Four Important Characteristics Of A User-Friendly Website

Whether you want to design a website for a business or personal project, understanding HTML and CSS is key to achieving a professional looking collection of web pages that are easy for end-users to navigate. This should always be the ultimate purpose of making a web page - to appeal to the people who will be using it. Think of what you look for when you are browsing a website. You enjoy browsing web pages that don't require anything to complicated. Some people when building a website tend to neglect the importance of all round usability. But this is the actual primary goal of any web page. If your website is not designed with the needs of the end-user in mind, it is doomed to fail from the outset. Most people build web pages because they want to sell something or provide unique information to a broad audience. The best base for achieving either of these goals is a functional design where users can easily find the information or the product that they are looking for.

Some features of a web page with bad design that will hamper its ability to achieve the purpose it was set up for. As an example, think of the colour combination of text and background. Some people try to be different, employing various wacky colour combinations that distract the user and make them want to click away from the page. Examples of this include red writing on a green background. This type of thing is done by amateur web designers because they think their page will stand out. The problem is that misguided colour combos make your website stand out, but in a bad way. It looks unprofessional and frustrates the people who visit your page. Font size is another example of this issue. Older people in particular can find it difficult to read text that is too small or cluttered. Knowing how to choose the correct font and what size to choose are all basic things that make a significant difference to users' impressions of your web design.

The way you can control how your website looks it through HTML and CSS. Both of these are the two computer languages that make up how a web page looks. There are important differences between them, so before embarking on a journey to build a trendy and professional website with a top class user interface it is vital to understand the role of each language.

HTML, or HyperText Markup Language to give it its formal name, is like the skeleton or backbone of a website. It gives structure to the content and information that you want your users to see. It does this through defining your content as headings, paragraphs etc through its specific syntax.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is what you use to refine the appearance of content. A website designed only through HTML will have a bland appearance that does not appeal to users. CSS enables artistic elements to be added to your website that makes it stand out among competitors or as a unique page through its own syntax.

To think of the difference in the simplest possible way - HTML represents the content and information you want your users to read. CSS is used to alter the appearance of that content.

With the differences between CSS and HTML in mind, it is important before embarking on any web design project that you understand some key characteristics of a good website that is easy to use. Remember to always keep in mind the principle of simplicity. Here are four of the most important features of an easy to use web page:

* 1. Good Content Formatting. This is where the relevance of HTML comes to the fore. When designing a web page, you need to be conscious of how users tend to scan web pages instead of looking through every word. Most people seek out the information they are looking for with a quick glance through the page. Formatting the important information with bullet points, sub-headings and appropriate segmentation of paragraphs is vital. All this is possible through HTML. By wrapping the appropriate tags around content using the appropriate HTML syntax, you can ensure your content is formatted in a way that the user can find what they want without hassle. For example to put something in bold in HTML you just wrap the content in the bold tag like this. < b >*content you want in bold*< /b > As you advance your knowledge further, you will note that bold writing can also be achieved through CSS with the < strong > tag.

* 2. Appropriate Contrast. We touched on this before, but it remains the most fundamental starting point for making your content legible and professional looking. This is a cornerstone of web design and you should ensure that the contrast is appropriate. White background and black writing never seems to fail. You will use both HTML and CSS to ensure this looks good.

* 3. A well-built form. This is another cornerstone of a successful website. Forms are used to capture important information such as usernames or e-mails. Whether this is to login to your website or simply to add a user to your mailing list, building a good form is an essential part of web design. There is a lot that can be written about how to build a form, but this section is about understanding the importance of them. Forms will require knowledge of both CSS and HTML. First to build the backbone of the form with HTML using the < form > tag and then to style the form with CSS. Forms provide a means for interaction between the website and the end user.

* 4. Customized 404 Error page. When designing a website and running it, it is inevitable that there will sometimes be errors. When something goes wrong on a website users are always confronted with a 404 error page. A lot of websites neglect the design of this page but it is pivotal. A customized 404 page allows you to convince users to stay on the website and recognize that this is only a temporary problem. It is a solid idea to design the error page with the same CSS colour schemes as the website it is related to.

This article is the cornerstone of what web design is about, giving general background info to important languages such as HTML and CSS. For more detailed posts, feel free to browse further.