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Old 03-19-2012, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default Suggestions for Designing a Visually Appealing Website

I am W3 certified and can develop sites from scratch; however, I am not really good at knowing what is attractive. You might think that is crazy, but allow me to explain

Being that I am blind, I am not really sure what really looks visually appealing as far as websites are concerned. I do, however, have an understanding of color concepts and what things look like, as I saw when I was a child. Unfortunately, that was before the days of personal use of computers and the Internet as we know it today, as I was born before people used computers in their homes. Since this is the case, I am asking for your help. Please answer the following questions:

What type and size of font will be acceptable on a business website? When I construct documents, I normally write in Arial or Times New Roman, and the size is usually twelve point. Can the same apply to websites?

What color should the font be? I know that, in documents, font color is traditionally black.

What color background should I use?

What kind of layout do you recommend? Should I use columns, as many developers do, or can I just lay it out like a traditional page?

What kind of pictures are appropriate to use for a background image? Or, do I need any at all? I was thinking of just having pictures of me and other various products along with a company logo where aplicable. I was not really planning to use any background images.

I had a site up before, but that is since useless because I tore it up and am going to rebuild. Not to mention, I have been getting clients from ODesk, Scriptlance, Guru, and Elance, and I've not needed to use my site much at all in those instances because I just rely on the freelance sites. But now, I want to resurrect my site and broaden out, offering services all over the web and targeting a wider audience. I have the development part down, as well as the compelling sales copy, but I need some tips on how to make the site attractive to the eye, so customers will stay and want to do business.

Thank you in advance for any tips you can offer. I really appreciate it.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Suggestions for Designing a Visually Appealing Website

Try spending a day just looking at websites made from people, such as yourself, and company websites and base your website on what you think looks attractive. Have fun with it.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Suggestions for Designing a Visually Appealing Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waldorf PC View Post
What type and size of font will be acceptable on a business website? When I construct documents, I normally write in Arial or Times New Roman, and the size is usually twelve point. Can the same apply to websites?
This is very subjective, so consider this as my personal preference only.

I tend to consider font types as serif, sans-serif, and monospace. I reserve monospace for poems and codes. So for general websites, I mostly only need to consider serif and sans-serif. Serif font types have little tails around the parametres of the types (e.g., Times New Roman), whereas sans-serif font types do not (e.g., Arial).

Back in school I was taught that the title should always be sans-serif and the content serif. But the thing to remember is that on screen there are factors such as glare (making it hard and/or tiring to read for extensive period of time, depending on monitor characteristics and/or quality) and resolution. So on screen, for large bulk of text, it is generally good to use sans-serif. Of course, this is quickly changing, with the monitors improving, etc.

Size 12 is small. If possible, always opt for sizes in relation (e.g., 120%) and not absolute.

Quote:
What color should the font be? I know that, in documents, font color is traditionally black.

What color background should I use?
These questions are more difficult to answer (but very important). Let me think on this for a bit...

Any chance to see your old website as starting point?

Are you able to access heavily flash-based site? Adobe has a very good site specifically dealing with this sort of question.

Quote:
What kind of layout do you recommend? Should I use columns, as many developers do, or can I just lay it out like a traditional page?
I prefer sites without column because they tend to show up better on mobile phones.

Using columns also means that there is a lot going on. Which means the designer must be very careful not to make things too crowded.

Quote:
What kind of pictures are appropriate to use for a background image? Or, do I need any at all? I was thinking of just having pictures of me and other various products along with a company logo where aplicable. I was not really planning to use any background images.
I don't think it's a good idea to use background images.

Quote:
I had a site up before, but that is since useless because I tore it up and am going to rebuild. Not to mention, I have been getting clients from ODesk, Scriptlance, Guru, and Elance, and I've not needed to use my site much at all in those instances because I just rely on the freelance sites. But now, I want to resurrect my site and broaden out, offering services all over the web and targeting a wider audience. I have the development part down, as well as the compelling sales copy, but I need some tips on how to make the site attractive to the eye, so customers will stay and want to do business.
Great idea. And good luck.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Suggestions for Designing a Visually Appealing Website

In theory, that will be a good idea, except it will not help me in this instance because I cannot see. I am completely blind. And yes, blind people can develop a functional site. For those who have questions about how blind people can develop a site, feel free to ask, and I will do my very best to answer your questions.

Checking out other sites will not enable me to take note of which colors and fonts are being used. But what it will do for me is that it allows me to take note of the content that is there, the services these companies are offering, and any specialized features that have been integrated into the development of the website to interact with site visitors. I can also get ideas concerning what promotions to run by seeing what these other companies are offering their prospects.

Since I have posted this thread and did not get a response on it for a significant amount of time, I drew the conclusion that people were uninterested and just went about my merry way researching. It took me awhile to find what I was looking for, but I think I found something after digging through a number of lousily written articles supposedly providing website design tips, but were only badly written, keyword stuffed content there for the purpose of providing backlinks to a site. Well, after seeing that poorly written content, I am not too inclined to visit their sites because if they cannot take the time to make sure the content that is representing them on the web is well written, then I cannot believe that they will take the time to do too much better when it comes to doing business with clientele.

In doing research, I have learned that the three most readable fonts on the web are Verdana, Courier, and Arial. When specifying size, I have learned that it is best practice to set it at 100% using CSS because these parameters will allow for the font to adjust itself based on the device that is being used or allow the utmost accessibility for those who are blind or visually impaired. For a professional look, I have learned that the standard white background with black or blue letters is the way to go. I have also read that professional sites stay away from using background images because it makes the site appear garish and amateur. A banner with a logo and slogan are preferred.

What are you all's opinions? Do you all have any additional advice you can offer. I will give out rep points to those who give it. Thank you much.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Suggestions for Designing a Visually Appealing Website

Waldorf, I have slightly different opinion on the note of Verdana, Courier, and Arial.

My fallback font type for sans-serif is:
Code:
font: 100% "verdana", sans-serif;
For serif, it is:
Code:
font: 100% "georgia", serif;
For monospace, it is:
Code:
font: 100% "courier new", monospace;
I use these types because they tend to show up okay on different platforms (e.g., Windows, Mac, and Unix systems).

Arial and Courier should also be okay, but they are less cross-platform-friendly than the aforementioned font types, between different browsers and systems.
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