One of the toughest challenges facing any designer is the web page. There are perhaps millions of pages in the World Wide Web all jostling for attention. The question that is foremost is how you as a designer can make a difference.
Study the subject being featured. Visit as many sites as possible that cover the same as well as related topics. Make a list of what works and what doesn’t. Avoid using a design that is going to be uniform with others. Unless your pages are distinctive they are not going to work.
1. Try and avoid run of the mill things like page counters, java text scrolling, flashing images, GIF images, signs which say “we are not ready.” Or, too many illustrations or animations, black grounds or fade ins.
2. Create a design which coveys in a stylish way what it has to. Instead of using downloaded illustrations use original ones.
3. Avoid things like heavy files or graphics. These will slow down your pages. GIF is better than JPEG files.
4. Think of the target audience and subject being addressed when designing. The overall effect should be that of exclusivity.
5. Avoid incorporating download plugins. While Flash is innovative and fun you will loose viewers if you don’t provide an HTML alternative.
6. Design the pages so that they are not more than 50K.
7. Remember the rule of thumb; a web page should not have more than three screens. And, ensure that the viewer does not have to scroll horizontally.
8. Test your website pages with several browsers. Make sure they open quickly and completely. Do a reality check by asking a cross section of users to check the site. Usability checking will bring to the fore any mistakes made.
9. Don’t use backgrounds with tiles or patterns it makes the design fussy and decreases readability. Avoid frames they make the pages difficult to book mark.
10. Determine accurately the rules of creative design and ensure that you apply them. If you have links make sure they work. Limit page content. Pay attention to search engine optimization. Ensure that the design follows the content and is not a separate element. Maintain archives. Use innovative fonts and titles. The content should follow basic elements of style or a style sheet.
When designing the web page think about the site as a whole not each page separately. There should continuity in design. Include a site map for easy navigation. Pay attention to imparting knowledge, include information on the subject of the site, give tips, make available how to articles as well as publications on the topic. The site and pages should be interactive without being a nuisance, so links must be well thought of and of practical use.
Keep in mind at all times the 5 golden principles of design: balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, and unity.