Friday, August 12, 2011

10 things to consider when building a new website

We often get asked to provide best-practice advice to clients about their websites and I felt it was best to put this information in the public domain.

  1. Before you start – Take time to understand the purpose of your site and who your users are

  2. Build on good foundations – Get the site map and user journey right and the structure and navigation will become apparent

  3. Content Is King - What is the message and is it conveyed correctly? Without engaging content people will leave and not return

  4. Present the content in a coherent way – Web pages are often structured to be a familiar UI to the user, allowing them to instinctively know how to use and navigate to the content they want to find. Presentation and navigation needs to be clear engaging and guiding in a way that represents brand values correctly online.

  5. A site is for life - Content is key to engagement but be sure there are people and processes in-place to keep it up to date

  6. Compatibility – There is a growing number of browsers and devices in the market today, so check your site has cross-platform compatibility from desktop to mobile.

  7. Don't Exclude – Ensure every visitor can use the site. Accessibility is increasingly more important with new legislation being written and passed all the time.

  8. Standards should be followed. Wherever possible:
    a. Use text and not images (able to be read by screen readers). This also helps with SEO as search engines can search all the text on the page.
    b. Use web-safe fonts (or approved webfont rendering techniques)
    c. Make navigation and links accessed via the keyboard
    d. Make images and headings are appropriate to the content and use correct alternative text.
    e. Test, test and test again.

  9. Less is more – A simple interface can say a thousand words, by minimising visual clutter a message and key points can be strengthened. Good use of whitespace to ensure the areas of the page are clearly set out and uncluttered.

  10. Engagement – The web is becoming a more social arena having the ability to contribute, share and interact with the site will help to develop a community and a reason for return visits.
    Note: Special thanks to Ben Kilby for initially putting this list together

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