In this section you will be able to find some of the main graphic aspects that designers take into consideration when developing a Web site. As any graphic piece, a Web site has specificity and therefore some adequate elements should be used for the contents to be attractive and clear, and for the identity of a company to be expressed visually. Nowadays, all the specifications regarding the presentation of the content of a Web site are usually included in what is called style sheets.
Apart from the functionality and navigability, the graphic design of a Web site is essential for its success, given that users identify visual quality with corporate quality. Every company willing to grow and give a professional and committed image needs a Web site designed by professionals, conveying, through a chosen aesthetics, its positive values. On the contrary, if a Web site looks sloppy and little professional, users will not rely on that company. Therefore, it is vital for the Web site to generate confidence in users in order to make them relate with the company advertised and feel secure when acquiring its products or hiring its services.
Here we will introduce some of the key design aspects taken into account by specialists. Once you get to know them you will understand, beyond doubt, the importance of the Web designer’s job.
In the first place designers undertake to develop a system of templates that help keep a homogeneous design between the different pages of a Web site. In so doing, basic templates or patterns with the layout, colours, typographies, buttons, headlines, footnotes, navigation bar and every graphic structure of each page are created. The template system is used due to its advantages: it offers the same style for a Web site, thus simplifying navigation to users and consolidating the company’s image. Given that information is separate from the presentation, the content may be updated easily. Besides, due to the same reasons, modifications in the visual traits can be introduced very easily.
When thinking of a Web site, designers decide on the general layout of each page. An advisable way of organizing the content is using HTML tables. In so doing, you avoid having the text moving from one margin to the other, which creates a little professional image. The conventional way of organizing a Web page is applying three tables, one for the headline, another for the central content and the last one for the footnote. The headline must be attractive, with the logo of the business placed in the left corner at the top. The footnote must repeat the name of the company and its legal data; it can also repeat the hyperlinks to make navigation easy.
The organization in tables reduces the loading time of a Web site. Besides, it allows for the distribution of the text in sections, application of columns and introduction of more tables to highlight particular information. It is important for the layout to clearly show hyperlink buttons, both at the top and bottom of the page and in both sides as well.
Background and colours.
Background and colours of the pages of a Web site must be carefully chosen, given that legibility of the texts included and the design clarity in general depends largely on them. It is really advisable to avoid saturated backgrounds given that they make reading difficult and produce distraction and confusion. It is important to have contrast between the colour of the background and that of the typography, given that it favours legibility. Therefore, black text over a white background is a good choice, although other dark colours are also recommended for the typography against light colour backgrounds (or vice versa, light text against dark background), given that in this way contrast does not disturb sight.
There should be coherence between the colours chosen for the background and typographies of a Web site given that, otherwise, it will look chaotic and will hinder navigation. Colours must be chosen according to the personality of the company, taking into consideration that each colour produces a different effect and is associated with different meanings. Generally more striking colours, such as yellow, orange, fuchsia are used for companies targeting a young public and bearing a more informal image. More formal companies usually choose cold or neuter colours such as dark blue or grey.
Regarding backgrounds, the Web designer must take into account that if he employs a great number of lines in creating them, the loading time of the page will be longer, reason why fewer lines are advisable in a bigger size. Coherent background images are advisable, that is following the same standard in every page of a site. And it is important to check that the typography is legible over the images.
Given the importance the text has in a Web site, it is essential, apart from distributing it adequately in each page, to choose adequate typographies to make it legible. It is advisable not to change fonts significantly, given that this generates confusion, especially in a means like the Internet, where there is a high level of visual saturation. It is convenient to choose the typography for the text of a whole site and another one for the titles, making variations in style (bold, italics, underlined, etc), in the body and colour. For the texts Arial or Verdana are generally used, given that both fonts are easily read on the screen. For the titles, an advisable typography is Georgia, given that it is adequately seen in big sizes.
The main obstacles to sort out when choosing a suitable typography are the degree of text resolution and screen brightness. There is a big difference between reading texts printed on paper and long texts on a computer screen. Letters have less resolution, because they are composed of pixels, which reduce definition. There are typographies that are exclusively created for screens, with a high level of pixels that increase resolution, but the drawback lies in the fact that they require machines with big memory to be visualized. On the other hand, screen brightness makes reading difficult and it becomes necessary to reduce the light contrast between the typography and the background. This means that, although it is advisable to make a considerable difference between the colour of the background and that of the text, you should use dark blue and grey or any dark colour with a light colour rather than black and white.
The Web designer takes into consideration the key elements of a Web site that are inevitable to offer a good quality site. Firstly, it is necessary to have a domain of your own, and a good quality server, given that users consider most reliable and committed those Web sites complying with these requisites. Besides, it is absolutely indispensable for every company to have a plain and eye catching logo that identifies it within the remaining companies. The logo must be placed at the top left hand corner of each page of the Web site. Thus, users will easily remember a particular company.
On the other hand, the Web designer will undertake to create a site focused on only one topic. A site must focus on the chief activity of a company or institution, and from there on in offer sections related with that core topic: tips, news, articles, other sources of information, images gallery, etc.
The main page is the letter of introduction of a company, and therefore, its design must be carefully done. It is very important to include a clear text, not too long, in which core services and products of a company are introduced, as well as the values defining it. In so doing, the user will stay in the site without getting bored of the lack of clarity. Pictures of highly sold products can be included, especially in those sites in which e-commerce is core. The main page must be simple and attractive and introduce links to other site pages in which to find further information.
Apart from taking these aspects into account, Web designers undertake to re design Web sites, in order to update them or incorporate new styles and contents of a company. Do not hesitate in hiring these specialists; they will know how to obtain a really striking Web site.
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