So, you know your client, his preferences and the emotion you want a client to feel upon seeing your web design. You also know how colour and shape works to create an emotional reaction in your target audience. You've picked out the navigation system that best suits your website architecture.
It's time for the step many web designers trip over.
Know thy typography
In most cases typography is the most finicky and delicate element of your web design and the element most poor designers pay the least attention to. Remember these observations:
1.) People donâ€™t actually read text on the web. They scan it. They read headers to quickly locate information, sub-headers to quickly locate specifics within headings and then scan small paragraphs for what they need. Large paragraphs are ignored unless a client is clearly desperate for the information. Take this into consideration in your web design.
2.) Donâ€™t stretch type horizontally across a page. Use columns.
3.) People like areas of type to be broken up by small images â€“ something different to break the monotony of type. A layout with a head shot, an area of text matching in height the head shot followed by a small snazzy area of graphical follow-up links on the right works very well. Build small sections separated by horizontal lines or a gratuitous interface element. Repeat the pattern. The human brain loves patterns.
4.) Small touches have an effect WAY beyond what one would think. Iâ€™ve seen interface elements where a designer took the trouble to insert a 4 pixel panel in the corner of a text button or a small arrow next to links. Some of these elements you could barely see but they made the interface look more polished.
5.) Develop a distinct typographical style that trademarks your website. Have all your header text look the same. Your sub-level headers should also look identical. Use different colours and different sizes to distinguish levels of headers but don't get wild in your use of colour unless you are building a kiddie website or something that needs to push the envelope and create a feeling of frenzy.
6.) If there is a particular font that works well for your headers but isnâ€™t available on most computers, donâ€™t hesitate to use graphics instead of text elements. Yes, you take a hit from search engines but the alt tag for the image does give you the opportunity to recover some of that lost ground.
7.) Donâ€™t have a lot of elements compete together for attention in your web design. Have one clear message and then a bunch of supporting elements. You should use large text only in one area. Donâ€™t use varying sizes of text depending on how important an ad is. Create one ad and then support it with the rest of your page. Yes, you can include more than one ad in a page but donâ€™t have them compete for attention. A smaller ad with a similar colour theme will complement your main message, not compete with it. If you are designing an online store and have a plethora of ads and products then still create one featured ad and fit the rest into a pattern of spaces equal in value to each other - a product image next to a few lines of descriptive text followed by a "more info" link for example.
8.) Copywriting - A catchy marketing phrase is worth a thousand pictures in the world of marketing. Backed by snappy, concise copywriting, your marketing message has impact. Donâ€™t write anything without a purpose and strategy behind it. Remember, everything you write is part of your web design and has one goal: to move your visitor in the direction you want him to go â€“ buy a product, join your community, take advantage of your service.
9.) Copy Editing - Nothing puts a customer off more than insignificant typos. If you canâ€™t get your own work right, what can you do for them? Hire a professional.