What do I think makes a successful Website?

Being a web designer is like being an artist in a digital universe. The web pages you create are your art and since millions of people go on the internet, your art reaches more people than ever. People are constantly being exposed to creative ideas and the art of web design via the World Wide Web.  The artistic layout displayed in the design of a website is going to play a large role in how often a site is used.  There is a difference between designing a poster and a designing a website.  All design has certain rules such as Gestalt (hierarchy of text), size contrast and activating edges.  These rules however are not set in stone and may be broken.  Web design is flexible and can use these artistic rules as well, but most, if not all, websites have one factor that sets them apart from standard design: interactivity.

Interactivity involves the actions or input of a user.  This must be taken into consideration when artistically designing a web page layout. A user has to click on whichever link is of interest to the user and whichever page comes up next is a direct result of the user’s orders.  So a designer needs to create a page that is attractive enough to the user to create a desire to interface with it. A website with interaction is like a store using attractive offers and displays.  The store next to it, which is selling the same items but doesn’t have these artistic displays, may receive less business.

Websites have changed drastically from the early 1990’s until now. Websites used to be less visually appealing.  They used to have plain centered pictures and text. Most websites had a mundane feel to them mainly due to the technology used at the time for development.  Today, we have many different programs that we use to create a web-page with a sophisticated feel.  This sophistication can eventually lead to showcase a company or business and often companies consider their websites as online business cards.  While attempting to create better websites that are appealing to people, as a web designer myself, I have noticed how certain websites are being showcased for certain types of companies or groups.  Sometimes there is a pristine clear, white, simple page for a corporate business, or a colorful animated picture heavy page for non-profits or kids.  When someone is browsing through a magazine and they see a page that stands out, that person will usually view that page for about 1-3 seconds before they turn to the next one.  With a web-page, according to Canadian Researchers, it can take only 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second) to judge a webpage.  Within the blink of an eye, someone browsing the web can judge a site’s “visual appeal.”  There are a few more dynamics that come into play, such as asking oneself: Is it text heavy?  Is the content relevant to what I am searching for?  Most people do not want to spend a long time searching though a page to find what they are looking for.  A successful website should be user friendly and get the information to the user as quickly as possible.   Many people look for sleek menu bars and simple, yet interesting content space.  When designing a website, these are the concepts I use to create my layouts.

When I was younger, I started a video-game clan with a bunch of my friends and thought that it would be fun to create a website for our group.  I wanted to have a website of my own that I owned and maintained for my clan, because I was curious how web designing worked. I taught myself how to create something on the web and found it to be an amazing and relatively simple way to creatively connect with others and bring people from all over the world together who have similar interests and views.  It connected me virtually with people that I had never met before and we were able to share new experiences and ideas, despite living in areas far from one another.  To get these new online acquaintances to choose my site over others, I had to make the best and informed choices in artistic layout. When it comes to building an effective website, design is everything.

-Blake Hixson, Web Designer, BionicSisters.com  http://www.hixsonhawaii3d.com

A Non Profit Organization

This website created by Blake Hixson, hixsonhawaii3d.com

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