Good Design standards

Now that we know what “bad design” looks like, what elements do good websites exhibit? Although pretty colors and lovely pictures are great eye-catchers, usability and utility are very crucial to using your website to its fullest capacity. After all, what is more frustrating than to click on a link and get an error message stating the link is broken. Or worse, the homepage is such a myriad of colors and such a mess that you cannot even find the basic links that are most important.

Next, realize that most readers don’t really read, they merely scan for the most important facets. Using anchors as “footholds” assists the reader… er skimmer, in descending down the page of your design. People are impulsive and click-happy. They are in a hurry in an instant gratification world, which doesn’t include leisurely perusing the stacks anymore.

Keep it simple. Don’t press a reader’s patience with gimmicky (albeit cool) animations or messy design. Clean, functional and easy to navigate. By hiding links in unusual places, you may be innovative, but to the user, you just wasted more of their time and are more likely to get impatient. Keep in mind that moving components and video catch the viewer’s eye and can be quite distracting. Keep the design clean, the page with lots of white space for the eye to rest and simple, concise wording.

What you have here is real estate. keep the most “valuable” pieces on the homepage, but give just a line or two and a nice graphic and let the viewer click to read more. Grids are invaluable for their organizational properties. Save cutesies and ramblings for another page. Homepages are who, what, when, where and why. Provide info or links for these facts and make it easy to navigate.

This post is a listing of the best websites of 2011.

Some of the best websites I’ve seen are below. I love the graphic, illustrative quality of the artwork and honestly, I think computer illustration is more modern and clean that a photo image. <— Raleigh-based web design firm


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