FINISHING TOUCHES - How Your Page Should Look

By Deborah Burton


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We're going to discuss how your page should look now. I went into this a little bit in Rule #2 on the first page in "Some Basic Rules For Web Design". In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a junked up web page, and there are a lot of them out there. Keep them simple, and people will find the information on your site a lot faster and easier.

The first thing I have difficulty with is banners. They are often brightly colored, sometimes animated, generally *very* distracting, and they are almost always at the top of the page. I'd be interested in knowing how much actual traffic (and, in the case of commercial sites how much actual business) comes from those darned banners. I'm not in your site to read banners--I'm there for the content.

Banners are done in bright colors and/or with animations deliberately, btw**, because those two things do distract the eye and supposedly draw the viewer's eyes to their advertisement (I resist very well, thank you very much!). Just keep in mind what they're distracting the viewer's eyes from--your site.

Frames are difficult to cope with. They're very distracting to the eye, even the newer "lineless" frames. My biggest objection to them is that they cut into the size of the viewable screen. This could be death for a commercial site, because it would make viewing products very difficult.

Under Construction signs and text are very annoying. Practically everybody's site is under construction (but they don't say so). If you have a decent web site, you put in time every so often to keep it updated. These often brightly colored signs are another distraction to the eye and are totally unnecessary, in my opinion.

.Gif animations or Java animations definitely have their place on the 'Net, and some of them are very cute. Some of them are downright amusing. I would, however, recommend using no more than one per page. They distract the eye, also, and if they're not done properly or are too big in file size, they can take a long time to load. I would choose a .gif animation over a Java animation, simply because they are easier to do and I think that more of the viewing public can "see" them.

Music is another problem. I don't know how the rest of you feel, but most music on sites is way too loud (even though I have my speakers turned down really low). I like the sites where I can control the volume and even shut off the music if I so choose. I hate the sites where I'm forced to listen to music the whole time I'm in there. Be considerate of your viewers--if you must use music, give them a choice. Music also increases your page loading time considerably, which is something else you should give strong consideration to.

Wallpaper is kind of a ticklish situation. Most of the wallpaper and textured backgrounds on the Web are very badly done. They are too vivid when they should be mutely colored so that they blend in as a background. Most wallpaper shouts at you and distracts your eye. If you use wallpaper, choose it carefully, and make sure it's very subtle wallpaper.

The last thing we're going to talk about is the background and text colors that you add to your site. These are very critical choices that you make. I tend to stick to blues and greens (and a very few reds and some browns) in my commercial pages. I feel that blues and greens are very soothing colors. I tend to make my pages pretty much color coordinated, too. I think this makes for a much more "even" looking page which is more soothing.

Most of my pages are colored text (rarely black) on an off-white or white background. These types of pages provide the best contrast (see the page links in the paragraph above for examples of this, also). Of the two, I think the off-white color is more soothing. However, a dark page with white text can be very effective, too, if well done. The most important thing is to provide plenty of contrast between your text and page color. You don't want your text or links to be unreadable.

Some Recommended Sites

This is the site where I got my little stars and "New" icons from. Andrew Soncha has a lot of really neat public domain graphics (buttons, lines, bullets, backgrounds, etc.) that you can download and use for free on your personal web pages on this site. This site has some of the classiest graphics around!

Dog Bone and Heart Border

How To Build An Attractive Web Page Link


Deborah Burton
130 Castle Rock Road
Unit #107
Sedona, AZ 86351
Email: fuzzy@fuzzyfaces.com

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