Creating A Website That Is Easy To Navigate And Use

Why design a website? If you answered, "Because I can" - wrong answer! The reason to design a website (the right reason anyway) is to set up a place (hence the term site) on the web, where people can access content in a straightforward manner.

Your site must market itself. That is, it must offer something with obvious value. That can include information, products, services, and entertainment, among many things. If it is not clear when someone reaches your home page (such as index.html) what they will find on your site, your site is not well designed.

And the process of delivering the point of your site in a readily accessible way does not just entail having good link buttons (although that can help). You must provide a mission statement or banner - something on your home page that says what your site is about.

Do you know what your site is about yet? If you don't, don't publish it! Sit down and write down your goals.

  • What do you wish to accomplish?
  • What type of content do you wish to share?
  • How will people get to your content?
  • Will you need multimedia, shopping carts, etc.

These are all considerations, and they are all within your means.

Here are some dos and don'ts:

Do have logical and standard menu links (home, contact, about, etc.)
Do display menu links on each page (not just the home page)
Do display your pages in an organized manner
Do keep your pages simple when possible
Do use smaller compressed files (jpeg, mp3, etc.) (but too small is low quality)
Do make sure every page has a topic heading (helps visitors keep track of navigation)
Do use unique fonts for headings (at least in bold, perhaps a different color)
Do look at major commercial sites for visual and functional inspiration
Do make links descriptive (“Click Here!” for instance, is too generic)

Do not use tiny fonts (size 12 is fairly standard)
Do not use frames (this can cause pages to format incorrectly in browsers)
Do not use many flashy graphics or noises (these may not load, or may annoy)
Do not use unusual fonts for primary content (headings are ok though)
Do not use an image as a text background
Do not use a background color that does not contrast with your font
Do not use light grey text on a white background, for example!
Do not make the same mistakes other sites do (even popular ones)
Do not make pages so wide that people have to scroll to read
Do not use color combinations that strain the eyes of your visitors