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Tips for Good Web Design

Designing a useful and professional webpage for your department isn't difficult. Anyone who uses the internet daily knows what characteristics they like in a website. Your favorite sites are typically easy to navigate and offer the information, products or services you desire in a quick and easy-to-find manner. This section has website design tips for creating professional websites and pages.

Here are the Top Tips for good web design:

1. Keep it simple.

This is the number one rule of any design, whether you work in digital or print media. There's no need for extra bells and whistles on a website. They don't attract more traffic and they don't help your bottom line. Don't include flashing animations, auto-loading sounds or scrolling text. All you need are crisp photos or images and simple text that are well balanced on each page, with relevant hyperlinks and a easy to find navigation to other pages on your website.

2. Don't bury the main point.

Put the most important information at the top of your pages and secondary information below that. That is, don't bury critical information deep in the text, or three or four clicks from the page. If it has to be that far from the top, it isn't important. Eliminate it.

3. Working with images.

Make sure your image file sizes are small so that they load seamlessly and your page appears instantly. Size images for the web using a good image editor.

4. No pop-up windows.

People don't like to have their web-viewing experience interrupted by pop-up windows, or to be taken away to another site. If you must open a new window from a link, let the user know where they are going, and how to get back to your page.

5. Color schemes.

Don't attempt to override the standard color on our website. These were chosen for a reason, to coincide with the SUNY and/or Upstate color scheme.  They are here for a reason, and should be followed. These colors should match and never overpower or obscure your text. The color of your body text should, in almost all cases, be black.  Avoid colored texts such as red, yellow, purple and others. However, the color of hyperlinks text should be different to designate that it is a link.

6. Fonts.

Choose a font that's simple and easy on the eyes. The Upstate web pages have a font built into the style sheet and should not be changed.  We use Verdana as the overall font throughout our site.

7. Pages.

Limit your page length to just one page scroll. Blogs and articles can be longer, but no one likes to scroll down a page too far to find the information they want.

8. Homepage links.

Include a home link on every page. Our global navigation (at the very top of every page) contains a link back to the homepage, as well as links that have been identified as the most visited pages on our site.

9. Contact links.

Put a contact link on every page. It can be frustrating to search for contact information and not find it. We require a contact for every page of our website, and it can be found at the very bottom, in the Footer of each page.

10. Don't use icon links.

That is, every link should either be a text link, or include text, including the buttons at the top of a page. It's okay to have a rectangular button, or other button shapes, but they should have a descriptive word below them, such as "contact," "home," "blackboard" and so forth.