If youâ€™re embarking on putting your first website together, and youâ€™re not using templates of web 2.0 properties (like Wordpress) to do so, youâ€™ll need to know a thing or two about web design principles (unless you hire a web design agency to do it all for you, then theyâ€™ll know it all for you).
Now that the internet has been around for a few years, certain standards have developed, and these will all need to be taken into account when putting together a new website. Most of these standards arenâ€™t noticeable unless youâ€™re thinking about it, although they will seem obvious when pointed out. Theyâ€™re become more obvious on sites that donâ€™t do them than sites that do, and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important.
Put your logo in the top-left
Itâ€™s pretty standard by now to have your logo in the top left hand corner, and for it to be a link back to the homepage. Users that have got used to this handy shorthand for â€˜homepage linkâ€™ find it immensely infuriating to find a site that doesnâ€™t adhere to this standard.
Put your navigation under the header
Underneath your header, put your navigation bar. Again, users expect to find the main category level links at the top here, and will quickly lose interest if they have to search around for them.
Get the right width
Fixed width sites are generally 960 pixels wide, in keeping with the basic Wordpress size. Although this makes them look small on larger screens, itâ€™s much better to seem narrow on a big screen than require scrolling on a small screen â€“ particularly on a laptop where users may be using a trackpad. A 960 width website will fill a standard widescreen laptop screen.
As screens get bigger, so will standard website width with it, so keep an eye on this.
If youâ€™re got a bigger budget and are working with a proper web design agency, you may be able to build a variable width website that matches the size of the screen. If this is the case, you most likely wonâ€™t need to read this article.
Crucial footer links
These are just some of the standards that have developed in web design over the last decade or so. There is no diktat that they should be followed, but users have grown used to them, even if theyâ€™re not aware of them. Not following them could well increase your bounce rate, as all good web design agencies know.