In the first part of this article, we talked about how important planning is in the development of an effective web site. We left off with the important notion that the content of the site should reflect the core values, mission, and image the company or individual. Be sure that any information you put on the web site reflects these values.
With that being said, begin to re-organize the content of the site into meaningful sections. Inventory all information you have including text, videos, or images and decide which items should be included or excluded.
Once that has been achieved, build some sample pages and begin to test and gather a navigation scheme. Let other users interact with the site and make any changes as needed. My suggestion is to start with the home page and make any changes that are necessary. This page ultimately drives the site and any changes which need to be made. This is an important point to remember and will avoid frustration later on in the design process. In fact many designers will often use the home page as a template. So it is better to tell them now rather than later on if you do not like the design.
Last comes the icing on the cake. It is very easy to get very involved with all the bells and whistles right from the start. Try to avoid this temptation and remember that it is the content that is vital to the site. Yes, it is important to have a web site which is visually appealing and have elements moving and sliding which catch your eye. However, this can all to easily detract from the site as well and distract the users from obtaining the most important information about your company which is contained within the text. So in other words, the text comes first. Think about the most important information that would like your customers to obtain. Put the bells and whistles on these items so that it grabs a potential client’s eye. Make the pictures, videos, or highlights enhance this information further so it entices the client to read ahead and purchase a product or hire your company. In other words, use your bells and whistles wisely. Don’t use too many and use them effectively, not just to fill in space or for ascetics alone.
The last step is to test the site completely. Be sure that all information is spell checked, accurate, and complete. Test all of the links on the site to ensure none are broken. Cross-browser check your site in multiple browsers and platforms to ensure there are no compatibility or font related issues. And check the loading speed of your site. Although most users are using higher speed internet connections, there are still some who are not and you do not want to forget those users.
Thank you again for taking the time to read my article. Next month we will focus on site marketing and getting users to your site. After all, your site is only effective if potential clients see it. In addition, you spent all of your hard earned time, money, and energy on this site, it’s time to show it off!