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Month 4 Week 1

Site Planning

Things To Keep In Mind

While every website is (hopefully) different, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind while going through the design process.

bulletMake it clear.
Many sites are confusing because the home page is too cluttered or laid out in a funny way. Our current club top page is a good example of an unclear page. All text and people get bored. All graphics and people get lost. A good page is laid out so visitors can find what they are looking for in the first 30 seconds.
bulletMake it easy.
Make things logical and self evident. You may think cute nicknames for links makes sense, but unless you are appealing to a very small audience (like yourself or just those in your home), you need to make everything logical. You want to create excitement, but not at the risk of getting people lost.
bulletMake it fast.
If you use lots of graphics, make sure you have something for people to read while the page loads. Break up information on multiple pages (like I do with these lessons), to give visitor's brains a rest.
bulletMake it interesting.
You are going to want to create a mood from the moment people come to your top page. Make a deal with yourself now that, whatever the mood is, it will not be boring.
bulletDesign for return visits.
You want people to keep coming back to your site, bookmarking it, telling others about it - so plan for them to do so. Even if you can only devote 15 minutes a month to your site, that is enough to add in some news and maybe a few digital photos. And make sure you tell visitors how often you plan to update your site, so they will know how often to return.
bulletTest it. Test it. Test it.
I am going to begin repeating that at you like a mantra. And I mean it. I do three checks of all pages before posting that the week's lesson is live - one in Front Page, one in my browser before it is uploaded and one once it is uploaded. I look at every new and changed page to make sure it all is correct. Visitors have little patience for sites that don't work or have broken links, so plan for testing time with every change or addition.

That is it for this week. See what's up for next week.

2003, Gnosis 4-H Club
The 4-H name and 4-H logo are service marks protected under 18 U.S.C. 707.

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