For a Web site to be effective it is indispensable for it to be easily surfed and to have a high level of usability, that is, that it can be surfed by the largest amount of people in every situation. Consequently, several key aspects related to programming and design must be taken into consideration.
You will be able to know the chief criteria Web designers take into account for the Web site to be rapidly visualized and easily surfed.
Follow a standard.
For a Web site to be adequately visualized in most browsers it is important for it to stick to some of the standards set by the W3C. A standard is a guideline for the creation of the Web contents, for instance HTML or XHTML and CSS. The general W3C advice is to split text and presentation, that is, use HTML or XHTML for the structure of the content and style sheets (such as CSS) for its visual aspects. The W3C offers a detailed guide to design high usability, navigability and accessibility Web sites.
W3C offers validating programs with which you can check that the contents of a Web site comply with the necessary requirements to be visualized in all browsers without problem.
Free validating programs offered by W3C of HTML, XHTML and CSS, among others, indicate if a site fits the general recommendations of this worldwide association.
It is important that even after having complied with a standard and validated the contents of a Web site, you concretely check whether the Web site can be properly visualized in the main browsers. In do doing, possible problems may be amended so that when the Web site is fitted out most users will not have problems opening it.
It is vital for the images included in a Web site to have a format, suitable for its type, given that, otherwise, the site may take long to be visualized. Pictures must be included in JPEG format, given that it has great quality and compression. In the case of simpler images – those with clearly defined shapes and few colours- it is advisable to use GIF format, more popular than PNG. If you want to include rendered images (those obtained from a special program of synthesized images) it is advisable to use PNG format, although you have to bear in mind that this format, as it is new, is frequently not supported by browsers.
Limited use of graphs
In order to make visualization of a Web site faster it is important to avoid overloading it with graphs, given that they take long to be loaded.
Another important point Web designers take into account is the size of images. The bigger they are, the longer it will take to load a Web site. You should take into account that users want the site to be loaded in a couple of seconds. If loading is not fast, users will quit the Web site immediately.
Therefore, the total size of images should be of no more than 50 Kbs.
A good way of keeping users waiting is to apply the progressive load of graphs, given that, in this way, an image begins to be visualised while it is still loading.
Sizes per percentage
In order to optimise visualization it is ideal to avoid fixed sizes in design, and use sizes per percentage, instead, for your site to be adequately visualized in any resolution.
Web designers undertake to think of a clear and pleasant navigation system for users to remain in a particular Web site. This element of design is essential, given that the success of a site depends on it.
In order to improve Web site navigation you have to offer a clear structure in each page and in the site as a whole. Consequently, users will not get lost and will be able to enjoy all the contents offered.
Each page has to show links that will allow the visitor to continue surfing the Web site.
Distribution of contents
In order to improve the navigability of a Web site you have to distribute the contents adequately. Therefore, the main page or home will have to include the adequate introduction of the organization and the most important news, products and services. Hyperlink buttons should be clear and organized as sections through which users can surf in order to find specific information on a particular subject.
You should present the users with a navigation bar for them to be able to find what they need in a particular Web site. The bar may include categories and sub categories to make search easier.
Icons and text
It is important for all the icons included in a Web site that favour navigation to be rendered into text, given that many users have the graphic choice defused or do not have flash plug-in.
Generally, clear design Web sites have at the beginning and at the end an index with the main contents, that makes navigation quicker and simpler.
Repetition of elements and return
Big Web sites, particularly, should contain navigation elements at the beginning and at the end of each page, given that in so doing users will not get lost and will be able to continue navigating easily. On the other hand, if a Web page is long, at the end of it, it is advisable to place a link taking the users back to the beginning. Likewise, there should always be a return button to the main page (the button may be called “Main page”, “Home” or “Return”). Consequently, users that have reached any page within the site will be able to access the introductory page.
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