The web brings the world together. We use the internet to get directions, we use it to make purchases, plan vacations and get information. In many ways it has changed the way live our lives—and it continues to evolve.
With tools like WordPress and Joomla it’s easier than ever to build a website, but you can’t get the professional results without some professional direction.
The Components of Good Web Design
Unfortunately good web design doesn’t just happen, for a website to be engaging, you need a few basic elements. Thinking about how your users are going to interact with your website and what kind of service or information you are providing will help you craft a site with usability.
1. Theming & Design
If you’re making a website about robots, you might think of using metallic colors for borders. If you’re building a site for a flower shop, you might consider vibrant colors and images of flowers. It’s important that your theme and design is interesting and appealing to your target audience.
2. Information & Fonts
Fonts or the style of text you use can easily communicate a theme, but they should also be considered for usability. There are two basic font types: serif and sans serif. Serif fonts have an added flourish and don’t tend to look as clean as sans serif fonts when they are brought down in size. How much text will your site have? If it’s a lot, you should consider a cleaner sans serif font. Stick to three basic fonts, a headline font, a subhead font and body copy—and keep them in a similiar family. More than three fonts can be distracting and make your site look unorganized.
Do you pictures have captions or descriptions? Do you present contextual or similar content in a way that it’s easy for users to find more content similar to what may have brought them to your site?
3. Usability & Interaction
Your website should be easy to navigate, meaning that the information should be organized and user friendly. A slideshow or gallery might be a great way to show off images but if the interface is clunky or not intuitive it won’t appeal to your users.
4. Scanner Friendly Presentation
More and more, our TMI (Too Much Information) society skims over information. Long paragraph? TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read). Instead use bulleted or numbered lists. Images, infographics and other entry points can make an article more inviting and easier to read.
Best Practices for the Web
Where do you go to learn web design? Digital Media Academy teaches web design with the latest tools and technology, which is important in the constantly changing world of the web. Taught by industry professionals and tech educators with years of experience in their field, at DMA’s tech camps for kids and teens students learn the web design skills and techniques they need to build amazing websites.
Creative web designers and web developers continue to push the limits of what is possible on the new web frontier, don’t wait any longer to become a part of this exciting interactive space.
“Wow! That animation looks great! Ok. Now we’re going to take the animated Flash movie you just created and you are going to import it into Dreamweaver on your web page. Let’s all do this together! Ready?”
I am right in the middle of another great Digital Media Adventures course for kids at Stanford: Web Design and Flash. We are taking an in depth look at the Adobe Creative Suite applications: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Adobe Flash. We are on the third day of the five-day course at Stanford University. My class just got back into the classroom from playing a crazy game of Slaughter Ball. It sounds scary, but it’s a lot of fun. Sort of like Dodge Ball. The kids in my class are a little out of breath from playing ball, but that’s to be expected at a summer camp. They came running in and jumped (literally) in their seats excited about their Flash movies they created just before the break.
While the kids are experiencing all the fun of a summer camp, they are also getting an unbelievable learning experience. That’s what makes this the full summer computer camp experience. They are learning the same pro applications we are teaching across the Stanford campus in our adult web design courses. The professional Adobe applications like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash are the real deal! The kids pick up the technology so fast. That makes it really fun to teach. It’s interesting how much better kids interact with technology they have grown up with their whole life.
Earlier in the week, the kids in my class had already designed and created their own logo and company business card design. Their custom business card had their picture from a photograph taken in the class. The graphics and effects they created turned out amazing. They had learned the ins and outs of the Adobe software and were creating a matching website to go with their cards and logo. They were now adding an animated movie they created in Flash to spice up their website design.
In the next three classrooms I can faintly hear the other Adventures classes. The kids in 3d video Game Design course are screaming about some new level they created trying to destroy their enemy. From the Robotics and Programming class I can hear cheers of two robots racing. I see the Film, Digital Movie Making and Effects class go by with all their cameras, mics, lights, and scripts to go act, film, and direct their next scene. I wish I’d been exposed to this when I was this age! This computer camp is the real deal.