If your Web site doesn't project a professional and polished
image to your visitors, your credibility and that of your
products and services will suffer. Image is
everything--especially online where your competitor is only one
mouse click away!
Before your first HTML code is written, you will need to
consider your Web site's navigational structure, color scheme
and page layout. Is your content developed? If not, who is going
to write it?
Once you have done the necessary pre-planning, then the fun part
begins--coding your HTML pages.
Following are some steps to consider when laying out your Web
(1) I highly recommend that you try to get your home page to fit
on one screen. Ideally, people shouldn't have to scroll down to
see what your site has to offer. You may need to make your
graphics smaller, but that's okay. Smaller graphics mean a
quicker download time.
(2) Be sure to check your pages at all the various screen
resolutions. Although only a small percentage of users have
their monitors set at 640x480, you will want to make sure your
site looks good at that resolution. I design my Web pages at
800x600, which is the average resolution. However, more and more
users have their computer monitors set at higher resolutions,
such as 1024x728. You will see that your pages will look
radically different depending on the resolution. I personally
have been horrified at how ugly my "beautiful" pages look on
different computer screens.
(3) Browsers are another very important consideration. Netscape
and Internet Explorer both perform the same function--display
Web pages--but the way they do so is strikingly different.
Your code needs to be very clean and pretty much flawless to
display correctly on Netscape. If you miss even one table tag
(e.g., you forget to close a <td> tag), you will be mighty
surprised when you get nothing but a blank page on Netscape.
Internet Explorer is much more forgiving. It "assumes" what you
meant to do. Netscape, on the other hand, is unassuming. If it
doesn't understand your code, it simply will not display it.
NOTE: An excellent site to check your HTML code for browser
compatibility, as well as screen size, is Anybrowser.com at
your site because it's both functional and cool. However, those
technologies work better on Internet Explorer than they do on
Netscape. Many of the scripts that you can grab for free at
sites like Dynamic Drive DHTML (http://www.dynamicdrive.com/)
and Website Abstraction (http://www.wsabstract.com/) are written
exclusively for Internet Explorer, so you will need to be very
careful when deciding what to use on your Web site. (5) The
titles on all of your Web pages need to be consistent--not only
in font style, size and color but also alignment. Make sure the
spacing between the title and the first paragraph is consistent
throughout your site. Make sure your spacing is uniform on all
(6) If your navigation is dependent on graphics (e.g., image
will have a problem getting around your site if their browser
doesn't display graphics, or if they've chosen to turn graphics
off on their browser settings for faster surfing. It is
extremely important to provide text links in addition to graphic
links. All of your users will see your text links, plus text
loads faster than graphics.
(7) It is an excellent idea to make your logo a clickable link
back to your home page from all of the pages of your Web site.
Many visitors expect to be able to use the logo to go back home.
Don't forget to also include a text link to your home page.
These are only a few considerations in designing your Web pages,
but they are very important. Don't let your beautiful pages look
ugly on your visitor's computer screen. If you are like me, you
will find these issues among the most challenging aspects of
designing professional Web sites.
About the author:
Copyright (c) 2000 by Joanne Glasspoole. Joanne Glasspoole is
the editor/publisher of CYBER QUEST. Each issue is jam packed
with original reports, news briefs, cool Webmaster tools, and
more. To subscribe, send email to mailto:Majordomo@lists.kdv.com
with "subscribe cyberquest" in the body of your message. Visit
Joanne's web site at http://www.glasspoole.com