Web Design Goodies #15a

By Joe Burns

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Suggestion: (Alert: I may be going overboard here.) Can the text itself say "bowling"? Can each section start with a title that looks like the section of the scorecard where you write your name? Each team probably has a color that represents them. Can you write a title in that color? I wouldnt write the entire text in a different color; that seldom goes over well. Can each paragraph end with a bowling ball instead of a period? What about the background? Can it be a color that the readers would recognize as their color? Think it through. Color affects people and can act as a symbol. Use it to your advantage.

Concern #3: Just as I feel you should have an image that screams the sites killer app (bowling), I also believe you shouldnt use images that negate the sites killer app. You have this navigation bar down the left hand side:

Click for larger image

It looks to me like the image at the top of the bar is meant to look like a window. It has depth. I can look into it. But the window has bars on it. That, to me, means jail. Even if I am missing what the image is supposed to be, I know sure as leaves are green that it doesnt scream "bowling".

Suggestion: If you want to go with that left-hand navigation where many smaller images make up a whole, find something tall, thin, and bowling related that fits in the same space. How about a pin? Get an image of a pin, write text across for the links, and turn it into an image map. You don't have any rollovers on the navigation, so theres no need to break it up like your current navigation bar. By using a bowling-related image, youll reinforce again that the page deals with bowling.

Concern #4: What is important, stays on the page. If I can scroll and lose an element, then it loses importance. I cant see it anymore. I usually rail against long pages, but Im not so against the format youve chosen here. This is more a newsletter than a Web page, and the length wont be so bothersome. However, when the scrolling occurs, the navigation scrolls away.

Suggestion: I am by no means a fan of frames, but for this page they may just work. Put the left-hand navigation into a frame of its own so it stays put while the content on the right scrolls.

Again, I really rally against using frames unless there is a good reason. This, I think, is a good reason. There are no incorrect design elements, as long as the element serves a good purpose on the page.

Concern #5: Dont be afraid of white space. White space is a part of the page that doesnt have any text on it. On your current page, you have a great deal of white space under what you now use as your navigation. However, you have made a point of filling much of the white space with awards, a CGI-based poll, and other image elements. Take a look:

Click for larger image

Suggestion: Are any of those images needed? Not really. They look nice, but what did the reader come here for? The text. The content. Below those images you have left a lot of white space, probably because you simply ran out of images. It looks like this:

Click for larger image

It looks fine to me. I dont miss the images at all. Neither will your readers.

Overall: Content is king! All hail content! But keep in mind that content must have support. Look at your pages. Have you surrounded what you posted with images, colors, and other space-filling elements that assist the content, or do they take away from it?

Everything on your page will mean something to your reader. Make it your mission to have everything support the killer app youve chosen to pursue.


That's that.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Always Remember: When it comes to designing your Web site, the most important person is not you, but your user.

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