Keep It Simple Stupid or “K.I.S.S.” is one of the most important rules of web design. One of the biggest mistakes in designing is over-clutter or just too much happening on any one page. Do not forget that you can use as many pages as you need. So, do not be afraid to use more pages in order to reduce the clutter. Try not to make the mistake of thinking more means better. In almost all cases, less is more or less is better. Outline the layout of all the content before you decide the layout.
The layout should be mostly based on the amount of content that it will contain. A small web site with little content might want to use less columns like maybe two column layout. A large web site should use more columns like maybe three. This will allow you to either spread out less content over a larger area or more content over a smaller area. When trying to put lots of text or reading type content in one area, try to utilize bullet points to break up the amount of reading or type text. Most people do not want to read too much unless that is the intent of the web site like this one where the web site is about articles to read. Most people will scan a web site for content and expect it to stand out and very easy to find. The layout should take in consideration the audience that will view it. Older audiences will prefer more simple to navigate type designs where the fonts are larger and easier on the eyes. Always make sure that your audience can navigate easily between pages and find the important content within one click at all times. What is the important content? For most people this is the content that is making you money, detailed contact information, products, services, and anything else that is most important to your site.
Images are a direct reflection of the quality of your site. High quality images are a must. Pictures that are the proper size are a must. Do not make the mistake of putting an inferior image on your web site. This is another of the most common design mistakes that does not have to happen. In addition to the quality of the image, you need to make the image count. You have a limited amount of images that you can or should use on a page. If you are using high quality images than do not use too many on any one page. This will leave the user waiting for the page to load and they instantly will think something is wrong with your code, even if there is nothing wrong with your code. If you must use lots of images then consider the load time and reduce the quality of the images so you do not effect the load time for that page. Again, I would personally try to spread this content over more pages, but if you must then reduce the image quality.
Colors are more important than you might think. They are not only what we see (obviously) but they can make us feel differently. For example, light blue is a color that makes people trust you more. Lawyers will tell their client to wear light blue to court. Yellow makes you feel hungry. McDonald’s uses yellow a lot. Colors also relate people to different things, blue for business, pink for woman’s cancer awareness, and so on. After you have considered this then make a selection of colors related to your web site and audience. This selection will be different for almost every different type of project so this is something that can only be helped by viewing other related sites. When I get stumped I will search the internet for some ideas. The only rule of color that should apply to all web sites is that the background color should be a big contrast from the content. News papers are a good example. Black print with white background is easier to read.
I hope that this article has helped those that have trouble with designing web sites. Make sure to take a look at the example of a very simple design that also looks good. Keep in mind this is a Vermont based business and the maple leaf is the state leaf for Vermont. Thanks for reading and looking, Vincent Arbuiso.