Basics of web design
The basics of web design revolve around a simple fact: each web page is an independent entity that the user can access to acquire specific information. Each web page, therefore, needs to stand on its own both in terms of design and content.
A website is not like a complete book, it is more like a library which a person visits looking for a particular book. As a web designer you first need to design the navigation in a way that lets the user find the page in question quickly and without too much effort. Having done that you need to make the pages attractive for the user to obtain information quickly, concisely and in a pleasant manner.
This is where the importance of GUI (Graphic User Interface) comes in. GUI is what creates the experience for a reader; it uses its own dictionary of buttons, links and messages to interact with the reader in a way no printed page can. A reader clicks, navigates, has pop ups and blurbs to help him assimilate and enjoy the information that he or she has come looking for.
Having said that, the content and structure of the web page is no less important. Every web design must answer the following five questions:
1. What: What is the page about? This is the most important part of web designing because what the page is about forms its title or its bookmark. Think of it as the title of the book on its spine. The reader glances at it and then decides if the book needs to be pulled out.
2. Who: This is the next most important thing to remember. Who is dispensing the information on the page? Is it an individual? Is it an institution? Is it a reliable source? With information overload, a reader often needs to be assured of the authenticity of what is on the page. The only way you can build this trust is by providing accurate and authentic information.
3. When: Today's headline becomes old news tomorrow. Keep this is mind about the information on your web page. Tell the reader about when was the last time the page was updated. This will help the person assess whether the information is current enough to be valid.
4. Where: While the web has no geography it is important to remember that both the geographical as well as the navigational origin of the document is of interest to the reader. As for URL origins (web address), incorporating the home URL on the main pages of your site will improve the chances of the reader remembering where the page originated.