Web Design Balance - July 2009

Sunshine Coast Web Design Balance

At 12website.com.au our talented designers work with balancing a design what looks good and that shows up well in the search engines. Unfortunately, the web is littered with sites that look great, but won't get found by a search engine. They were designed by professionals and amateurs alike. The main reason is they were not created by someone who kept your needs in mind throughout the whole web design and web development process. Most business needs are clear:

1. Attract customers.
2. Represent your business in a way that will attract clients.
3. Ensure your website is seen, so it will attract customers. More on web design for customers.

Web design search

Think of a search engine as advertising that can bring you a large amount of visitors if only your site can be found. Search engines use computer programs called "spiders" whose job it is to visit pages of the web and report back to the search engine what they have found. "Spiders" reads words and follows links to report back to the search engine.

Spiders are programs that have to run constantly and were designed to perform three simple tasks:

1. Read text.
2. Report back what text they have found.
3. Follow links.

Spiders aren't impressed by the visual part of your website. All they can see is text and links. They cannot see pictures. They thrive on words. So with this knowledge, we run into the most common mistakes found on websites. Too many pictures/images and too much flash! Spiders can't read pictures or flash. If they can't read it, they can't report back to the search engine with anything useful. If the search engine has nothing useful recorded about your page, it won't get found by someone using the search engine to find your business. More on how we track this with web design statistics.

If a human visitor only sees text, they will not be impressed and so you see the importance of web design balance. At Sunshine Coast web Design we solve that with a clever balance. Typically a website has text content and graphics content. Text content downloads quickly and your web page usually fills up with text content in a matter of seconds. If the page is inundated with graphic images, the story can be entirely different. Read more on website home page from 2003.

Web design graphic bottleneck

Downloading images from hosting servers takes time and slows down your system. So while it looks nice to a designer, your site visitors and potential customers may get irritated. Flash animations, for instance, generally require a Flash player which the software company, Adobe, makes available to all as a free and regularly updated download. If you don’t have the Adobe Flash Player on your system, you will have to download it. Some designers tend to use a substantial number of images when they design a website. Images are important but it is the overall impression of the webpage which matters ultimately.

Web design image suggestions

Most major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask Jeeves and others cannot process and index images that easily. What they may do is process the caption below the image which is in text format and index the text. You can use keywords within the text of captions so that search engines index the captions. This would be a smart way of drawing attention if the image loads fast and is attractive to view.

Technical - web design image types for web pages

There are two popular formats to store graphics. These are the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) and the Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG). The GIF format is good for minor animation while the JPEG format is used for static images.

For web applications, the GIF files are best saved around 72 dots per inch or DPI. If you save them at 144 DPI, then some systems will not reproduce them well. Similarly, JPEG files are best saved at around 600 x 800 DPI. Saving them at higher resolutions may result in poor reproduction in some systems.

Editing web images for web development

If you have created a CD with multiple images, it is possible that you would have used a very high resolution to generate your graphics. You should not transfer it to your website without editing it. You should edit the images to reduce the resolution or the visual quality of the images transferred to the web may be very poor. More on web design stand out.

Balancing web design with images

When you are creating a webpage with images, remember to ‘balance’ the page. This is in terms of placement of images and your colour scheme. Careful creation of images on your website will have two benefits. Firstly, the download speeds will improve. Secondly, the images and overall page will appear more attractive.

There is yet another innovative method to improve the search engine ranking of your website. The Alt tag description is used to describe images. All you have to do is add the keyword as part of the file name of the graphic file and create a special statement which describes the image. This helps greatly with web accessibility issues and improves search engine ranking and positioning because screen readers used by visually disabled site visitors are able to audibly vocalise the descriptions of graphic images. More on web design graphics.

Flash in web design sunshine coast

Flash animations can look lovely. You can have Flash elements embedded in a website or as some sunshine coast web designers have; the entire website can be Flash enabled. However, there are negatives about using Flash.

1. An all flash website takes long to download even on broadband. Your potential customers may go for a coffee break while the site is downloading! Splitting the file into smaller parts does not solve the problem. Instead of waiting for 10 minutes at the start, you will have to wait for 4 minutes, 4 minutes and 2 minutes.

2. Quite often, you will tend to concentrate so much on the Flash elements that you don’t load in enough text content. Unless your Flash elements by themselves are the complete presentation, you will need content. As mentioned above, search engines look for content not graphics.

3. Search engines don’t like Flash since they can’t read the file. The only way of partially remedying the problem is by inserting text describing the Flash animation.

4. Flash websites sometimes have the header portion and navigations buttons displayed on the website using in Flash.
Search engines won’t be able to read the flash navigation and won’t know there are any other pages to index. To avoid this situation, you have to have text links in place.

Contact us to find out more - Sunshine Coast 0407 589 420.


12website.com has prepared the supplied information as a voluntary service to the online community. The information is necessarily web design and small business in nature and is not intended to be relied upon other than as general background material. This should not be used as specific advice, recommendations or guidance, and specialist assistance should be sought by anyone in need of such help. 12website.com accepts no liability under any circumstances for any loss, expense, damages or costs whether direct or indirect (including loss of profits / damage to business) which may be incurred by any person as a result of relying on or using in whole or in part any of the supplied information.

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