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!
I had an interesting experience last week. I went to the post office to mail a letter and drop off some advertisements for my company. Along the way, I bumped into a person who had asked me what my company had to offer. I explained all about the web site design, development, seo, advertising, etc. However, one last piece of the puzzle that I mentioned at the last minute (that I just happened to think of) was computer training. She jumped at the opportunity and said that she has always wondered how to accomplish certain tasks on the pc because she was apprehensive of her computer. This woman simply needed some one on one attention. It made me think and of course come up with several ideas I have extensive experience training clients on computers and their various software packages. I could offer computer training not only to individuals but corporations as well for their employees. So I updated my web site and posted this article on several sites. I guess you never know what a simple trip somewhere can accomplish. Check it out and let me know what you think…
Developing a web page can be a very fun and beneficial endeavor if developed the right way and managed effectively. And surprisingly, you may not need to spend as much money as you think. One of the most important pieces to remember is that the most critical elements of designing a web site do not come in the site design itself, but rather the planning and search engine optimization phases. In this article we will focus on the beginning portions of the planning stages.
The first question I like to ask my clients is “what are your goals and objectives for the site”. In other words, what would they like their user to gain from being on their site. And as a result, what information would they want the user to walk away with from visiting their site. Image is an important piece to this equation as well. The company’s goals and objectives and image that they are trying to portray should be clear throughout their site.
The second phase involves gathering information. Think about what information should be contained within the site and who has the knowledge to provide such information. Have these staff members gather the information and meet to decide which information is pertinent to the site. This information must also fulfill the user’s expectations and overall scope of the site.
Next, once the information is organized and the scope is beginning to become clear, start thinking about what and how much technology should be needed and what the expense may be. For example, do you need a digital camera to take pictures? How much bandwidth is needed? Is there a database needed or secure a portion of the site? How much support and ongoing maintenance will the site need?
When putting the site together, thinking of the audience can play a key role in organizing in the process of designing a web page. Know who will be surfing your site and appeal to them. Let them critique a sample portion of the site and see if it appeals to them. After all, they are your potential clients and could play a key role in making a sale or getting the right type of clientele to your site. Once this has been established, make the correct changes and make sure that all information reflects the goals, values, and intent of the person or company. And make sure that it is abundantly clear and consistent on each page of the site. In may be a good idea at this point to set a maximum page count to ensure that they project is moving along and is on track with the design and allocated budget.
These are the first important steps for designing a web site. Although they seem tedious and time consuming, it can save a lot of headaches and frustration later on, believe me. I hope that these initial steps are beneficial for you and thank you for your time and reading this article.