What constitutes a good website design? Does it showcase your design prowess? Does it prove what a brilliant graphic designer you are? Does your web design fetch you designing awards? Or does your website design exist to establish a platform for you and your visitors to interact with each other unhindered by usability glitches? I think the last point is the most important factor that establishes the basic difference between a successful and an unsuccessful website.
Although the perception of good website design changes from person to person, there are some established conventions that you can follow and these conventions can make sure that your website reaches out to all possible people. When you are designing your website, especially these days, you have to be constantly conscious of the fact that there are numerous browsers and numerous devices that people may use to access your website. No longer do people browse the Internet just through their PCs and laptops; there are many handheld devices that can directly connect to the Internet and enable people to browse your website; people can even browse your website using their mobile phones. And gone are the days when people used just the Internet Explorer as their primary Internet browser.
Your website design also depends on what you are planning to showcase through your website: will you include videos, images just text or maybe a mixture of all three? You have to design your website accordingly. If it is merely text that you plan to publish then try to make it as less graphical as possible as people coming to your website will be interested in your text and not your images and videos. Similarly a website showcasing your Flash animation expertise will expect lots of Flash work so you needn’t worry about making your website textually accessible.
So when you are designing your website you have to take all these parameters into consideration. But does it mean that you’re always accommodating browsers and devises and do not focus on your own business, whatever that is? No, I’m not suggesting that. Just take care of the following website design guidelines and you will make sure that 95% people (well, there will always be those odd 5% who can never browse the web easily no matter what they try) surfing the Internet can access your website:
2) Don’t use colors that cause strain to the eyes. If you want people to come to your website again and again and consume your content or do business with you then you must make their stay over your website as pleasant as possible. No matter how awesome your design looks if the color combinations are strain-full, after a while they will tire of your website and stop coming. Always take care that your background behind the text is far lighter than the text, and vice versa.
4) Design your website using CSS because then you can make your content and your navigation bar appear in a linear fashion. Since all the layout-related placements take place through CSS definitions no matter how your text appears texturally, graphically it will appear as a pleasant layout. The CSS designing techniques also enable you to dabble with intricate layouts without making your website inaccessible. CSS designing will always help you arrange your main content before the navigation link despite making it visually appear beneath the navigation bar or to the right of it.
Follow these basic web design principles and you will have a good website design to boast of. Never forget that the main purpose of your site design should be to create a good user experience for your visitors, the design is not there to indulge your design whims and fancies, so do not get caught up in the temptation to over complicate things unnecessarily.