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-Web site designers FAQ

Web Theory

Uniformity by carpeliam
Posted: 28 Jun 00

One of the most common mistakes in personal webpage design today is a lack of uniformity.

Usually, somebody starting out in designing their own webpage doesn't have the ability to design their own graphics, so they pull graphics off of various other websites and use it for their own, which isn't very polite.

Most commonly, people with multiple pages on their site use multiple backgrounds and other assorted graphics they were able to find. The result is essentially a webpage with an identity crisis- there is no singularity, nothing that says "this is part of my webpage" other than your writing on the page that says so.

The ideal is for somebody to go to any particular HTML page on your site and know just from the look of the page that it is yours- no matter what the content, and without your name anywhere on the page.

Generally, every page on a site should have the same color scheme and/or background- this adds to the strength of the website. Each page should have the same design- same heading format, same text style, same graphical sense. I can't emphasize this enough- a uniform site has a sense of identity, a sense of togetherness, a sense of professionalism. One might think at first that this limits one's creativity, and that the more cool stuff you can get on your site, the better. The problem with this is that creativity is diluted when you spread it out, and you don't want your visitors getting sensory overload; that will force them away. A creative website takes emotions and displays them through a monitor, conveying a central theme, image, issue, or point. Without a uniform site, emotions are fragmented, and cannot be felt with the same impact as a uniform site.

Areas of Uniformity:
- Design Sense
  o Identical background on each page
  o Similar graphics on each page
    If you are going to use one font in a graphic at the top of a page, use that same font in each graphic you place at the top of other pages.
- HTML Coding
If you type your tags in uppercase, type each tag in uppercase. If you type your tags in lowercase, type each tag in lowercase. Don't have  in one part of your code and <img src> in another. Now you might think that, if nobody sees your actual HTML code, it really doesn't matter what it looks like as long as the final product (what the visitor sees) looks good. However, if anybody ever wants to look at your code (and people often do), you want them to be able to read it. Everyone has a style to how they type their code (or, every program that you use to code your pages has its own style), and if things aren't typed the same way, it can look sloppy.
- Text/Content Format
You want your page to have a sense of atmosphere, and you want this atmosphere to go throughout the page. If two things belong on the same site, make sure that somebody can tell they belong on the same site. Graphics that are there just because they look nice to you will probably look out of place to someone else.
- Cascading Style Sheets
Because CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is relatively new, it gets widely misused. CSS, among other things, can allow you to have links without underlining them. This can be very useful in a site, but also can be quite confusing- I've seen sites where it is difficult to tell the difference between the text and links. Make sure you keep the look of your links and text seperate- make sure you use one scheme throughout your site. This does not mean that all of your links must be the same- you can have different classes of links- just make sure there's a purpose to everything.
Uniformity also lends itself to easier navigation- when a site has one look, it is easier to find what you're looking for.

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