Checklist for a Successful Web Site Design
Designing a Web site can be a time
consuming and often complicated task. Even if you have a general idea
or a vision for your site, there are many details that will need your
attention before the project is completed. How in the world do you
keep up with it all?
We suggest that you start a journal
that will contain your thoughts, notes, and ideas for your Web site
design. You can use a standard manila file folder and loose-leaf
paper or you may want to create a folder on your computer and use a
text editor such as Microsoft Word for your pages. Label your folder
"My Web Site". You will need six pages. Label each page as
1. Purpose and Goals
2. Target Audience
3. What I Like
4. What I Don't Like
5. Site Map
6. Other Thoughts/Ideas
Or feel free to visit
to download the worksheets we use. (This is also the page we use when
customers hire us. Please look beyond the information and deposit
sections. The worksheet you need is starts with the question "What is
the purpose of your site?")
1. Purpose and
What is the purpose of your Web
site? What do you hope to achieve with it? What are your goals? Is
your purpose to attract a larger audience through search engines? Or
to provide information to your current customer base? Jot down your
thoughts on your "Purpose and Goals" worksheet. This will help keep
you focused on working towards and achieving the goals you set for
your Web site.
Take some time to think about who
your target audience is. What is their age group? Their gender? Most
importantly, what sort of a Web design interface is going to appeal
What do you plan to say to them? Do
you have a good idea of how to communicate with your target customer
through your Web site copy? Consider what their problems are and how
you plan to offers solutions to those problems through your product
or service. Write down your thoughts on your "Target Audience"
3. What You Like
Spend time browsing the Web. Take
note of the Web sites that appeal to you. What is it you like about
them? The layout? The colors? The navigation? The fonts?
Think about how you would like your Web site layout to look.
Write down the URL's of several Web sites that have a layout
similar to what you would like to have on your Web site. Add notes
on what you like about the layout to your "What I Like"
What kind of navigation links would you like for your site?
Buttons? Tabs? Text links? Drop down menu? A combination? Again,
take note of the URL's of several Web sites that have navigation
links that you like.
Carefully choose your colors. We can't emphasize enough how
important the colors are. Keep your target audience in mind - what
would appeal to them? Remember that colors represent emotions and
- Elegant, business-like colors
include dark colors such as navy blue and burgundy.
- Fresh, healthy colors include
bright colors such as pale yellows, blues and greens.
- Loud, high-impact colors
include vibrant colors such as red and bright shades of yellow,
blue, orange and purple and black.
- When you see a Web site that
has a color or color scheme that you would like for your site be
sure to write down the URL on your worksheet! We recommend
choosing one color that will be your primary color throughout the
site and one or two complimentary colors.
- If you choose a background
color other than white for your Web site, make sure you choose a
text color that is easily read on that background color.
- We recommend using an
easy-to-read font for the majority of your text, but fancy fonts
can be used for headings and subheadings. Take note of several Web
sites that use fonts that you like.
4. What You Don't
It is also important that you take
notes on Web sites you don't like. What don't you like about them?
Are they visually overwhelming? Difficult to read? Write down the
URLs of several Web sites that you do not like with a short
explanation as to why you don't like them on your "What I Don't Like"
5. Site Map
Decide on how many pages you would
like to start out with. More pages can be added in the future as your
- Home Page - This is the
first page of your Web site and it is mandatory. It's also known
as the index page. It should clearly state what your Web site is
about. It sometimes includes a mission statement and contains
links to your "inner" pages. This page is your most valuable page,
as it is the front door to your Web site and will be the first
impression that your visitors will have of you.
- Inner Pages - here is a
listing of some of the most popular inner pages. You can customize
this list by adding to it or subtracting from it to meet your
- About Us Page - This is
a page about you and/or your company. It may include your
credentials or your resume. You may also what to include your
- Resources Page - This
page contains a listing of links and resources that are relevant
to your Web site and may be of interest to your visitors. This is
a good place to list Web sites that you have affiliate programs
- Services/Rates Page -
This page contains a listing of your services or products and can
also list your rates and prices.
- Contact Us Page - This
is a page that contains information on how to contact you. Often
times it contains a form for your visitors to fill out. It may
also contain your address, phone number, fax number and email
- Testimonials - This page
may contain letters of recommendation or testimonials that your
clients have written for you.
- This page provides a clear definition of how you intend to
use information collected on your site.
- Site Map - This is a
page devoted to site navigation and contains a detailed map of
your Web site.
- Other - Write down any
thoughts you have for additional pages.
Take note of any other thoughts and
ideas that you have for your Web site. Do you want your navigation
buttons to change when the mouse rolls over them? Do you want a
copyright statement at the bottom of your pages (recommended)? Do you
want a Flash movie added to your Web site? Message board? Polls? Any
other special features? Add these to your "Other Thoughts/Ideas"
Once you have filled up your
journal with your thoughts and ideas, it is time to hand it over to
your designer along with the copy (text) for your pages.
Your designer will be most
impressed with the information and clear insight you're able to
provide. You'll also save a lot of time by clearing up questions
regarding your design before they ever crop up. Just like creating a
plan for your business strategy or marketing efforts, creating a plan
for the creation and design of your site is highly
About the teacher:
Viki Nygaard is
President of Mount Evans Designs specializing in professional Web
design. For those businesses who insist on quality but must maintain
a budget, visit http://www.mountevansdesigns.com
today. You'll be thrilled with the exceptional designs and the