If Content is King who is Queen
The two jewels in the crown of Presentation, for it is of course Presentation who is Queen, are structure and graphical design. Your objective is to make the experience of browsing your site as straightforward as possible for your visitors.
So how do you go about achieving a clear, intuitive structure? For larger more complicated sites it helps to draw a chart of all the pages, showing how they connect to each other (this process isn such a bad idea for smaller sites either). Try and keep everything logical and stick to the click rule as much as possible. (The click rule a user shouldn have to click more than 3 times to get to a page).
Once you worked out a logical site structure, the basis for your navigation system should pop out. Don go and spoil it all by using a fancy (usually Flash) navigation system that frustratingly difficult to work out!What you do with your design is generally down to personal taste and branding requirements. Take a look on the Internet and you see successful designs from the extremely detailed to the minimalist.
Note that whilst people will say look at Google to justify a plain (ugly!) design, well chosen colour schemes and visual interest will give your site a positive boost.
No matter what style you go for, there are some rules that will always apply:
Be consistent, the look shouldn change across the site
Busy backgrounds hardly ever work
Take it easy on the flashing ads and graphics
Watch out for clashing colours
Dark text on light backgrounds work best
The fewer fonts and text colours there are, the better
Use high quality images and graphics
Logical structure and pleasing design make for intuitive navigation and an easier more enjoyable browsing experience. With just a little thought you be rewarded with visitors who pay more attention to your content and not the pain and effort needed to get to it. He is currently a Senior Consultant at EMNM.
EMNM offer a range of new media design services including interactive CD presentations and website design.
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