Web Site Design: Things You Should Avoid

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Web Site Design: Things You Should Avoid

Article by Gunter Gerdenitsch

Time and again I come across a web site with ages of load time,nearly illegible copy and a lack of content but full ofirritating gimmicks. Often I cannot help wondering: “Horrible!Didn’t they see how their Internet appearance does them adisservice? If their web site is looking like that – howeverwill their core business be… ?” Then, upon second thought, Ihave to say to myself: “Well, there’s only one reasonableexplanation: They *really* didn’t see it.”Indeed, when you are developing your web site, you do itstrictly LOCALLY on your computer. That’s a great difference tohow it will come out ONLINE to your visitors. (In fact, that’swhat makes the difference between a professional web sitedesigner and someone who is carving out his/her own web site.The pro’s of course are subject to the same discrepancies – butthey are aware of them. The amateur is happy when his/her website design is looking well on the own computer – disregardingthat it might be looking very differently to a visitor!)Some of the main differences between local and online web sitesare the following:Load Time:Many surveys among web surfers show that load time is one ofthe main deterrent factors for NOT entering a web site andturning to another one instead. Professional web site designwill always try to have contents on screen within the first fewseconds. Additional parts of your web site can be loaded duringthe following 20-60 seconds – but during that time the visitorshould already have something to read on screen! (Preferably, ofcourse, something to make his/her mouth water what is yet tocome.)Don’t forget: When you design your web site LOCALLY, yourcomputer takes the contents from the hard disk – that is, itappears on your screen within milliseconds, even with the mostextravagant graphics etc. A visitor to your web site, however,will have to load it ONLINE. And this might take quite a longtime. While switching to another web site is just a matter ofseconds. Don’t be tempted to stuff your web site with thingsnobody is eager to see or hear!There are many companies specialized in helping you to makeyour web site look more professionally. Some of them are evenquite generous about their free advice, e.g. WebSource.com(E:Downloadweb-source.com ).Screen Resolution:When you design your web site locally, you will usually do itat the same screen resolution you have set your computer to asyou use it for all other applications. When you are finished, itlooks “perfect”. Amateurish web designers would feel great now,and upload their stuff right away.Yet, professional web site designers will deliberately transfertheir design to any other browsers with different screenresolution or even to another computer with a differentoperating system. And, usually, they will be in for a shock:What was looking “perfect” initially, might be garbled now orhard to read.The reason is, a HTML code is no “hard copy” (like e.g. aposter printed on paper). Instead, the browser “paints” the copydescribed in htm-code differently every time, according to theavailable space. (Convince yourself: Display any.htm-file inyour browser, but this time don’t maximize the browser’s windowbut set it to variable size. When you drag the window, say, atthe lower right corner – you will see how the words and imagesmove around. Up to a point perhaps at which you lose the contextwhen reading them!)

About the Author

Gunter Gerdenitsch 1st Component Design – visit: http://www.1st-components.comUniversal Software Components – Applications with minimal Programminggunter@1st-components.com phone, fax: +43 1 804 47 30

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