Wash behind your ears.

June 29, 2004

It’s important for just about any business to have a face on the Internet. The trick is presenting a clean one. Ultimately, the basic goal is to represent the organization in a concise and imformative way that will hopefully lead customers to the door.

In order to accomplish this, a few guidelines should be followed:

  1. Minimize scrolling
    It’s easy to get lost on a web page, let alone a site with multiple pages. Make the home page clean. Organize general topics at the top or on the left and allow users to drill down. Don’t try to say everything on one page. Start general and lead to the specifics.
  2. Use a light-colored background
    Cool websites are ones that are easy to read and navigate. A step toward a polished look includes using a white or light-colored background on which to present content. Pictures are nice, but wallpaper is busy and can be overwhelming to someone just looking for a few pieces of information.
  3. Stick with one font
    To promote a professional look, use only one font and vary the size. To emphasize text, use boldfacing without changing the font type. Smooth fonts like Arial, Helvetica and Verdana are easy on the eyes and scale pretty evenly at larger sizes.
  4. Provide contact information
    If your organization is found on the web, offer an e-mail address for communication — and don’t forget to check it! Customers who seek your website may very well prefer to use e-mail to initiate conversation. At the very least, a phone number will do. Make these pieces of information obvious on your page or site.
  5. Small pictures, then bigger ones
    If there’s inventory to reveal, start smaller and allow the user to click on the image for a larger version. The page will load faster and will be shorter. Both scenarios are very desirable.

Well, that’s a start. The home page can either inspire a customer or deter them. Take a look at your favorite sites and see how they organize things. And don’t forget that it’s never too late… to renovate!