Many people are very interested in learning the fundamentals of web design, but the prospect of doing so can be intimidating. If you feel overwhelmed and and don’t know where to start, you should take a few minutes to read this article and find out more about the skills you need to acquire.
Keep the size of your web pages small. A lot of modern web pages are full of unnecessary elements, including huge images, Flash advertising, and lots of AJAX. Many people, especially those in rural areas and other countries with less-developed internet infrastructure, don’t have high-speed Internet and will have to wait forever for a large page to load.
If you’re designing a website, make sure the code you write has a valid HTML+CSS. Although most browsers can make sense of code that isn’t valid, it could be rendered correctly or incorrectly. Valid code will render the same way most of the time in modern browsers. You can check the validity of your HTML code with an HTML validator.
Make sure your text and background has the proper contrast. There’s evidence showing that white text on a black background is easiest for most people to read, but other colors are fine so long as they’re readable. Also keep in mind that people with visual impairments may not be able to read your site if the contrast is poor. Check to see if your site complies with various contrast standards using the tool at http://snook.ca/technical/colour_contrast/colour.html .
Avoid using frames. Most sites have abandoned frames on their own as better alternatives have become available, but there are still sites out there that are trapped in 1996. Alternatives to navigational frames include fixed-position navigation panels, having navigation in multiple areas (e.g. left and bottom) or simplifying page structure so that navigational links are never far away.
Keep your pages to a reasonable length. Add content through new pages on your site, instead of tacking it on to the end of a home page. For the most part, readers are hesitant to keep going on a page that seems to scroll on forever. If you must have a lot of content on one page, include hyperlinks at the top and in sections throughout the page. This allows users to navigate through the available content without excessive scrolling.
If you want your site visitors to spend as much time as possible on your site, make text easy to read. One of the most common design mistakes is using graphic backgrounds with patterns or dark colors; combine this with equally dark text and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless the text is clear and easy to read, your site will not be a success.
By learning more about the basics of web design, you should feel more ready to give it a try. Keep learning about web design. There’s always new information to learn that can help you design your site more effectively. Once you put this knowledge to work, your website designs will be better than ever.