Design Issues

      As with any medium, a number of design issues arise when you start to develop a new offering.

    Clear Purpose

      Clarity about the goals for the site is essential. Almost every decision taken about the site will depend to some degree on the purpose. What are the goals for your site?
Goals for Web site:
  • Show Web capabilities
  • Build showcase site
  • Attract new clients

    Site Style

      As with any medium, certain styles are appropriate for certain uses. Choosing the right style requires sensitivity to the demands imposed by the purpose and an awareness of Web trends. Some sites will require periodic facelifts to keep the site from becoming dated.

    Basic Design

      Once the purpose has been established and a style chosen, a number of other design considerations come to the fore.

      Attractive Graphics

      Web graphic design is a new art form. Good low-resolution images grab a surfer's attention and are essential to the success of most Web sites.

Use color. It's free.

      Short Text

      Sites must be written in a telegraphic style because on-screen reading is slow. Sites requiring prolonged reading should be designed to print well for off-line reading.

Keep it short.

      Future Expansion

      The initial site offering may be fairly simple, but most sites grow. Problems that are difficult to solve when expanding a site can usually be avoided by an initial design that leaves room to grow. How much growth do you expect on your site?

    Navigation Strategies

      The organization of a Web site, unlike a book, is not readily apparent, so consideration must be given to how surfers will find their way around. Thus, the initial design of a Web site must include a navigation strategy. The choice is affected by:
      • Kind of site
      • Audience expectations
      • Extent of site
      Two issues require special consideration.

      Clear Navigation

      Designers must organize information logically and convey this organization to the user. At the same time, clutter must be avoided. Too many navigational tools can confuse the user.


      Site Overview

      It is very helpful to provide some form of site overview that is always visible. The navigation bar now displayed in the frame to the left is one such tool. The changing link colors show the surfer which parts of the site have already been visited and which are as yet unexplored. The dot shows which page is currently loaded. Another approach is to place a small navigation frame at the bottom of the screen. While clickable images are attractive, they give no indication of which parts of the site have already been visited.

Good navigation tools show you where you've been, where you are, and the relationship of the parts.

    Information Overload

      Nowhere is information overload a greater problem than on the Web. The Web itself imposes little order on its contents, so organization must be imposed by site developers. Surfers should be able to find the content on your site that interests them without having to wade through masses of irrelevant information.

A search for "money" yields over a million sites containing the word.

    Intuitive Interface

      Out of respect for the surfer's time, the user interface must be simple, self-explanatory, and easy to use. Many sites dazzle with their use of the latest techniques, but also baffle with their complexity and opacity because the techniques have been used for their splash value and not because of any intrinsic usefulness to the purpose at hand. Be sure your site does become a jumble of dancing animated images.


      Web surfers are notoriously impatient. With so much content available, if one site does not promptly deliver what is wanted, the surfer will move on to another. Your site should deliver useful content quickly and with as few mouse clicks as possible.

People hate to wait.
Continue on to Attractive Pages