Millions of people surf the web every day, and most of them have very short attention spans. They want three basic things:
If you don't fulfill those wants, visitors will go elsewhere, without looking at your site! That's not good.
- Fast-loading pages
- Easy navigation
- Attractive and readable pages
It can be tricky to build a site which meets all three requirements, but there are some tricks that will help you.
- Fast-Loading Pages have only a few graphics (or very small or fast-loading ones), and fairly simple layout.
- Easy navigation means the links to other pages in your site should be easy to find, and it sound be very obvious what the visitor will find if he or she clicks on the link. For example, a link that says "What's New?" is obvious, but a link that says "Fiddle fiddle..." isn't. It's also important that visited and unvisited links have consistent color relationships. For example, if on one page you have unvisited links a lighter or brighter color than visited ones, and on another page it's the other way around, your visitors will get confused.
- Attractive and readable pages have colors that go well together, effectively-used pictures, and aren't too densely laid-out. Having a page with line after line after line of text with no breaks or photos or anything is dull. Even stories and essays need paragraph breaks or pictures to liven them up. Remember, most web surfers are very easily bored.
It's your job as a webmaster or webmistress to make sure that your visitors find their visit to your site informative and enjoyable. Open a new window and take a look at several different websites. What makes them easy or difficult to look through? What makes pages look nice without taking too long to load? (if you're stuck for pages to look at, try Ealasaid.com or Success! Learning Center, or one of the ones you used for the "Surf's Up" worksheet.)
Grab some paper and sketch out two or three pages whose layout particularly appeals to you. Hang on to those diagrams - they'll be useful when you design your own pages.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your own pages (you will probably notice them in the pages you find easy to look through):
Got all that? Then you're ready to move on to the next lesson.
- Too many graphics just make the page take too long to load.
- Too many animations are annoying (and take too long to load).
- Blinking text is not a good thing ().
- Pages that are too long take too long to look through - a bunch of small pages is better than one long one.
- A neat and orderly layout makes things easier to find.
- Complex or huge wallpaper images make text hard to read.