‘Pimp my website’. Tips to a great looking website / blog without alerting the style police.

After reading the article by Mike Rundle of 9Rules, it really make sense to me that design is more than making your website or blog look cool but both functional and user friendly. It have to be user friendly not for fellow designer only but also for the average internet users that majority know nothing about design.

In his article he wrote about a very interesting principle, C.R.A.P. It stands for Contrast Repetition Alignment Proximity.

Mike have also list out various examples of what C.R.A.P. means on the web (Robin Williams first coined the acronym), but for me it’s this:

Elements that aren’t the same should be very different so they stand out, making them “slightly different” confuses the user into seeing a relation that doesn’t exist. Strong contrast between page elements allows the user’s eye to flow from one to another down the page instead of creating a sea of similarity that’s boring and not communicative.

To make your website more uniformed and cohesive, one of the methods is repetition. For example, use the same font you use for the entire posting and same one for the title.

Everything on the page needs to be visually connected to something else, nothing should be out of place or distinct from all other design elements.

Proximity creates related meaning: elements that are related should be grouped together, whereas separate design elements should have enough space in between to communicate they are different.

Apart from this principle, webmaster can also learn more about guideline to make a better website from Google's design and technical guidelines. There you can read tips on how design a functional and effective website.

In one of my class, we we taught about the ‘white space’ and textbook (I think this idea was first coined by Brian Tomlinson). Teaching material expert have said textbook with a lot of whites pace will give a positive effect on its reader. This is also applicable to website and weblog.

What should be avoided.

Accessive use of Flash or animated .gif
Flash is a software created by Macromedia (that was bought recently by Adobe). It can create wonderful animations and very cool to look at. Using flash is normal especially for the introduction page but not for the whole website is a crime. Firstly, flash takes a long time to load waiting equal loss time equal frustration equal loss of one visitor. Add few more pages with heavy flash presentation you may as well put a warning sign to your visitor: visit here only if you have tones of free time.

Annoying banners.
It is normal to put banner on your website to generate income and make money from every hit you have. But never, ever go overboard. User should be able to browse freely without the feeling as they are being hassle to click something or like walking down pasar malam with people shouting left and right asking you to buy their product.

Popups is annoying. That is why there is such a thing as popup filter.

Dead link
Once in a while, check all the links to your external sites to make sure all of them are working. Update any broken links before anyone starts complaining about your website.

I guess you can list down many bad and good design features of your own. But for me the important thing are to be practical, functional and user friendly

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Izham Miyake said...

nice tips la bro.. thanks!

syed syahrul zarizi b syed abdullah said...

hey, u dah tukar nama ke :)

Unknown said...

bagus nih.. very informative

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