Now that I’ve covered the basics of how to design a website, when to design it and who should do the work, now it’s time to think about what needs to go into your site design.

Things to consider while you go through the design process:

  • The website must match and extend your brand. Your logo and Visual Vocabulary for your website needs to match your printed pieces so that it’s clear that they all come from the same company.
  • It must look different than your competitors’ sites while still being of comparable or better complexity and quality.
  • You can use more colors online. Many small businesses limit their color palette in print to one or two colors, because of printing costs. But, online, colors are free – so why not expand your palette?
  • Vertical or horizontal navigation? While a horizontal navigation bar looks more sophisticated and takes up less room, it also gives you less room to grow, and makes secondary navigation more difficult.
  • Do you need secondary navigation? If so, how should it look?
  • Consistency in navigation
  • Should your design fill the whole web browser or be constrained?
  • Do you have to worry about “web safe colors”?
  • The advantages to using straight lines and edges.
  • Flash vs. HTML: The pros and cons of both.
  • Easier ways to get animation on your site: Animated GIFs
  • Preparing graphics for online use
  • Photos: Stock or custom

Specifics of text design:

  • HTML vs. text as an image: The debate over having cool fonts or Search Engine friendly text
  • Style sheets and why they make sense for text design
  • Underlining and how to use it on the web
  • How to use signatures on your web page
  • Callout boxes
  • Side bars
  • Custom fonts in-line with other text

Redesign:

  • Re-planning the navigation: What pages do you no longer need, what pages do you need to add?
  • Re-skinning
  • Complete re-coding
  • Much the same as designing

I’ll be addressing each of these points in detail over the next few weeks.