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My Take: On Website Design

By William Wilson Jr.

Thinking of designing a website?
I recently discovered a pretty interesting publication. It's called: Practical Web Design (www.netmag.co.uk) and it featured an article entitled: "Inspiring pro tips for 2007." While reading it, I jotted down a few ideas of my own that I put into practice regularly and recommend to those who are thinking of designing their own website:

  • Kiss-Keep it simple stupid

  • Too much content on a single page forces visitors (and customers) to work to sort through it all. After a long day at work, people are hesitant to do more. Most will close your page, and tell themselves: "I'll look at this tomorrow." And, as a wise person once noted: "Tomorrow never comes."

  • Avoid dark colored backgrounds

  • My father once said: "dark colors are the sure sign of an amateur." Don't avoid dark colors completely. They're great when used as definition or contrast. But exclusive use of dark colors can make your site look like a hacker's site.

  • Make your site look like what it's intended to be

  • Years ago I watched restaurant after restaurant move into this same building in my city. But despite a great location and great food, one by one, they all failed. The reason? The building had originally been designed and built to house a bank, and despite new signs, food, and advertisement the building still looked like a bank. Who wants to have lunch in a bank? Selling products? Make your site look like a store.

  • View similar websites

  • Type your website description into Google and visit the top sites. Make notes on the things they've put in play that you feel is important and would like to convey.

  • Learn to recognize good work from bad

  • Easy to say, but hard to do. Remember, experience is the best teacher. You may have to make several revisions before you achieve what you're striving for. Patience is a virtue.

  • Seek advice from professionals

  • Don't ask your brother-in-law who dabbles in web design for help with your website. Experienced web designers and programmers may add a bit to the budget, but their advice can make the difference between failure and success.
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