Simple Web Design Tips… everyone should follow

1. Never use Neon/Bright colors as a background or text color

2.Organization is important

3. Do not spam your page with blinking lights, or animated banners, or emoticons

4. Only Use a maximum of 3 font sizes, and at most 2 different fonts.

5. Only use fonts that are easy to read

1.Why should you never use neon/bright colors as a background or text color?

Neon colors make it hard for the eyes to focus. If you want someone on your webpage for any length of time you need to tone down your colors. While neon colors should never be used, you can use pastel colors and dark colors, as long as your text contrasts with the background enough so you can read it easily. This is why many websites will have a black background with white or light grey text or white backgrounds with black text. These are safe colors, but you might be wanting something more exciting.  The key is to make your website not give people headaches. That being said you can use bright colors on your site, just not as the background or the text.

Don't even think about doing this!

Don’t even think about doing this!

White, grey and light blue text is easy to read on a black background.

2. Why is organization important

Without organization it is hard for the reader to find things on your site. You can do this in a couple of ways.

Links: Make sure you have good navigation. This means that you label your pages and make sure your pages are logically linked together. You also need to have back links. Have you ever been on a site where you get lost in a link labyrinth and some of the pages deep in that labyrinth don’t have links back to where you came from?

Dividers: Organize the information on your site. You can use columns or boxes to do this. One easy way to make sure your reader isn’t confused is by not overwhelming them with too much information. The following example is the Arts Journal homepage. You will notice that they are using columns, which is a good way to create order, unfortunately they have about 50 articles in their left column and about 100 links in their right column, and a center column filled with  even more links and advertisements.  It is organized chaos. You may have a lot of information, but your homepage should never look like this. Choose a few important things to put on your homepage.

3. Why can’t I spam my page with blinky lights, or animated banners or emoticons?

The easy answer is that whoever stumbles across your website will think you are 13 years old. They may also think that your website will not have anything important to say, because it looks like preteen hell. I have nothing against 13 year old kids, I’m just using this as an illustration. Now for the real reason you should never have spam your page with these. First of all spamming is never good. Blinky lights and animated banners or images are tacky and annoying when they are all over your website. Sure you might think it looks cool, but if it doesn’t have an important purpose on your website, DON’T DO IT. Also you need to leave emoticons in the forum. They don’t belong on a webpage. There are always exceptions to the rule. Maybe you have a animated picture that goes along with your posts. As long as you don’t have 20 fluttering butterflies, or 15 prancing ponies running free on your page. I couldn’t find a “Good” example.

This is not just a rainbow background, it is an animated rainbow background. Click to view the horror!

4. Why can’t I use a bunch of font sizes and fancy fonts?

Font sizes are important to the organization of  your site. A large font size can be used for headers/ titles. A small font size should be used for most of your text. A smaller font size can be used for details that are less important than the main message of your site. Or you could have large headers, medium subheaders, and small size for most of the information. You don’t want to have a page screaming for attention.

5. Why can’t I use fancy fonts?

Well you can and you can’t. Using a gorgeous curlycued letter may be appropriate for  letters and sealing wax or illuminated manuscripts, but if you write an entire word in overly ornate letters, it will be unreadable.  Not to mention that many computers may not have the same font and it would therefore be rendered useless unless posted as an image.

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