Make a link for Home Page, Previous Page, Next Page.
Offering a Content Page to users can provide them an idea of the contents of the web site. With a Content Page, users do not anymore need to pass through pages just to go to the page that they intend to go to.
Make sure that links and buttons have a keyboard shortcut. Keep in mind that some users find it easier and quicker to use keyboard shortcuts than pointing and clicking the mouse device.
Provide a page ID, such as window title page. Even though users reached several levels of navigating from one page to another, the information, in the form of a simple title page, can help them remember the reason why they are browsing the page.
Provide a link or button to pages that are related or relevant to the current page. Although search functions are useful, links and buttons to related pages is a quick way of providing suggestions to users as to which information can further give him some help
A.3 Keep Your Web Site Updated to the Latest Technology
Most of the time, users seek for new technologies. They are fascinated with new technologies. Hence, when a web site applies new technologies, chances are, users return visiting it. For instance, static menus are no longer the fad in today's web sites. Aside from being a space-eater, they look boring. It would be better if rolling-out menus, those that pull down once a mouse points on a menu item, is used. However, along with this principle, the ability of the new technology to run in the users' machine is important to considered. For instance, using Java Applets in the design and development of the web page may not be compatible to run in old browsers. If this is the case, there must be an alternative design that checks the technology being used by the user, as well as the directing function that designates which technology will be applied to the users' machine.
Another way of keeping your web site updated is by constantly monitoring that your links, particularly those to the external sites, still exist.
Keeping the design and organization of your web site updated brings in the trust of the users to your site. Constant updates is a way of informing your user that you also take care of them.
A.4 Keep a simple and yet informative page layout.
Simplicity is the key to users' convenience in using a web page. According to Mark Ward, as stated by Dr. Jakob Nielsen,
The paradox that needs to be mastered, he says, is for simple information to be immediately available, with more depth available for those who want more.
Morever, Nielsen stated that The beauty of the web is that you can provide infinite depth," Dr. Nielsen says. "You have to allow people to focus on what they want, and if they want it then they should be able to get much deeper information."
Keeping a web page's layout simple requires the direct availability of simple information. This major rule is one of the web design principles in which some web designers commit mistakes. Some have the wrong notion that having a complex web design is a "state-of-the-art" in web technology. Thus, what some do is to keep users click on different links and buttons first before users get into the main information that they need.
It must be kept in mind that not all users have a wide knowledge in computer technology. So, do not put a lot of designs that will only confuse the users. Web designs must be kept simple and sensible. According to Andrew Starling (2001), the vast majority of customers [web users] are looking for speed, simplicity and ease of use rather than an introduction to the latest programmers' gadgets.
A.5 Design your web site as a self-service center
Web sites are created to allow the users do things on their own. For instance, in an e-commerce web site, customers can look and buy for products without consulting for a salesperson to help them. Web sites must be designed to provide a convenient and faster way of doing activities, as in shopping for our example. According to Gerry McGovern (2004),
The essence of a website is self-service. There are three core things that self-service needs to get right: convenience, speed, and price. Convenience means task achievement with minimum effort. Speed means that you get in and out of a website as quickly as possible. People are cheap on the Web.
In our objective, in designing an online membership and payment management system, users must be able to register for membership without the need to call for a hotline. To achieve this, every information must be made available to them. This includes basic information such why they have to register, what they can get after registering, and how they can become a member. If these kinds of information are provided online, users can self-serve themselves.
B. General Principles on Components of a Web Design
The previous items that were listed are some basic principles of web design. In this section, we will try to enumerate some specific rules in using web design elements. It is important to provide a focus on these items since they are the basic components that make up a web design.
B.1 Page Layout
Have a standard layout for all the pages in your web site. CSUS.EDU online has the following suggestions for page layouts.
Keep lines short, approximately 40-60 characters or about 11 words per line.
Keep paragraphs four to eight lines.
Use wider margins to increase white space for readability online.
Use headlines, bullets, pull quotes, and sidebars.
Use darker or brighter contrast in small areas.
Give all pages a common look and feel.
Make your page links easy to understand, as well as obvious and clear that it is a link. Using italic, underlined, or colored fonts help to identify links.
Do not just embed graphics in a web page. Graphic images must be relevant to the information the web page is trying to convey. Also, do not use graphics that are hard to understand.
Use simple fonts such as Arial or Times Roman. Use only one font style as the standard font in all the pages of a web site. For the foreground color of fonts, use a color that matches the logo of the web site's owner. For instance, if the company logo contains red and white colors, red or white can be used as the standard font color in all the pages of the web site. Or, black foreground, being the standard font color, can be used.
Many web sites have been successful because of a good web design. That is because successful web sites such as Yahoo, Google, Ebay, and Amazon, have implemented the basic guidelines of a good web design. In evaluating the different web design principles that were presented, it can be found that simplicity, usability, and clarity of web designs are among the most common characteristics that make up a good web design. These characteristics must go along with the intention of focusing on the intended users of the web site. That is, how the users will find it convenient and efficient in using the web site.
For our planned web site, which is an online membership and payment management system, it is suggested to make the web design as clear as possible. Every information fields used in the web site must be clearly defined and easy to understand. If possible, it would be best if an online help will be provided for the intended users. This is to achieve the goal of making the web site a self-service center since it will be an online membership and payment management system wherein it is intended that no physical assistance will be required.
It can be concluded that the evaluation of several critics on the success of web sites are factual and true. As an Internet user, I believe that for a web site to be successful, it must prove its effectiveness to its users. The effectiveness of a web site relies on simple factors, and yet, some web sites just overlook them. Complexity and adopting new technologies are some of the aspects that cause the ineffectiveness of web designs. When all is needed are factors such as simplicity and direct to the point delivery of information, some web designers are misguided by the continuous development in the computer technology.
The basic essence of web sites is to allow self-service, whether it is access to information or services pertaining to activities that were previously conducted with human interaction. This purpose must never be lost in the objectives of any web site. If this purpose satisfies users without any complexities and problems, with simplicity and ease, we can conclude that a web site…