Web Design Formula - August 2006


At Web Design Sunshine Coast we never lose site of the web design basics. We discuss the needs of our clients taking into account their objectives.

Before creating and uploading a website, it is important to take the time to plan exactly what is needed in the website. Thoroughly considering the audience or target market, as well as defining the purpose and deciding the content will be developed are extremely important.

The web design needs of Professional Investment services Sunshine Coast are different from the web design needs of Sunshine Coast Holiday House however we can follow the same basic formula.

Purpose
It is essential to define the purpose of the website as one of the first steps in the planning process. A web design purpose statement should show focus based on what the website will accomplish and what the users will get from it. A clearly defined purpose will help the rest of the planning process as the audience is identified and the content of the site is developed. Setting short and long term goals for the website will help make clear the purpose and web design plan for the future when expansion, modification, and improvement will take place. Also, goal-setting practices and measurable objectives should be identified to track the progress of the site and determine success. More on web design statistics.

Accessible Web design

Accessible Web design is the art of creating webpages that are accessible to everyone, using any device. It is especially important so that people with disabilities - whether due accident, disease or old age - can access the information in Web pages and be able to navigate through the website. More on your website homepage.

To be accessible web pages and site must conform to certain accessibilty principles. These can be grouped into the following main areas:

  • use semantic markup that provides a meaningful structure to the document (i.e. Web page)
  • use a valid markup language that conforms to a published DTD or Schema
  • provide text equivalents for any non-text components (e.g. images, multimedia)
  • use hyperlinks that makes sense when read out of context. (e.g. avoid "Click Here.")
  • don't use frames
  • use CSS rather than HTML Tables for layout
  • author the page so that when the source code is read line-by-line by user agents (such as a screen readers) it remains intelligible. (Using tables for design will often result in information that is not.)

Website Audience

Defining the audience is a key step in the website planning process. The audience is the group of people who are expected to visit your website – the market being targeted. These people will be viewing the website for a specific reason and it is important to know exactly what they are looking for when they visit the site. Calculate your web design for the actions these people wil take. A clearly defined purpose or goal of the site as well as an understanding of what visitors want to do/feel when they come to your site will help to identify the target audience. Upon considering who is most likely to need/use the content, a list of characteristics common to the users such as:

Audience Characteristics
Information Preferences
Computer Specifications
Web Experience
Taking into account the characteristics of the audience will allow an effective website to be created that will deliver the desired content to the target audience.


Web Design Content

Content evaluation and organisation requires that the purpose of the website be clearly defined. Make sure of your web design research. Collecting a list of the necessary content then organising it according to the audience's needs is a key step in website planning. In the process of gathering the content being offered, any items that do not support the defined purpose or accomplish target audience objectives should be removed. It is a good idea to test the content and purpose on a focus group and compare the offerings to the audience needs. The next step in the process is categorising the content and organising it according to user needs. Each category should be named with a concise and descriptive title that will become a link on the website. Planning for the site's content ensures that the wants/needs of the target audience and the purpose of the site will be satisfied.

Web Design Storyboarding

Storyboarding is the process of taking into account the purpose, audience and content to design the site structure that is most suitable for the website. In this process the organised and categorised content is used to develop a diagram or map. More on web design function. This creates a visual of how the web pages will be laid out and interconnected which helps decide how the content is portrayed. There are three main ways of diagramming the website organisation:

  • Linear Website Diagrams will allow the users to move in a predetermined sequence;
  • Hierarchical structures (of Tree Design Website Diagrams) provide more than one path for users to take to their destination;
  • Branch Design Website Diagrams allow for many interconnections between web pages.


In the process of storyboarding a record is made of the description, purpose and title of each page in the site and they are linked together according to the most effective and logical diagram type. Depending on the number of pages the website will include, methods include using pieces of paper and drawing lines to connect them or alternatively, creating the storyboard using computer software. Storyboarding can be considered like a creating a prototype for the website – a model which allows the website layout to be reviewed, resulting in suggested changes, improvements and/or enhancements. This review process increases the likelihood of success of the website.

More of this in web design definition.