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-Web site designers FAQ

HTML: How To...

Strength by carpeliam
Posted: 28 Jun 00

How can a website have "strength"? How can this strength be measured? The 'strength' of a website is not particularly easy to measure or define, but is rather a culmination of good practices that lead to a well-designed, effective site. The strength of a site is its effectiveness in conveying a mood, point, and/or message to its viewers.

A website is weak if it:

has misplaced graphics
Look at the graphics on your site- why are they there? what purpose do they serve? if you have a graphic on your site that does not have a specific purpose, chances are it doesn't belong there. Don't place graphics on your site because they look nice- place them there because they are instrumental in conveying a central theme.
has no central focal point
When people start out designing their websites, focal points are definitely not an issue. They should be, though- where are your visitors' eyes pulled towards? If no one item commands their attention more than another, they do not know where to go, and become confused and discouraged. Navigation becomes more difficult, and people leave your site quicker, with a lesser feeling of satisfaction. With your website revolving around a focal point, navigation is made easier, the visitor can find what he/she needs, and you will get more hits; your visitors will leave your pages more satisfied.
is too busy
This can be coupled with the issue of a focal point, but is slightly different. If you have a high number of animated graphics, blinking text, etc., your visitors' eyes will be quite strained after a while. Some things are best used in moderation, if at all. If you have animated graphics or blinking text (or anything else that grabs attention in this manner), ask yourself why you have it- how/why is it necessary?
uses multiple public-domain graphics
If you're getting your graphics from the same place everyone else is getting their graphics, than visually your site will be no different from everyone else's, and will not have an individual feeling. Also, if you're pulling graphics from various different places, this makes it harder to have a central theme or a mood. Chances are, you will never see public-domain graphics on a professional site; if a professional site were to use public-domain graphics, it would diminish the respectability of the site. Original graphics make a site look, well, original.
has no singular color scheme
Your website's "identity" consists of a few things- graphics (images) and multimedia, content (text), and a color scheme. If you have a different color scheme on each page, it makes it harder to identify a page as yours. Without a singular color scheme, there is no uniformity, and your website won't have its own identity. Certain colors evoke certain emotions- what emotions are you trying to evoke in your visitors, and what colors can you use to help evoke those emotions? If your site is bright and new, maybe royal blue, black and red is your color scheme.. if your site is environment-related, earth tones like hunter-green and brown on white might be what you're looking for. Make the color suit the mood, and make the mood fit the content.

Stretch your mind for a second- think of a supermarket. What would you think if the outside of the supermarket was painted red, aisle #1 painted blue, aisle #2 painted black, aisle #3 painted mauve, etc..? Of course, supermarkets don't look like that- there is a singular color scheme. In addition: all of the signs indicating what's in each particular aisle look relatively the same- all of this combined makes it easier to find the product you're looking for; or, on a website, the particular piece of content you're looking for.

So you see, it all goes hand in hand- mood and color scheme reinforce content, and content reinforces mood. The right combination of everything leads to a very strong website.

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