Top Website Design Ideas: Tips From Winning Websites

Want a website that is bookmark-worthy? Use these tips when designing your own website.

Face it. When we're at work or at home, we love surfing the web for information on new products, for downloading software or new games, for reading the news or for reading up on entertainment. Since the web has become such a mainstay in our everyday life, we are familiar with all kinds of websites, from the simple to the flashy. Have you ever wondered what makes a website great? If you are ready to create your own website, here are some tips and guidelines to follow that will make your website bookmark-worthy.

1) Avoid using too many large images. Ever notice that some websites take extremely long to load? You want to peruse an online catalog or some pictures and realize a few minutes later that the page still has not finished loading. Other than a bandwidth issue, this is due to the fact that this certain website has too many images to load. Some website designers go image or picture crazy. Sure, your website will look great if it is just one long series of huge images, but viewers of the site will be easily turned off by the fact that it takes over a minute to actually SEE the website itself. If you are designing a website that necessitates several images or pictures, create small thumbnail sized copies of these images and photos that the user may click on to see the larger image. For example, if you have a wedding website and you want to display numerous wedding photographs, create a small one inch by one inch copy of each photograph and put these up on your photograph page. This way, instead of loading each large normal-sized image, the computer will only have to load the small photograph replicas. Make the images or photographs clickable (linkable) so that the user can view the larger image on a separate page, at his leisure.

2) Avoid using flashy intros. Have you ever visited a site that, upon entering, you were forced to view a small video or series of images that pertained to that site? The website designer probably used something called Flash to come up with the snazzy introduction. However, ask yourself one thing. If you have a recurring website visitor, do you really think that he or she will want to see that same old Flash introduction every time he or she visits the website? Probably not. Flash introductions are wonderful the first time you see them but they can become quite the annoyance after viewing them for the 10th or 11th time. If you decide to use a Flash introduction, give users the option to skip it altogether.

3) Avoid being too wordy on the index page. If you are creating a website that will be offering viewers a lot of textual information, avoid making the introduction (index) page too wordy. Users do not want to read paragraphs of information upon first entering a site. Keep the index page short and to the point, briefly going over the objective of the website.

4) Avoid making the website difficult to navigate. There is perhaps nothing more annoying to a user than to get lost within a website. You will want to make your website easy to navigate for the typical user. Always maintain a small section of each page that allows the user to return back to the home page. To achieve this, diagram out your website before you actually begin to create it. Make certain that links and paths through your website are intuitive. You don't want to have your users guessing where they need to go to retrieve information.

5) Avoid designs that are difficult to read. Although it has become trendy lately to use dark backgrounds and light text and funky fonts, make sure that the typical user will be able to actually read your site. While you don't have to always use bright pastel colors, make sure there is a definite contrast between your actual text and your background.

© High Speed Ventures 2011