim for short sentences, simple explanatory headings, lots of bullet points, consistent typefaces and layout. Especially avoid too much colour, too many caps and a wide range of typefaces. Remember also that the world is full of different computers and different browsers. What looks wonderful on your machine may look dreadful on another.


4. Easy navigation 

Make sure pages are downloaded quickly and that, once online, visitors can navigate freely and easily around the site. Your audience may enter the website at many points. They should always be able to return to the home page from anywhere. They should also be able to find a table of contents to help with navigation.


5. Borrow ideas 

Never be too proud to borrow ideas from other websites. Not bare-faced theft. Take concepts which you can then develop. Have a look at sites from around the world and from different industries for ideas. There are some websites that offer their own "best websites" guide.


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6. What are you selling? 

Always make it easy for the visitor to see the benefit of buying from your website. For example, explain what products/services you offer and how can they benefit the visitor. Go further and include different suggestions on how to use the product or service. A good site provides "how-to" tutorials along with free tips, and lots of information.


7. How to buy 

It must be very obvious to any prospective customer how to make a purchase and complete an order. You will prefer an online order, with credit card, but give the customer alternative ways to place the order and pay. A helpline number to phone is vital. And let them know what hours you keep the helpline manned.


8. Be up-to-date 

Nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again. Keep adding new pages or information. Encourage visitors to return by announcing "news" to them. It is similarly important to keep deleting old material.


9. Feedback 

It is a good idea to include an easy mechanism for reporting faults on the site and giving feedback. Contact information and 'help' sections are also vital for customers who may have queries they want resolved. The most frequently asked questions (FAQs) are often answered on a website to reduce the number of e-mails or phone calls.


10. Quick to download 

Unless it is unavoidable, try not to create a site that has files that take a long time to download. Graphics are there to assist the visitor and aid navigation of the site, do not allow graphics to slow things down. This is particularly important for the home page, the front door to the site. If the home page takes a long time to load then the visitor is less likely to enter and navigate the site. Other pages of the site should still be as "light" as possible, but since the front page has brought the customer in, this might not be as critical.



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