Web Site Design Report by Glenn Schoepke

Home - Overview

Designing quality websites requires serious planning and a commitment to following standard design practices relating to a variety of topics. A brief description of some of the key topics to consider follows. Click on a link in the navigation bar for more details related to each topic. The webography page includes a link to each of the sources used in the creation of this report and the more useful sources have a brief annotative description.


Principles of Web Design

The purpose of a website is to convey information to visitors as easily as possible and provides a more user-friendly, intuitive experience. It is also essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities. Visitors should never have to "learn" how to use a site. To accomplish this the design and construction should follow web conventions and use good web design practices. Testing and code validation are vital activities for sites to perform as expected. Considerations for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help people find web sites, and quality content will satisfy them.

Compatibility Issues

Due to the number of different browsers and operating systems that support them, a good web design must enable as many clients as possibe to view the web site, with the intended appearance and functionality. Other factors that could affect compatibility are: Javascript settings; HTML & CSS support; plugins; and device type (screen size.) Fortunately, there are a variety of validation services and testing approaches to improve compatibility.

Interface Usability

Desirable web sites need to be clear and aesthetically pleasing to the user. The interface needs to be layed out and presented with simplicity and consistency. There are a variety of design considerations to help make the pages visually interesting. A goal in web design is to make the site experience enjoyable, inturn stimulating more revisits. Refer to this section for more design considerations and standards to improve web page usability.

Navigation

Designing a website that uses effective navigation will help your users understand the type of information your site offers, how it is organized and help them to access the information they are looking for as quicklyas possible. Visitors should be able to orient themselves easily. The navigation section contains techniques, practices, and approahes to improve web page navigation.

Page Layout

Page layout refers to the creation of a visual information layout. Good design involves using space well and applying several other graphic elements, which are discussed more in the Page Layout section.

Content & Organization

Content, or information, is the primary asset of a website. The design challenge is to organize the content in a meaningful way and with a variety of considerations in mind. This section covers a range of techniques, guidelines, and 'rules' that will enhance organizing web content.

Web Graphics

Graphics can have a significant impact on web pages. If used properly they can make a web page more visually appealing and they can efficiently convey information better than through text alone. Refer to this section for more design considerations and standards related to effective use of graphics for the web.