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About Jamie Kiley

Does your site have the essential ingredients that make customers buy? Jamie Kiley can help you find out exactly how your site needs to be improved. Sign up for a site review today at http://www.kianta.com.

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Know Thy Audience

A few weeks ago, I got an interesting letter in the mail. It was a cordial invitation to join the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). I’m sure a lot of people get such invitations, but there were two things in particular about this letter that caught my eye.

Reader Response – Great Home Pages Really Suck

DevWebPro reader and frequent contributor Jamie Kiley responds to Cameron Moll’s article “Great Homepages Really ‘Suck’ “(http://www.devwebpro.com/devwebpro-39-20030627GreatHomepagesReallySuck.html).

Organizing a Dual-Language Site

Question: I am an avid reader of Website Notes newsletter. We have a very heavily visited website of Pakistan’s national daily. The design of the web site is very lifeless and disorganized (please have a look at http://www.jang.com.pk). The problem is that this page is gateway to two newspapers websites one out of them is in English while the other in Urdu (local) language.

Could you give your suggestions (some URLs or your own comments) on how can we make this home page more attractive, user-friendly, comprehensive yet compact; and meaningful. We also need to have latest news update ticker in both languages (it’s a demand) and a lot of stuff that’s available on the website but is not presented on the home page.

- Asif Lateef

Focus And Consistency

Question: Could you take a look at my web site, PellaCAD, and make your two strongest suggestions (more if you have time)I’d sure appreciate your professional opinion!

- Pete Naschke

Give Your Site A Definition!

On your own website, it’s obvious to you what your company does and what your site is all about. However, the odds are high that your visitors won’t automatically know that information the first time they come to your site.

Design Details: Important Or Not?

When it comes to web development, there is a fine line between worrying too much about details and not worrying about them enough.

Should Hyperlinks Always Be Blue?

Question: I am the webmaster for West Salem High School, additionally I run my own web design company (thus my subscription to DevWebPro). I read your article on the importance of underlining links and keeping them blue.

I will start of by admitting that I am one of those people who sometimes takes design and puts it in front of purpose. I try to check myself on that and ensure that visitors to my sites have navigation that doesn’t change throughout the website, but I do not stick with blue, underlined links.

Drop-Down Menus: They Aren’t User-Friendly

On many sites, drop-down menus aren’t a significant part of the design. However, they appear often enough that they deserve some attention. So exactly how should they be used?

Conscious Consistency: The Principle Of Repetition

If you take a look at the marketing materials of most Fortune 500 companies, you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common: within each one, all of the company’s marketing materials are similar in their appearance.

3 Tips On Using Contrast

If you have a website, it needs to grab attention. You have to catch a visitor’s interest and make him or her want to delve into your site. Otherwise, the site won’t do you much good, no matter how much traffic you’re getting.

3 Reasons Not To Use Uppercase

Sometimes it’s ok to use uppercase. Capital letters can add a touch of class to the apperance of your page. However, they should be used very sparingly. There are three reasons why you should avoid them in most cases:

Jamie Kiley Answers Site Design Questions

Have a web design question? Need some advice on how to make your site’s design more effective? Jamie covers questions on how to design a professional website that will motivate your visitors to take action.

The Power of Lines

The difference between a sloppy layout with a homemade appearance and a neat, professional layout is often found in one principle: alignment. Solid alignment can transform the appearance of a design from unfocused clutter to stunning order. Your use of alignment can make the difference between whether your information gets noticed or not.

Keep Your Navigation Simple!

Navigation must be simple. Since it’s the backbone of your site, it’s imperative that visitors be able to understand it. Here are two tips on how to make simplicity a reality in your site:

Proximity: How to Effectively Organize Your Pages

Designing a website without intentional and effective white (or blank) space is like throwing your dinner into the blender and then drinking it through a straw. Pretty unappetizing.

Simplify Your Navigation

Since navigation is the backbone of your site, it’s imperative that visitors be able to understand it. Here are two tips on how to make simplicity a reality in your site:

1. Your link titles need to be understandable.

Visitors need to know exactly what link to click on for the info they need. Unfortunately, visitors frequently get confused and don’t understand what a link means. Consequently, they aren’t sure what info they’ll find at the other end of the link.

More Laws of Effective Navigation: Navigation Must Stand Out

You’ll need to have a clear section of the page designated for navigation–one that a visitor will immediately recognize as the navigation area when he arrives at the site. Navigation should not necessarily be the prime focus, but it must be highly visible.

On many sites, the main navigation is overly subdued. It sort of “lurks” on the page, but it’s not the kind of thing that really gets to a visitor’s consciousness. It gets drowned out because there is too much color or excitement in the rest of the page.

IS A PICTURE REALLY WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS?

The great debate: how much copy you should have on your site, particularly on the home page?

Do you subscribe to the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words–and therefore images, not a lot of text, should be the main thrust of your home page? Or do words have more power to capture a visitor’s attention and compel them to buy–meaning you should aim for powerful copy?

IMMUTABLE LAWS OF EFFECTIVE NAVIGATION

The first immutable law of effective navigation: It’s gotta be readily available.

Visitors should not have to hunt for your navigation or wonder where to find it. If you’ve done your job right, it will be right there when they are ready for it.

The struggle in creating good navigation is to figure out what type of navigation the visitor is going to need, when he is going to need it, and where the most effective placement will be.

WHY CHOOSING FORM OVER FUNCTION KILLS YOUR SITE

Never put form over function. Why? Because it’s crucial that visitors actually be able to USE your site. Everything you do must be designed to be as easy for the visitor to understand as possible. Everything should be functional first.

If you put form before function, you sacrifice your visitor’s best interest for your own preferences. By definition, putting form over function means you sacrifice function–you make it harder to perform whatever task is supposed to be performed. You give up ease of use or simplicity in order to make it look nicer. Basically, you wind up with a lot of icing and no cake.

Leave Those Links Blue!

Don’t mess with those links! When you’re designing your site, you should leave your text links in their natural state–blue and underlined.