Trial and error is a great tool for learning. Unfortunately, it creates error as I have said. So, here are 3 tips that are basic but very important and useful when designing a website.
1. TEST IN ALL BROWSERS
One of the most important final procedures of creating a website should be to test the site and make sure everything looks as it should. Do not assume that if it looks good in Chrome then it will look okay in the rest of the browsers. This is not true. In fact, I was recently working on a site and created a tabbed copy section on one half and some widgets in the other half of the page. When I tested this layout in safari it looked really great. However, when I opened the website in firefox half of one section was off of the page. This also happened in internet explorer. I cleaned up the code and worked a few things and I finally got the sections to look right on all of the browsers. Why is this important you ask? Well depending on what field your client is in and what age group they tailor too, it could mean alot. This site I was working on was for people mainly mid 30’s and older. This age group tends to be more old school and uses internet explorer. So, the majority of the people seeing the site would of seen a front page that was all over the place and could then in turn take clients away from this business.
– The best avenue to research all browsers no matter if you have a pc or a mac is to use Adobe BrowserLab. This program allows you to see your website in all browsers. So test your site and if things are not working on certain sites and you can not figure out why, you might need to remove that or search around for others who had this problem and found a solution.
2. Navigation, Make It Simple
The average person spends about 6-10 seconds on a website. That is not a long time to really impress someone or create interest in your business. However, if someone does stay at your site but can not figure out how to find certain things or is having trouble getting around, then they are going to leave real quick and probably not return. This is why it is so important to have very simple but very effective navigation on your site. Make it clear where each navigation section goes to and once there offer the ability to return or reach another section of the site. Also, never add to much to your navigation. If you have a large amount of menu options, it might become very overwhelming and can make it hard for someone to find what they are looking for. So, when creating your navigation here are a few things to think about.
– Can certain things be grouped into one or two categories
– Are all of these options necessary for the site’s purpose?
– Are the options clear in their destinations?
– Are the main navigation options relevant or should these be sub headings.
– Plan your navigation around your pages and how they link
3. Make Your Site More Than Its Original Purpose
What do I mean by this? Well, this might not be applicable in all situations, but it is a great option to keep clients coming to the website. For example, I recently created a website for a school. Now, this website normally is not meant to be a place where people are coming all during the day because the information does not really change. So, how do you add to this site to make it more usable but at the same time not cluttering the website with junk and making it look to busy? Well one option I added was a tabbed group which could handle a lot of things in one condensed area. A few of the things I added was a Facebook and Twitter feed for the school, the school video, game and scores information tab, and a weather tab. This turned out to be a clean design and also a place people can come to every day and get new information about new and different things. This creates higher traffic for your site and that can help grow the business.