On all areas of multimedia, web design is the one where I have less knowledge. Basically, I am just getting into it. Therefore, lets go little by little.
This post is based on some reading I have been doing this last week on recommendable and not recommendable practices while building a site or page. Is all basic stuff but very handy for beginners or even in the case you have already been doing sites, as you might not have spot some of this recommendations.
Here you have some ideas:
Categorize and prioritize the information: basically put similar content together. You can create a drop down menu under a category with similar content.
Limit the number of subcategories: you will avoid people getting lost on your web by not using more than 2 subcategories.
Use little more than 5 navigation buttons: again, to keep your web a safe navigation. Use a maximum of seven categories on each set of navigation buttons. Although more than one set can be displayed on the page, for example, a 5 set on the top horizontally and a 7 secondary set on the left vertically is a common structure used.
Consider web page size and monitors ratio: many people have small computer monitors. This means that placing your navigation tabs, for example, in a bottom corner will need of users to scroll the screen down, which is something you obviously don’t want to happen.
Differentiate clearly between clickable and non-clickable things: creating icons or links which are not clearly clickable difficult the users navigation. Interactive elements should look so. For it you should use strategies as positioning, change element appearance when the mouse is positioned on top (color, animate it, trigger an audio clip, etc).
Maintain consistency between pages: by this I mean keep the same look of the icons and placement of them, as well as the general layout. This helps to set a visual language and helps the users navigation. As an exception the home page is the only one which can be varied.
Maximize space: being smart with the use of space in your web can make a real difference. Some techniques to do so could be:
- Give more information when the mouse rolls over a ¡n icon.
- Use drop-down menus in buttons.
- Content expending when mouse rollover.
Color coding: have a think on which colors suit best the content of the page and will enhance the impression you want to give. Also, use colors that work well together sharing similar lightness and darkness.
Watch icon use: many times small illustrations are used instead of buttons. Be careful with the association you want to use, as is quite easy to confuse the user. The best idea is to use icons with a label to let users know what they do.
Divide the page on visually clear areas: simply display the information on different areas (sections) separated by blank space, color fields, or rule lines.
Give visual priority: the different areas on the page must be displayed in a hierarchy giving more space to ones than others. This visual priority not only helps the users navigation but enhance the look of the web. On the other hand if all the information blocks have the same size they compete for the users attention what will tire him quickly.
One font for a different character: choose a font that matches the feeling you want to cause in the reader. As an example Serif fonts give feelings of security and professionalism.
Mix fonts smartly: rather than using only one type of font, using different ones such s for the header, body or captions, enriches the look and clarity of the site.