Design Tips

Know your audience. When considering the look and feel of your website, it can be tempting to go with something colorful and flashy - or maybe even the reverse - plain and simple. There are situations when one may be preferable over another, but the main thing to keep in mind is who you are targeting to view your website, and how that will affect their response to your business or whatever you are presenting on your website. Do your visitors use smartphones or tablets as well as a desktop or laptop computer? Does your existing website look great and is it easy to read on different screen sizes? Take a look at other websites that present a similar service or portfolio as yours and see what impresses YOU. Then, when you find one you like, BOOKMARK that website and keep a collection of bookmarks as examples of the design you would like to create for your own website. It is not necessary to find the one website that represents all of the features you would like to implement. Some websites may have the kind of layout you want, others may have the color-scheme you want, while another may have the kind of menu you would like. Make notes as to what features each bookmarked website has that you like.

Think in terms of pages. Your website may, if desired, be designed as a one-page layout; but more than likely you will be designing a website with several pages that divide your content into different categories such as: HOME - where you introduce yourself, product or service, and perhaps showcase some examples of what you have to offer; NEWS - where you can list the latest developments with your business or events; ABOUT - where you tell the visitor something about yourself and the history of your business; SERVICES - where you detail the various services you have to offer; BIO - where you list your resume or describe your past work; PORTFOLIO - where you showcase your past projects; GALLERY - where you display photos and/or videos; MUSIC (for musicians) - where you provide examples of music you have composed or performed; CALENDAR where you list upcoming events or performances; STORE - where you can provide links for purchasing products; LINKS - where you list links to other websites you wish the visitor to know about; CONTACT - where you provide information about how to contact you - of course. These are just some of the possible ways to divide up the content in a website. You may wish to use one or more of these - or even combine the information of more than one category - usually when there is not enough content to allocate to a single page of your website. The choice is up to you.

Color scheme. It is very important to keep in mind the choice of colors used for backgrounds and text. There are no hard and fast rules, but it is important that your text content be clear and legible. For that reason, it is best to select high-contrasting colors for text and the background behind it. You might like the aesthetic look of purple text on a blue background, for instance, but if a visitor finds it hard to read, they may not take the time to keep reading about what you have to offer and promptly exit your website. In addition, selecting the right font and legible font size will make reading your content easier. Even if you are an artist, it is important to keep your priorities on giving the visitor information that is quickly and easily read.

Organize your assets. Once you have decided on all of the content you want to include in your website, one of the biggest time-saving taks you can do ahead of time is to create a folder to organize all of your website assets. Inside that folder, you should create sub-folders named something like: DOCS - where you will place all of your text content for the website. That includes not only your bio/resume, but all of the text displayed on all of the pages throughout the website. Therefore, it is best to keep a big document with titles for each page of the website, and the accompanying content listed below each title. Do this in MS Word (.doc) or a simple text (.txt) file so that it can be easily opened and the text copy/pasted into the web document. This also includes hyperlinks (links) to external websites and e-mail addresses being used in the website; GRAPHICS - where you will put all of your graphic elements - including, for instance ".ai" or ".psd" files in case layers need to be edited, as well as your .jpg, .png, and .gif files. You may also consider - after consultation about the technical specifications of your website, what "format" and "size" the images need to be converted to. Graphic files often need one or both processes in order to be optimized for your website. However, a good general rule when gathering images is to initially be concerned with obtaining the largest sized version of an image you can, as scaling up from a smaller image can drastically reduce the image-quality; GALLERY - where you can separate your photographs from other graphic elements - if desired. It may also be, for instance, a place where you separate out the photos you will use for a gallery or portfolio; AUDIO - where you put all music and sound effects - if any. If using both, make a separate folder for each; MEDIA - where you can place videos, Flash files, etc. Again, create what you need.

How will it work? How will the vistor interact with your website? One more thing to consider is the aspect of your website that causes one thing to lead to another - quite literally. Visitors will be navigating around your website using the built-in menu, but there are other "linking" possibilities for bouncing a visitor around your website. This is important, because using "anchors" or "page-linking" can get your information to the visitor faster, with less effort, as well as provide ways to promote your product or service. You should also think about any external-linking - which could be to your web-store, other media, or another website.

There is obviously a lot more to discuss, so feel free to contact us anytime.