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There are a million and one things to think about when designing a website. From aesthetics such as which font to use, colours, images and layout to technical concerns such as the structure, menu system, meta tags, file names, page load times right through to the site content, the copywriting and the site’s hosting and maintenance. Get it right at the web design stage and you are off to a flyer. Get it wrong and you may be condemning yourself to a whole load of grief and missed opportunities.

Planning is the key. Base your planning on an informed knowledge of what to look out for and what to avoid. When it comes to aesthetics here are just a few of the web design issues that deserve close attention:

KISS – You’ve doubtless come across the Keep It Simple Stupid maxim. Never has it been more appropriate than when it comes to website design.

Please – do not try to dazzle your visitor with the wonders of modern technology manifested in the form of animated GIFs, blinking text, scrolling text or auto loading sound. Flash? Take great care. All these most irritating bells and whistles do is get between your message and your visitor. They are a distraction. Entertaining as they may be for a couple of seconds, the novelty (and that’s all it is) soon wears extremely thin. It’s not cool, it’s dumb. Clean, lean and classy, quick to load and easy on the eye is the name of the game. Respect your visitors’ intelligence and also their eyesight.

Popups? Error. Avoid like the plague. Image backgrounds? You know… like on your mobile phone or some social networking sites? Don’t do it. Really, there’s no justification for old school web design. Less really does mean so much more when it comes to web design.

Some more obvious points? Don’t make your pages too wide (people find it easier to read in narrower columns). Use contrasting colours, and make the text large enough to read and if necessary increase the line spacing. Simple stuff but you really don’t have to go too far to find plenty of website fails.

The best advice as ever is talk to a web design agency with a decent reputation. Let their experience be your guiding light.

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