Fundamental Rules of Web Design
A website is a media platform that provides information of some sort to visitors. One of the very first fundamental rules of web design is that the information must be easy to read. You don't want to use backgrounds that obscure your text or use colours that are hard to read. Dark-coloured text on a light-coloured background is easier to read than light-coloured text on a dark background. Also, don't have black text on a white background as this has an overly sharp contrast that ends up hurting readers eyes.
Text size should be another important consideration when thinking about fundamental rules of web design. You don't want to set your text size too small as people with visual impairment will struggle to read your site and if you make it too large, it will appear to 'shout' at your visitors. All caps should be absolute no go for general text.
keep the text alignment as left aligned as this is what people are used to from learning to read and it is easier for readers to read from left to right.
Any links on your site, whether they are in a navigation or otherwise should be clearly indicated and made obvious to the reader. Graphic images, buttons and tabs, should be clear and easy to read. When you are having your web designer plan from the off set, they should select the colours, backgrounds, textures, and special effects on your web graphics very selectively, as is it is easy to go over board with variations. It all should blend with no effort.
All your navigation buttons and tabs should be easy to read and understand than to have effects that one or way or another, cause the visitor to have to "work" to use your website. Everything should always flow nicely, blend and be easy to use. Link colours in your text should be familiar to your visitor (blue text usually indicates an unvisited link and purple or maroon text usually indicates a visited link) way back when. Nowadays, its good to step away from the default colours, however they should still look like that something will happen when its clicked. Text links should be unique - they should not look the same as any other text in your web pages (otherwise, nobody will know they exist).
Your visitors should be able to find what they are looking for within three clicks. If not research has proven they are very likely to click off your site as quickly as they clicked on.
Your web page layout and design should be consistent throughout the site
Another one of the fundamental rules of web design is just like any document formatted on a traditional word processor or as in any brochure or newspaper formatted in a desktop publishing program; all graphic images, elements, typefaces, headings, and footers should remain consistent throughout your web site. Consistency and coherence in any document, whether it is a report or a set of web pages, project a professional image and stop your visitors feeling confused or lost.
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Your web site should be fast to download
Studies show that your visitors will quickly lose interest in your web site if the majority of a page does not download within around 15 seconds. It's for this reason that one of the fundamental rules of web design is; if your site is media intense, then you should display a warning somewhere stating that the site is loading all the media and songs etc. Even web sites that are marketed to high-end users need to consider download times. Sometimes, getting to globally popular web sites is so difficult and time consuming that visitors will often leave it until non-working hours from their homes. In any case, it is best to keep your download time as short as possible, regardless. Flash is a key example of this. It is fairly heavy in terms of downloading and now with HTML5, Flash is becoming ever more redundant.
Hosting also plays key role in website speed. A free host will be considerably slower than a premium hosting account. Shared hosting from a reputable host will be fine for most basic "information" sites, however if you expect a lot of internet traffic or surges of traffic (such as when a T.V. Ad campaign may be running) then we would certainly recommend dedicated hosting over shared hosting for example. Always ask any potential any questions and concerns you may have and if they are a good web host they will be honest and helpful.
One of the final fundamental rules of web design is your web page should reflect your business before it reflects you as a person. The only break of that, is if you are a personal brand (ie John Smith Photography etc). It is no good having a website that looks ultra modern and beautiful, if it does not serve the user in the most efficient way possible. Function and usability first.
You need visitors to find you for them to make sales
The myth, "If I build a web site, they will come," is still a commonly held belief among lots of companies and organisations new on the world wide web. People will not come to your web site unless you promote your site both online and offline, but that is another blog post!
We would love to hear your personal beliefs of fundamental rules of web design and any top tips and any advice you may have. Simply comment and let us know what you think.