The Website Visual Menu
A Tour of this Website
Website Design Gallery
Graphic Design Gallery
Portfolio Slide Show
Website Design Process
Home Page Design
Video Production Studio
1950's Television Set
Large 20Mb Music Videos
Design & Experience
How Good Is Your Website?
Effective Business Websites
Home Page Essentials
Designing with Flash
Designing with Video
Clothing - Apparel
Mix & Match Clothing Website
Real Estate Website
Design Portfolio Website
Home Theater Websites
Website Content Tour
Website Structure & Linking
Special Interest Websites
Do You Like Asian Films?
Asian Film Ratings & Reviews
Chinese Pop Singers & Songs
Learn Mandarin Chinese
Interactive Chinese Book
Interactive Chinese Painting
Doan Thi Kim Hong
Southern California Handball
Chubbi Cakes Bakery
Special Days in the Year
Essential Elements of a Home Page
The home page must look friendly, self-evident, easy to navigate and make a good impression. This may seem obvious, but a lot of sites don't do this.
The home page should focus attention on what you want visitors to see. Not overwhelm them with so much visual noise, they don't see anything. I recommend that all pages about the primary subject have the same basic design style.
Personally. I do not like home pages that fill the screen with links and have little content. I find these sites too overwhelming and usually leave because I don't want to take the time to read through all the links to find what I'm looking for.
As computer displays have become larger, so have web pages. The current width is 980 pixels. If your website was designed more than two years ago, it will probably look small in comparison to contemporary sites.
Masthead A good masthead immediately identifies the website. It should contain the company name and logo. Some sites also include the company tagline. I make the masthead on every page a clickable link that takes visitors back to the homepage.
Presentation Window I make some mastheads tall enough to incorporate a window with a Flash presentation that shows visitors either what can be found on the website, the company's product line, or other important information.
In the presentation widow on my homepage, you can see a preview of every portion of the site. A presentation window that shows a collection of photos related to the subject of the website can make a site more visually interesting.
Graphic A large photo or graphic helps visitors immediately understand the subject of a web page.
Headline The page headline must also do this, especially if no graphic is available. This is also important because search engines will use this headline (and the page title) to identify the subject of the web page.
Primary Text The primary text is what you want visitors to read. It should explain what can be found on the site and where to start looking. If it is short, concise and clear, it is more likely to be read.
Navigation Navigation choices should be obvious.
If a site has ten or fewer pages, I usually place the navigation links horizontally under the masthead. If a site has many links, I stack them vertically on the left as you can see on this page. This format gives visitors an overview of the site and its structure. It also makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and go to that page with a single click.
It is essential to use a consistent navigation format throughout the site. I do not recommend drop down menus because they make seeing the overview and navigating the site difficult.
Important Links For page links I want visitors to notice, I use thumbnail graphics, as you see in the lower left of this page.
Important Subjects For the most important or timely site subsections, I use large graphic links that preview the subject to make visitors curious.
Secondary Text Text that may be less essential for visitors, but important for search engines, can be placed at the bottom of the page.
Contact Info I put complete contact information on its own page but at least a phone number and email address on every page.
Footer To me, footers complete the design of a page.
You can see samples of my website designs in the Website Design Gallery and a 1 1/2 minute presentation on this subject in the Voice Over Flash Demo.
Copyright © 1997-2012 John Nicholson. All rights reserved.