Best Practice in Web Design...


Designing for the User

The key to designing a successful website is understanding the needs of your audience and reflecting these in your design.

User Interaction
Consider how the user may want to interact with the web page, perhaps by selecting products or services that you offer or moving around the site using hyperlinks. Use linked text and short descriptions, and organise links into related topic groups.

If the page contains large amounts of text, keep paragraphs short to aid in online reading. Ensure that the text is legible by providing enough contrast between the background and foreground colours.

Ranking the Information
Rank the information you want to display in terms of how important it is. Position the most important in the middle of the page, next important across the top, with the least important or static information in the left margin.

Hierarchy of Information
Don't make users navigate through too many layers of the site to find the information they want.

Insert-hyperlink-icon_256.pngProvide prominent navigation aids so the user can quickly find the information they need. A standard navigation bar that is in the same place on every page enables the user to move quickly through the site.

Exploit Hypertext
Use hypertext to provide links that will enable the user to move easily around the site. They should also be able to return easily to the higher sections of the site.

A hypertext table of contents allows the user to pick the exact topic that they want to view.

Amount of Content
Consider how much content should be contained on a web page. Avoid putting too much information on a page, as this may make it more difficult for the user to locate the information they need. Use links as a method of dividing content between pages.