14 Jun 5 Essentials that Shouldn’t Escape You when you do your Design!
Skimmed through scores of design manuals. Spoken to experts, web design professionals. Selected, rejected color schemes a thousand times over but haven’t yet the foggiest idea how to instill life into your (website) plans? Once in a while, a time comes when a business idea deserves special attention.
But, before you start to lose your sleep in finding something out of the box (and the world), know that just a handful of differentiators is all it takes to take your design from average to innovative. Even lip-smacking recipes don’t have out-of-the-world ingredients, only right proportions, optimal cooking and right seasonings. And voila! Magic is created.
So, here’s presenting you some known and not so known secrets (recipes/tricks of the trade/ tips, whatever you may call) to add value to your design.
1. Abiding by the Web Standards
Think of a site that asks for installing a specific browser before opening, has unaligned content, inappropriate imagery, bad internal navigation, ambiguous structure (in short-nothing close to being user friendly). Sounds like complete anarchy? Well, that’s where- Web Standards come in.
User friendliness is indispensable. If the site’s content isn’t arranged properly or if the images do not display what the site’s about, the ease of use is compromised. Besides, abiding by the Web Standards also ensures that your site runs smoothly on all the Web browsers as it helps getting indexed by the search engines. Even, Google has its own design and content guidelines.
Seamless functioning of your site hinges almost entirely upon whether you follow ‘Web Standards’ or not.
W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium is the organization that looks into maintaining the Web standards. It stresses upon the usage of CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) so transformations in the look and placement can be assigned to XML or HTML elements only through declaring particular styles to the elements. This creates a well defined, simpler to maintain structure.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) too has been serving as the backbone of the World Wide Web since long now. It’s all due to its tags that the text documents comprehended by the browsers are able to showcase the contents as per their formats.
With their current versions-CSS3 and HTML5, the web standards are now more enhanced than ever. They are counted amongst the best practice.
2. Use Updated jQuery over Flash
Recall the best design you’ve ever seen. Now think of how much time did the web page take in opening (don’t be stressed if you can’t). If it took more time in opening then it’s most likely using Flash. And if it opened without delay, it’s probably-jQuery.
Like a painting, we want our websites to speak a thousand words too. Any interactive or animated design plays a big role in creating a wonderful look for a website and jQuery assists us in modifying it dynamically. It’s a great way to be creative and stay in tune with the latest trends.
Earlier this could only be achieved in Flash or animation, which was the standard practice but due to being heavy they took a long time in loading. This proved lethal for the websites.
Since then jQuery has been highly recommended. And worry not over creating its plugin, as plethora of them are available over the web. You can check the jQuery plugin download page on its official site.
It has certainly made the life of Website owners and Web marketers easier than they thought, as all things within it are laid out as meanings, text and is completely understandable by search engine indexing your web page.
Use it if you want your site to have a great design, be found and load swiftly.
3. Using Favicons
If you’ve just woken up to the amazing reality that a Favicon can make your life easy, you’ve got your third lesson right! Shorter version of ‘favorites icon‘, it is indeed the first step in creating your brand image. A small graphic that lets people recognize your site if they’ve bookmarked it or even if your site is one amongst the numerous tabs someone has opened. A favicon that’s in tune with your company’s logo and design has an amazing brand recall (example below).
They’re mostly ‘.gif‘ files having a dimension of 16 x 16 px or 32 x 32 px. It is however considered best to adapt the logo of your firm. And if it’s a scalable logo, then nothing like it.
Being a standard practice, no design is complete without it. They can impart you high proportions of credibility. Even the average Internet users who do not know what it’s called, notice its presence and appreciate it unwittingly.
So, it’s easy. Which means you must go for it!
4. Fonts, Images, Broken Links & Updated Content.
Small, but nonetheless effective things. Once you’ve figured out what you want in your design.
It’s time to pay some attention to your website Font. Now, there’re two schools of thoughts (one’s quite recent). The standard one is- you’d put your site on a high risk if in a bid to appear different you employ a font like ‘Comic Sans’. So, your Font must be readable. Followers of this doctrine say its best to concentrate on the readability than on style as you may annoy your visitors, maybe even drive them away permanently. A comparatively old notion though, it’s still followed like a law.
The other school of thought, on the contrary suggests use of tough to read fonts to offer better recall . It believes that such fonts would draw more attention than the otherwise plain text. If your content is worthy enough and deserves to be read, this can be very effective. Besides, you can always put the most important information in tough to read fonts to make sure they’re read. Think through carefully before taking your pick
When it comes to web designing, change in trend is inevitable. Until some time back using less Images had become a widely accepted convention in web design. As big, bulky images slowed down the website speed causing much agony to the user. So people took to using tables and created attractive icons that caught your visitor’s fancy.
However, in the recent times using more images has started getting a lot of attention. For instance full bleed images makes for striking web page designs. Many firms today are also using full blown pictures in the background.
So, if your idea is unique and is somewhat creative (if you feel it isn’t that creative, it can be made creative through such a design) you can plan for such a design. And if site loading speed appears to be troublesome, you can always refer to Google’s page speed insights tool.
One must also look for Broken Links before uploading on the server. It can be done in Dreamweaver by right clicking on any of the file in the Site Files followed by clicking on Check links-Entire Site. If somehow you cannot manage to do it this way, there are plenty of online tools available on the web You may use the one provided by W3Cor check crawl errors in Google’s webmaster tools.
Regularly Updating the Content of your site also holds a lot of significance. Your content has to have the power to engage visitors and share it. Content that can cut through the clutter is certainly welcome. If it’s a new site, then you’d need it all the more to create a niche. Besides, you must also update your site’s blog with interesting content too.
5. Updating the Copyright Year
It’s not just the site’s content that needs to be updated. Depending on how much you’ve observed (being a lesser known practice), it’s a smart marketing move to keep updating your Copyright Year. Imagine looking at a well established site having a Copyright of let’s say ‘2007’. Do you think it sends out a ‘fresh’ message? Not exactly. Being dated would be the last thing you’d want your visitors to think of you. While it may not be such an eye-catching feature, it surely matters.
Here’s a convenient method. Instead of keeping track of the 1st of January every year, how about keeping it on an Auto Update! It would save your time and effort, and would definitely be cost-effective.
This way you can continue to appear in sync with every passing year without a worry. Here’s presenting a little script that might be of help-:
var CopyrightLine = “© [[YEAR]] Your Site Name. All rights reserved.”;
y = new Date();
year = y.getFullYear();
re = new RegExp(“\[\[YEAR\]\]”);
CopyrightLine = CopyrightLine.replace(re,year);
These aren’t just sprucing up methods for your site, they are the need of the hour. Besides this, there are tons of other things you could do, while and even after designing your website. It is a continuous process.
Look for a web design professional who takes a methodical approach w.r.t to your business and makes enhancements accordingly.
In short- Stick to the best practices and keep evolving.