Webpage Design for Amateur Businessmen

By: Anne Catherine

The Internet is used for a wide variety of applications in education, research, information exchange, business and entertainment. The Internet can be a positive factor for both individual productivity and organizational competitiveness. Internet use can have many unanticipated side effects such as lost productivity while customers have a dead end in commercial websites or retrieving useless information. This problem depends mostly on the webpage design of that particular website.

The immediate nature of a web based applications coupled with the pressure for continuous evolution forces a web designer to establish a webpage design that solves the immediate business problem. In order to perform a webpage design effectively, a web engineer should work to reuse four technical elements. They are the design principals and method, the design patterns and the use of templates. The architectural design for a business website focuses on the definition of the overall hypermedia structure of the web application and the application of the webpage design patterns and constructive templates to populate the structure and achieve reuse.

The overall architectural structure of the webpage design is tied to the goals established for a website, the content to be presented, the users who will visit and the navigation philosophy that has been established. Using webpage design patterns is the generic approach for solving some small problem that can be adapted to a much wider variety of specific problems. In this context of business applications and websites, webpage design patterns can be applied at the architectural level, the component level and at the navigational level.

However, special characteristics of the business websites require a number of additional considerations. The user interface design of a webpage is the most important part in a business website. It makes the 'first impression' to the user. Regardless of the value of its content, the sophistication of its processing capabilities and services, and the overall benefit of the web site itself, a poorly designed user interface will disappoint the potential user and may in fact cause the user to go elsewhere. Because of the sheer volume of competing websites in virtually every subject area, the user interface of a business website should 'grab' a potential user immediately.

There are many and applications are evolving everyday to create good ecommerce and business web pages and sites. However, to avoid this problem, there are some simple guidelines to redesign their user interface of the business websites. Server errors even minor ones are likely to cause a user to leave the website and look elsewhere for information, service and products. Reading speed on a computer monitor is approximately 25 percent slower than reading speed for hard copy. Therefore keep the descriptions of the products or services simple and short. Avoid 'under construction' signs for they may raise expectations and cause an unnecessary link that is sure to disappoint the user. Users prefer not to scroll; important information should be placed within the dimensions of a typical browser window. Navigational menus and headbars should be designed consistently and should be available on all pages that are available to the user. Aesthetics should never supersede functionality. Navigational options should be obvious even to the casual visitor. A well designed webpage improves the user's perception the product or content provided by the website. Therefore a should always be structured and ergonomically sound.

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