"Simplify Your Web Site for Clarity and Ease of Use"
by Edward Robirds
There are plenty of web sites out there in which basic elements
of design are ignored. The viewer may experience overkill and
frustration, instead of gently receiving the message or
information. Here are some simple ways to help clarify your web
site's message for your company or organization. Use the web as
a tool for sales, community contact, and to improve, rather than
detract from a business entityís image.
Choosing Your Images
Choose site images carefully.
Collect simple illustrations or photographs that are in sync with
company mission or philosophy. A few select images will have
more impact than many images competing for the eyeís attention.
Avoid images that are distracting or trendy. Donít simply use
graphics to be cool. How many photos or images are appropriate?
A good rule of thumb is one to two images per web page. Select
photos and images as carefully as you select the text, and
youíll be on your way to a better site. The exception to the
rule is for sites that market a large amount of products or
contain many points of interest, where small thumbnail images
may be more appropriate.
Placement of Images on the Page
Do you want the photo or graphic
to be the centerpiece? The first thing the eye sees? If so,
place it in the central position. If not, maybe the photo or
graphic is related to some of the text, and it can be placed
nearby this text to accentuate it. Remember, we read from left
to right. Some say the left represents the past, the center the
present, and the right the future. Content may be organized this
way on the page intentionally, to heighten this resonance with
the viewer. Donít let site images be a distraction or hindrance
to understanding. Instead, they should blend well into site
content and not be a contrast to the message on the page. Images
should not compete with content, they should enhance it.
Images should look as nice and clear as possible.
There is an important balance to keep between image file size
and quality. Always keep in mind that the file size and
dimensions of your images will ultimately control overall page
loading time. A slow-loading site will be frustrating to any
user. Generally, pages load from the top down, so it is an
important point to remember not to design your pages with large
image files that fill the top of each page.
Itís important not to overdo the writing on a page.
Consider how much the user will read and write site content to
capture the typically short attention spans of the viewers. Be
succinct, and most importantly: be clear. Write subheads and set
them in bold, slightly larger type. Carefully placed subheads
allow the casual viewer to scan the content of your site.
Write for Search Engines
Research your clientele, and your
targeted audience, and always develop content that sells your
products, services, or organization. If you or your organization
are lacking the expertise to write good copy, hire a
professional writer to do the job. Some web specific writing
techniques are important. Try to use select keywords on each
page that will lead new users to consider your business or
services. Write this text directly into your copy. The first 20
words of your web site text should be what you want people to
see in search engine results as a summary of your site.
To simplify the userís experience, set your
site up so that he can get to the intended location easily with
no more than three clicks. The overall design of your site must
be clear and intuitive so the user can navigate the content
easily. If you must use symbols to direct the reader, always
attach some explanatory text for the user, so they know where
clicking the symbol will take them. These are just a few of the
basics of effective and clear web design. These tips provide
ways to guide the user around your site, rather than frustrate
them. With site clarity and ease of use, your clients and
prospects are educated about your products and services, and
have more reason to purchase them.
About the author:
Edward Robirds is a success-driven artist and interactive media
developer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 1996, Edward has been
building business relationships with several association and
commercial clients around the world. Founder of
www.DreamseaArtworks.com, Edward uses his artistic skills,
expertise and passion to design and develop web sites,
interactive CD-ROMs, and print media for his clients.