Your first website. A touch of help!

I pride myself on the help and advice offered to clients. I am on hand from the very beginning to get your project off to a flying start, but it is still important for you to create a brief pinpointing exactly what it is you want the project to achieve.

Before you have a web site redesigned or are looking at having your first website designed & developed, here are a couple of things you may want to consider:

Have goals:

Have goals for the site and design while trying to achieve those goals.

Identify your target audience, list your main objectives and outline the information your site will contain.

Building a Website is usually an ongoing process - allocate responsibilities for provision of content and maintenance.

If you have no commitment to your site don't build it.

Know the audience:

If you know your audience and know what they want from your site, you can provide it to them more easily.

People will not visit your web site expecting to be entertained, they want the information or service you can provide.

Make it as easy as you can for them to find what they want. Look at your current site - how easy is it to locate a specific piece of information?

Can a visitor tell if they have seen everything, and what they have and have not seen?

If you change your site frequently, can visitors figure out what was changed, and when?

Find out what your visitors do most often at your site and make it easy.

Keep it simple, keep it fast:

Users will not tolerate long delays. As a general rule pages should load in under 10 seconds. To achieve this at 4Kb per second your total page load should not be greater than 40Kb.

Of course, faster is better. Avoid using large or gratuitous graphics - the web is not a CD-ROM, although with BroadBand growing, things are getting better. If this is unavoidable, inform the visitor of a delay.

Be consistent:

Make sure all layout elements (including user interface and typography) are the same on every page. Make navigation consistent and predictable. Give visual confirmation of the user's whereabouts and options and provide context - tell visitors where they are, where they can go, and where they have been. The site structure should be obvious on each page.

Seven plus or minus two:

Human short term memory typically lasts 15-20 seconds and has a limit of seven +/- two items. This can be improved by chunking - placing information into subsets that are remembered as single units.

Create menus taking into account these short term memory restraints.

Rather than have 49 options in one list, create seven lists of seven +/- two options each. Organise information in screens, not pages.

Because you can doesn't mean you should:

New technologies can often slow the loading of a page without assisting the visitor to achieve their goals. Don't create a website that only a small percentage of your visitors can view properly.

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