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Website Design Guide

Creating Effective Websites: Design


In creating a website, you plan what you are going to do. Once you've done the planning you then determine whether you do the work yourself or you find an agency/company to do the website for you. You present your plans to a web designer and they create their quotes to do the work from there. If you are going to create it yourself then the next step is to flesh out the design for your website.

There are a couple of components to design for websites. You have the graphic design which is the color schemes, aesthetics and pictorial aspects of the website. And then you have the functionality design which is derived from the site and page maps. Lets review what you need to do for success here.

Detailed Page Maps
Take the page maps that you created from the planning process and flesh them out in greater detail. Listed below are some items that you would want to consider when creating the detailed page maps. Once the Detailed Page Maps have been completed you can begin coding the pages and refining the graphic design. Give the Detailed Page Maps to your graphic designer and website developer. This gives them detailed instructions as to what they should do for the website page by page. The benefits of doing this process are

  • clearly identify how you want to layout your website
  • work faster
  • reduce mistakes and changes to your website

Information to Consider When Creating Detailed Page Maps

Color Scheme

You will want a consistent color scheme to use through out the website pages. For example, you may want all the areas that have text to have a white background or a background of faded clouds. Identify exactly the colors you want and where you want them on the Detailed Page Map.

Header and Footer

The header represents the region at the top of the webpage. You will often find a company logo here with associated graphics and sometimes a navigation bar/menu.

The footer represents the region at the bottom of the webpage. This normally contains copyright information and sometimes a small representation of the navigation bar.

For the purposes of website maintenance it is a good idea to have the header and footer consistent for all your webpages while allowing graphics to change from page to page if required.


These are the pictures and animations that are used within your website. It's a good idea to use no more than 1 animation per page as they can create an overly busy page. This is especially true if you have rolling text on the same page. Identify all the graphics and animations you want and where you want them on the Detailed Page Map.

Scripts and Navigation Bar/Menu

Identify where you want to place your navigation bar/menu. Do you want it at the top or on the side? Do you want to repeat it at the bottom of the page in the footer? Make sure you have a logical reason for the placement of your navigation bar and that it is always visible to the user when they are visiting your website.

Floating/following mice are controlled by scripts. Determine if you want something like that. Do you want to use rolling text? This is often represented by a section in the webpage that is used to advertize a special product or encourage the user to register with your website. Again, identify exactly what type of scripts you want to use and where you want them on the Detailed Page Map.


Identify all the links that you will use in the webpage. Links can be internal to the website - such as another webpage - or external to your website - like another website. Always make sure that these links are relevant to the mission statement for your company and the content of the webpage.

Tables and Text/Content

It's a good idea to put your content within tables on a webpage. When writing your content make sure that it fits the theme of the webpage and the mission statement. Be concise yet eloquent. Don't waste your time by putting in information that is not relevant to that page - that will destract people from returning to your website. Research your topic and write knowingly. Don't put hearsay and don't steal content from other websites.


Consider whether you want to place any type of advertisements on your webpage. Will the advertisements be for your products and services or for other companies? Identify whether that fits within your mission statement. Then figure out where they will gain maximum exposure given the goals for that webpage.