Hi everyone! So it’s been taking me ages to formulate my thoughts after Alt Summit. I took loads of notes…half a notebook full…and today I thought I’d try to share a few of the great tips and tricks I learned regarding site design dos and don’ts. For the sake of timeliness I’ll be sharing them in bullet pointed fashion. I’m afraid I would never make this post happen if I didn’t simplify and start somewhere. Please let me know if you have questions in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer them for you to the best of my ability. I’ve made bold the tips that resonated most with me.
Site Design Dos & Don’ts:
- Determine the purpose of your site and have a message to convey.
- Your design decisions should always support that message.
- A quick glance at your site design should make your purpose/message clear.
- Keep the big picture in mind.
- Include a line of descriptive text under your header i.e. a tagline.
- Be thoughtful about your site layout. The design should lead readers around the page.
- Your site navigation is vital and should be easy to find.
- Take time to determine the hierarchy of your content and then categorize and tag to make it as easy to navigate as possible.
- Whenever possible condense content into fewer categories.
- Fonts play a very important roll in the design of your site so use them wisely.
- Choose only a few typefaces and stick with them.
- Use fonts to help aid navigation.
- Be sure to use a font that gives the right meaning for your site (i.e. preppy, artistic, vintage, etc.), the wrong font can easily confuse readers about the nature of your site.
- Consistency with design and content is vital. Decide what the goal of your blog is, and always use that to guide your design decisions.
- Too many messages (content, contrasting visuals, fonts, etc.) results in noise.
- More messages will dilute the main focus. More is not always more, so be selective.
- The internet has changed the rules. Online, first impressions happen multiple times. Make sure you are making the right impression every time.
- Begin by always including a personal photograph of yourself along with a bio on the front page of your blog.
- Show your readers the person behind the blog…it builds trust.
- Make the profile image you use consistent across all online social media outlets.
- You are your brand!
- Brand consistency builds a trusted reputation.
- When choosing colors for your site, select between 3-5 colors.
- Keep the look consistent throughout your site.
- Think of your blog like a polished outfit. What does your look say about you? Do you need to change or remove anything to make the look represent you better?
- If you’re stuck on color inspiration, you can find inspiring palettes on sites like Kuler or ColorLovers to get you started.
- Don’t be afraid of “white space.” It gives eyes a place to rest.
- White space isn’t necessarily white…it just means you’ve left appropriate space between elements to allow them to “breathe.”
Next Alt post I’ll be covering what I learned in the Advertising / Ad Networks panel. xo Ez
P.S. They’ve removed the schedule information from the Alt Summit website, so unfortunately I can’t remember exactly who presented on this panel. There were four talented ladies: two of them were Christine Castro of Darling Studio, and Arianne of Aeolidia. I apologize that I can’t recall the names of the other two. Update: The last two speakers were Alyssa of We Like We Love (thanks Liz) and Laurie of Upside Up (thanks Alyssa).