In its infancy there really was no real web design. It was a wild and wholly tech-info-slap-together-fest. Now web design has come into its own with professionals and experts to boot. But every now and then, the well-established rules of commonsense design get broken. And this can call for some reminders.
So, here are some do's and don'ts reminders for web design.
- Don't design web pages like you would for print. Web design is not going to be as consistent as print. Web designers have much less control over what the end-user sees than do print designers. Accept that.
- Do design websites as if they have the advantage of being accommodating for different viewers and viewing devices. Don't see it as a disadvantage, but as an opportunity to engage different audiences differently.
- Don't use use a lot of reverse type on dark backgrounds. The web doesn't absorb lighting. Rather it emits light. So, it takes more energy to read text on a screen than on a writing surface. Therefore large amounts of body text will become tedious to read for most people.
- Do use dark text on light backgrounds. And use high contrasting colors too. Those with color blindness will thank you.
- Don't force viewers to read tiny type. It's a pain having to increase the font size and it doesn't always work with the original design.
- Do have a plan. The best websites are those that are put together with purpose, and have a coherent story and structure.
- Don't design without considering your main audience. Designing a site for 60 and up retired persons will not be the same for 20-30 year old rap fans. It just isn't.
- Do have a pleasant color scheme. Colors that go together can be powerful especially if you do it with restraint.
- Don't have too many colors. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. It is also very amateur-looking too.
- Do start with content first. Your web design should be driven by the content, not simply by the style.
- Don't make your viewers have to think. Web design is all about navigation. It's like way-finding design. You consider the environment, who the user will be, and what they will be looking for. Then you design a site that can be navigated easily. See # 6.
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