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Handouts » HTML Handouts » Design Issues

Web Page Design Issues

About Design

These are the most important issues.

  • The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a page to make the writing flow naturally. Write the material first and then massage the text to include natural sounding text that accommodates hyperlinks.

  • Never, ever, include link text such as "click here" or "here".

  • Your page should not exceed 50K in size, including the html file and the sum of all images on that page. If you include heavy graphics on subpages, include some warning in the link (150K).

    Placing images on a web page is a tricky business, when considering people with disabilities who cannot see the image, or people browsing with images turned off. One of the best resources for this is ALT text in IMG which includes a thoughtful discussion of the issues involved. Their General Principles for ALT text is a terrific table of options. I recommend you print the table.

  • Many people are still using text browsers or running graphics browsers with images turned off. Be sure to check your page in Lynx to be sure you are as accessible as possible. Also check your page in a graphics browser with its graphics turned off. In Netscape, click on the Options menu and UNcheck "Autoload Images". You can also use Bobby to check how well people with disabilities can reach your site. One of the wonderful aspects of the Internet is the freedom it offers to people with disabilities. They can move and speak in cyberspace as they never could IRL, so this is not an insignificant issue!

  • Be consistent in the use of background, text and link colors, background images, footer information and navigation (ie, links to return to the page you were on before, and to your home page). If you are consistent in your overall design, people will enjoy a comfortable familiarity in your site and be able to adapt to your structure (where the links are to return to pages and to your home page, how to get your email address, etc.)

  • Check your pages on a variety of browsers and platforms to see that they still look good.

  • Be ethical in your preparation of pages for search engines. Don't spam the page in an attempt to trick the spiders into falsely awarding your page unmerited relevancy.

  • Use a source like Dr. HTML to check the accuracy of your HTML and to make sure all the links on your pages are still active. Dr. HTML is a great tool for spell checking too!

  • Speaking of spelling ... your web site is a global publication. Be certain your writing is well crafted and your words are spelled correctly ;-)

Helpful Suggestions

If you're using the same body tag layout, with selected bgcolor and text colors, place the body tag in a separate file (named "body") and just read that file into a new page in the pico editor. (I recommend you print this)

legal Issues in Web Page Design

When is it ok to link other sites? Check out Searchengine Watch on linking

Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Design Assistance

Last Edited: 11 Mar 2012

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