Do you hate websites that are hard to read? Are you concerned yours is the same?
I've run across some great information about websites and presentations that I want to share. The first is a posting on the MuseOnline Yahoo group. (Incidentally, if you have not signed up for the MuseOnline Conference in October--DO IT! It's free and totally via the Internet.)The other is a hilarious video about PowerPoint presentations. It's parody and applies to speeches, but the principles are sound and apply to websites as well.
On Website Design, by Jan Verhoeff
I often have multiple pages up and music pulls band width, so when I pull up a site with music on the page - it slows my computer and I'll actually not stay as long if there's music on the page.
Another thing I absolutely hate is a bunch of motion on a page. Flashing lights belong on cop cars and Christmas trees.
If you want me to stay on your page long enough to see what it's about, use great copy and high quality graphics that capture my attention.
As a designer, I've learned that if the colors aren't pleasing and coordinated in some fashion, the page ultimately doesn't get the attention it deserves either. So be aware of the colors you select on a website.
If your colors are subdued don't splash in neon Yellows and Greens that slap your reader senseless.
Opposites on the color wheel compliment. Split complimentary is good for a tri-color scheme.
Focus on white space to rest the eye.
While a dark background with white lettering can be read, they eye strains to read it because it isn't "normal" so even if your page needs a reverse color appeal to stand out against the crowd, you might consider a white background inserted behind LARGE amounts of text. I rarely read dark mystery online because it is so difficult to focus on the black backgrounds. If it isn't something I value reading enough to copy and paste into a document, I struggle through a few lines and skip to the next page.
Those who spend a lot of time on the computer are significantly more aware of eye strain than others... so you might want to consider who your audience online will be.
Centered EVERYTHING on the page SCREAMS amateur and unless I find something in the first couple of lines that captures my attention I exit fast. This is another style that is extremely difficult to read.
Font sizes matter.
If the page is a professional page with business information, you'll want to stay in the 10 - 12 font size range (2 or 3 on some design formats). This also applies if you have a lot of text. In print, use a serif font, such as Times New Roman. Online use a block font - sans-serif, such as Arial or Verdana.
Save the large clunky text for headlines and sales letters.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (did I say never?) write large amounts of script in ALL CAPS online. It is difficult to read, and feels like you're screaming at your reader.
(Think about how you felt reading the last paragraph even... )
Whether you write your website using style sheets or not, organize your pages into 'expected columns' to keep your reader from having to search for specifics.
~Primary site links across the top just under the header graphic or logo.
~Links on the Left.
~Body of text in the middle.
~Ads and Alternative content on the right.
~Banners, Ads, and Important Data lower on the page - center column.
When you use a banner across the header of your page - be sure you label the graphic with the title of your page and your most accessible keyword to maximize the SEO on your page.
Maximize keywords in the page (at least to a 3 - 6%) to optimize search engine placement of your pages.
NOTE: For more about web page development, be sure you've signed up for my ezine at http://brandyourmarket.com because I'll be giving tips for site development all week this week in that ezine.
Video on PowerPoint "Tips"