Best designed websites

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Best designed websites

  1. 1. Best designed websites : Part IWeb DesignWeb Design does not necessarily have to be as complicated as it may seem. With a little ingenuity andsome creative work a website with a clever web design can take form. To get started one must thinkabout what they like best about other websites. What is it that they have that your website doesn’thave? What is so special about their site that brings in so much traffic?If you are looking to have a web design that has great graphics and visual effects that will catch aviewers eye then the first step is to find a template that matches your desired web design. A template isthe first step to a web design, it is you skeleton if you will. Finding a template that has all that you wantplus the graphics that may suit you best is not too difficult. It just requires you to spend some time onthe internet searching through the hundreds of companies that offer template services. In one of thosecompanies you are bound to find something that you like. Not to mention that with the use of atemplate you can have a uniform professional web design.Once you have the template picked there is that pesky matter of the content on your web page. Areader will not want to read something that makes them feel that they are reading a school textbook.They are going to want something that is entertaining and feels enjoyable to read.Easy navigation through the web design will aid in the viewers ease through out the website making ituser friendly and pleasant. To do this make room for navigation cues that are on the website directlyand in a logical place on the page. For example it is best to have the navigation cues at the top or thebottom of the page as opposed to the middle of the page.Don’t forget about HTML. That code that does wonders for any website that it is put on. HTML can aid inthe efficiency of a web design and help to produce a much more attractive web page. It will can also addto the entertainment of the content by adding color, changing size etc.Putting all of this together may seem a lot at first. However, breaking it down step by step in the webdesign process will make designing that website easy, fast and more efficient bringing in the desiredtraffic. With just a little time you web design can be a fun creative endeavor.<A HREF="http://www.jatech.ca/">Jatech</A>
  2. 2. Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Best designed websites : End of Part IWeb accessibility for screen magnifier usersThe needs of screen magnifier users are overlooked when implementing web accessibility on to awebsite. Screen magnifiers are used by partially sighted web users to increase the size of on-screenelements. Some users will magnify the screen so that only three to four words are able to appear on thescreen at any one time. You can try using a screen magnifier yourself by downloading the Zoomtextscreen magnifier from http://www.aisquared.com/Products/ZoomText8_mag/FreeTrial/Z8FreeTrial.htmfor a free 30 day trial.The good news is that some of the basic principles for improving accessibility and usability for screenmagnifiers users, also increase usability for everyone. To help, weve listed six ways to improveaccessibility and usability for screen magnifier users:1. Dont embed text within imagesText embedded within images can become blurry and pixelated when viewed in screen magnifiers, andtherefore completely illegible. This is especially true when the image text is rather poor quality, so if youabsolutely have to embed text within images then make sure the image is of high quality. Many screenmagnifier users can find it quite difficult to read text at the best of times, so when it appears fuzzy tothem it can become difficult to impossible to read.Its not usually necessary to embed text within images anymore, as most presentational effects can nowbe achieved with CSS. By embedding text within images the download time of each page can become
  3. 3. significantly greater due to the weight of these images - for users on dial-up modems it can be a realpain waiting for these images to download and render.If youre not sure if a piece of text on the page is embedded within an image or not, try highlighting thetext. If you can highlight each letter individually then the text is real text and isnt embedded within animage.2. Clearly separate sections of the pageDifferent sections of each web page should be clearly separated through the use of borders anddifferent background colours. Screen magnifiers users can only see one tiny section of a web page at anyone time so it can sometimes be hard for these users to orientate themselves within the page.By using a blue background colour for the navigation, for example, screen magnifier users can quicklymove through the page and when they see a blue background they instantly know that the content arehas finished and the navigation area begun.Likewise, by separating different sections of the page with borders, when a screen magnifier user movesover that border they know theyre moving into a different section. One especially common form of this,is using a vertical bar to separate horizontal navigation items.Separating different sections of the page with background colours and borders doesnt only increaseusability for screen magnifier users - it increases usability for everyone. When regularly sighted usersscan through a web page, if the content, footer and navigation are all effectively differentiated its veryeasy to quickly gain an understanding of the on-page layout.3. Use clear and descriptive headings often
  4. 4. When screen magnifier users move their magnifier across the screen one of the items that stand out tothem is headings. By ensuring heading text is large, and perhaps by differentiating it through the use ofcolour, it will stand out to these users.Screen magnifier users usually have to stop the movement of the magnifier when they want to read apiece of text, so when they see a heading, they can stop and read it. Because headings (in theory atleast!) describe the content contained beneath them, screen magnifier users can read a heading, gain anunderstanding of the content beneath it, and decide whether they want to read that content or not. Ifnot, they can simply move the magnifier down the screen and stop at the next heading.Headings are incredibly useful for fully sighted users too for essentially the same reason. When you scanthrough a web page, headings are one of the items that stand out to you. Again, you can read theheading (or listen to it for a screen reader user), and provided its descriptive, instantly gain anunderstanding of the content beneath it. You can then keep reading or skip on to the next heading downthe page.4. Ensure link text is descriptive of its destinationLink text such as ‘click here and ‘more should be avoided and replaced with link text that adequatelydescribes the link destination. Link text, along with headings, is one of the items that stands out toscreen magnifier users (and all users for that matter) when browsing a web page. If ‘click here is usedthen these users (and in fact all users) will have to search through the text before and after the link inorder to work out its destination.5. Avoid scrolling or flashing textScrolling or flashing text is generally known for offering poor usability, as it means that users cant readthe text in their own time. This is doubly true for screen magnifier users who read web pages at a slowerrate - chances are that they wont have time to read the text at all before it disappears.
  5. 5. 6. Front-load paragraph contentBy front-loading paragraph content, screen magnifier users can access the main point of each paragraphimmediately. Front-loading means placing the conclusion first, followed by the what, why, when, whereand how. By placing the conclusion first, screen magnifier users can read the conclusion of theparagraph straightaway and then decide whether they are interested in reading the rest of theparagraph or not.If screen magnifier users arent interested in the content of a paragraph, they can move the magnifierdown the screen and when they see white space they know that the paragraph has ended and the nextparagraph begun.This rule about front-loading paragraph content actually benefits absolutely everyone. By putting theconclusion at the start of the paragraph, all users can instantly gain an understanding of the point of theparagraph and decide whether they want to keep reading it (or skip to the next paragraph).ConclusionAll-in-all, there are quite a few things that can be done to improve usability and accessibility for screenmagnifier users. The good news though is that all of them improve usability for absolutely everyone.Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Best designed websites : End of Part II
  6. 6. Web Accessibility: What You Should KnowOverviewThere is a lot of talk these days with regard to proper development practices and accessible web design.If you don’t think any of this applies to you or your website, you probably don’t understand exactly whatthis is all about. Web Accessibility refers to the practice of creating websites that will be useable forpeople of any ability or disability. Many things come into play when accounting for a person’s eye sight,mobility, auditory and logic skills.Too many web development companies overlook the importance of coding a website in meaningfulHTML. Utilities for blind users, such as text-to-speech software, make use of alternate text for imagesand properly named links. Another downside to overlooking proper HTML lies with the robots searchengines send out to read your website. These computers that browse the internet by themselves canlearn a lot more about your website, and get a lot deeper into your site when they aren’t confused bypoor coding practices.Many people have difficulty controlling a mouse with precision, and can become frustrated whileattempting to select a small link. Web designers need to allow for enlargeable text sizes and createlarger clickable areas whenever possible. Links should always be styled and colored different than bodytext so that even color blind users can quickly locate the links on any web page. Pages can even becoded in a fashion that allows them to be navigated without a mouse or keyboard should your audiencebe likely to require this.No website should ever rely solely on a video or audio component to convey information. Problems hereextend farther than those who are hard of hearing or have poor eyesight. You are relying on certainhardware and or software to be installed on the visitor’s computer. If a user has no speakers, or if theyare turned off, they could miss your important message or even be annoyed if they were listening tosomething else. Visitors are valuable and you should never do anything to encourage them to leaveyour site quickly.Aside from looking tacky, flashing effects are to be avoided to ensure those sensitive to seizures are notat risk. Content is both more effective and better understood by those with developmental and learningdisabilities when it is written in plain text.
  7. 7. The Web Accessibility InitiativeThe WAI started in 1999 by the World Wide Web Consortium and is viewed as the standard set ofguidelines for creating accessible websites. Although there has been some criticism of their guidelinesthey have been working since 2003 to release the second edition of accessibility standards which will bemuch more technology-neutral. This will leave more room for interpretation and adaptability.The guide goes into great depth on how to create accessible web content and includes a checkpointsummary by topic and priority. They discuss important issues and provide design solutions for a numberof scenarios that cause conflicts.The Future of AccessibilityWe are at a point now where there is no doubt accessibility is important, in fact it is already a legalrequirement in certain countries. Try searching Google for anything along the lines of ‘web accessibility’and you’ll see the vast amounts of information available. There’s still a lot of work to be done, butwe’ve come a long way over the last few years.With more and more websites being populated with user generated content, a simple set of guidelinesfor web designers is becoming less useful. It is impossible to monitor this content for accessibility as it isbeing created at such a rapid rate. We are also seeing new assistive technologies that support elementslike JavaScript, PDF’s and Flash which will create many new options for websites that remain fullyaccessible.Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Best designed websites : End of Part III

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