Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More





Site Design: K.I.S.S.

Simple navigation, fast loading pages, logical site architecture, obvious visual cues, concise text—you’ve heard all this before if you’ve read Brainstorms & Raves much or other articles about what makes good design and keeps visitors coming back.

Keeping it simple takes a lot of thoughtful effort and careful decisions, though. The key is to plan your site and its design for the user.

A few items to consider with simple design:

  • consistency throughout
  • clear, uncluttered navigation
  • concise content
  • clean, fast loading graphics that accentuate the content
  • bells and whistles to a minimum
  • good use of white space

Seeing is Believing:
Do some exploring around the Internet, this time with a specific purpose in mind—to check for simplicity. I’ve listed some guidelines below for you to consider.

Review at least 5-10 sites with a similar target audience to yours. Also review at least 4 or 5 of the major sites, such as, ZDNet, CNN, Microsoft. Make notes:

  1. First Impressions:
    What’s your first impression when the page begins to open?
    Is the site professional?
    Easy to tell what the site is about?
    Does the content capture your interest?
    Fast loading page?
    Nice colors?
    Navigation readily apparent?
    Does the site feel cluttered, just right, somewhere in between?

  2. Navigation:
    How easy is it to navigate around the site?
    Are the navigation titles clear to understand (no guessing at all)?

  3. Fast or Slow loading?
    If the pages are slow to load, how many seconds does it take before you move on, lose patience, get tired of waiting?

  4. Content:
    Is the content appropriate for each page?
    Does it capture your interest?
    No grammatical or spelling errors?

  5. Visual aesthetics:
    Do graphics accentuate or help the content in some way?
    Pleasing colors?
    Consistent color scheme throughout?
    Consistent page layouts throughout?

OK, now that you’ve done all that, take a look at your own site and evaluate it, too. How does it rate?

12:22 am, pdt20 June, 2001 Comments, Trackbacks ·

Categories: Design


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Recommended Books

Web Style Guide - Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, 2nd Ed., by Patrick J. Lynch, Sarah Horton. Yale University Press, March 2002.

Cover: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Sixth Edition. By Elizabeth Castro. Pub. Peachpit Press August 2006.

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