Looking Your Best

First impressions are lasting ones, or so the old saying implies. When visitors first see the design of your Web site, they decide what they think about it within the first few seconds of viewing your site. Often, a favorable impression is based entirely on the design elements you use. From classic to vintage or from plain Jane to modern, establishing that look sets the tone for your entire site.

Following basic design principles

When you're thinking about site design, consider these five major elements that contribute to a timeless look:

  • Structure: The foundation of your site's design is its structure, or layout. Determining the layout of your site requires that you make decisions about these elements:
    • Number of pages: Consider the depth of the site (the number of pages that are necessary).
    • Placement of the navigational toolbar: Referred to as a toolbar, navigation bar, or menu bar (it's the series of buttons or links that visitors use to visit different areas of your site), it's commonly placed along the left side of the site or along the top — or in both places. You can also use right-side menu navigation. A growing trend is to include both a primary navigation bar (for standard pages, such as About Us, Contact Us, and others) and a second, subnavigation bar below the primary one. The subnavigation bar shows the more detailed page structure. This technique is helpful if you have a particularly large site. Figure 2-1 shows an example of one of the ways to ...

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