[thelist] Web Design Question

Carol Stein techwatcher at accesswriters.com
Thu Mar 27 06:24:03 CST 2003

Hi --

Rob.Smith asked
> I've got a quick design question. There are basically two graphic themes for
> a site: product related and non-product related. Say for example, you sell
> minidisks in bulk. What non-product related graphic themes would you chose?
> product related?

A Web site is a document like most other documents, so issues of
credibility come into play. That's why you always want to make sure the
site is "grounded" with a real-world address, and you MAY want to put a
picture of your factory, your president/CEO or another person, etc., on the
site. These are not directly product-related, but help to establish that
you are a real company and not an illusion.

Other non-product graphics might include icons for navigation (I know
everyone uses text "tabs" now, but that look is getting very boring). The
company's logo, if it has one, should appear on every Web page, too.
Generally, if the company has a "look" to its print brochures, a
letterhead, etc., the Web site should be consistent with those colors,
fonts, etc., as far as is practical.

As for product-related graphic themes, I would suggest if there is any
installation for the buyer to perform, you definitely want to show clear
pictures of that. If there are important differences in the product (if
some minidiscs have Mac and some PC interfaces, for example), put a picture
of (i.e., Mac or PC) in relevant columns or column headers as you list
features in a table, etc.

Don't forget that, since the site is a document, all your pages should be
laid out neatly on a (probably invisible) grid system, which is another
aspect of graphic design, and one that is often overlooked. Even more
overlooked is the use of white (or blank) space! This is especially good to
use if you are controlling the width of text on your site, as you should.
You might have a picture on the left and text on the right, with blank
space below the picture as far as the related text flows. Double columns of
text meant to be read one after the other are very annoying, since you have
to scroll up again to get to the top of the second column, so a 2-col
layout of picture (followed by white space) and text, alternating with text
(right)/picture (left) at each major subheading, is a good way to go, IMO.

Cheers --

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