Whether you choose Rareheron or not, here are some tips to help you organize your thoughts before you talk with your Web site designer.
Find other Web sites in and outside of your industry and make some notes:
- write down the URLs ... http://www.agreatsite.com/ of sites you like a lot; even those you don't like — noting why you like them or not
- what do you think works well about particular sites? what doesn't work so well?
- what layouts & colors appeal to you?
- how does the site handle navigation?
- what kind of "energy" does the site have? quiet? business-like? whimsical? feminine or masculine? high-tech? sedate? noisy? interactive?
- what level of experience do they have with the Web?
- are they younger or older? what impact will that have on the design? for example, older audiences may appreciate higher contrast between background and text; younger audiences might be looking for more interactivity and excitement.
- do certain colors have significance for your audience?
- what information will your visitors be looking for?
- will you collect any information from visitors? how will they feel about that?
- will you collect any information from visitors? name, address, etc.?
- will you be processing credit card information?
- do any pages on your site need to be secure or encrypted?
- write a 25-word description about your site... not a sales pitch, just a description.
- if you were searching for your site what words would you use in a search engine?
- what are the top seven or eight keywords or phrases that describe content on your site? if your site has major sections, what are the top words or phrases per section?
- what would you say on your home page if you knew the search engine would index only the first paragraph?
- site navigation, text and image layout, and good forms design are essential to the usability of your site.
- cascading style sheets make your site easier to maintain and reduce file size and server load.
- site navigation on every page helps you get to main sections of your site from anywhere else on your site.
- modern tools allow us to use drop-down menus to save space and give a clean look to your site.
An accessible Web site is more available to all users, no matter what "user agent" they are using (e.g., desktop browser, voice browser, mobile phone, automobile-based personal computer, etc.)
How to make an accessible Web site:
(don't worry if you don't know what these tips mean... we do)
- Images & animations. Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual.
- Image maps. Use the client-side map and text for hotspots.
- Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video.
- Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here."
- Page organization. Use headings, lists, and consistent structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible.
- Graphs & charts. Summarize or use the longdesc attribute.
- Scripts, applets, & plug-ins. Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
- Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful titles.
- Tables. Make line-by-line reading sensible. Summarize.