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Chapter 16. Export > Becoming Web-design savvy

Becoming Web-design savvy

  • Surf and study.When you're going about your business on the Web, shopping, researching, killing time at the office, whatever—take notice. What is your all-time least favorite site? Why? Is it confusing to navigate through? Do the images take too long to download? Is it packed like a sardine can? You can learn as much from a lousy site as you can from a successful one. Surf with a purpose.

    Now study your favorite site (or two or three). What makes it successful? Is it easy to use? Do the images download quickly? Do you get enough information—but not too much? Is it fun, informative, eye-catching, elegant? Is it easy to find the links? Why do you think it stands out among the dozens, if not hundreds, of sites you've visited?

  • Keep it simple. The site doesn't have to be poker-faced—it just has to be easy to use. Cartoony graphics and loud colors are great, as long as they convey the message and image you want the site to project and they don't interfere with the purpose of the site—whatever that purpose is.

  • Always keep the purpose of the site in mind. The nature of the site should control the atmosphere you create. Are you trying to sell something? Recruit volunteers? Dispense information? Soft sell or reach out and grab?

  • Keep your viewers'strengths and limitations in mind. If the site is trying to attract kids, for example, use bright colors and lots of rollovers.

  • Challenge yourself. Rollovers, animations, and rollovers that trigger animations are the wave of the present, and they add an important dimension to Web pages. They help compensate for the fuzziness and imprecision of on-screen type and graphics. Animations help keep viewers entertained while they're waiting for the important stuff to download; well-placed rollovers make it easier for viewers to find links. Together or separately, they can add a delightful and refreshing element of surprise to Web pages.If you have a good sense of humor, this could be your time in the sun.

  • Test it out. Preview it in the browsers. Put a little sign on your desk that says "Preview!" Or "This time, preview it!" Or "This time, preview it, dodobird!"

  • Read books by the experts. Check out The Non-Designer's Web Design Book by Robin Williams and Designing Web Graphics by Lynda Weinman (one "n" at the end; no relation to Elaine Weinmann—at least as far as we know! Wouldn't that be amazing?).



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