5 Tenants of Great Web Design


Getting your webpage to not be hated by the greater internet community can be quite hard. The Internet Age has cultured a lot of mean birds, and these tenants will help you avoid getting your eyes pecked out and get your webpage some traffic.

Know Your Audience

Who would ever use your site? What does it even do? Think about these questions. The reason you want to consider who will be using your site is the same reason you want to consider who will be reading your resume: you want to maximize the effect. Where does this information come from? If you were designing a website dedicated to high-quality window-washing agencies, your audience would be people who are looking for good window-washers. These people would probably be small business owners, and small business owners are usually adults above the age 25. Boom: that would be your target audience. Designing for your audience can take your site a long way.

Make it Easy to Learn

Once you get people through the door, you don’t want to force them to navigate a maze. Put some time and effort into making your menus and pages as natural as possible. Shorten lists and subcategories. Make intuitive buttons in intuitive locations. By making a site easy to learn, it not only makes it hassle-free for first-time users, but it also makes your users more likely to come back instead of finding alternate routes to the same information. In short, it will boost return traffic, and for many website designers, this is exactly what you are trying to make happen.

Get to the Point

Despite its similarity to the above tenant, this point is worth pointing out. No user wants to spend all night going through menu after menu and reading everything to find that piece of information they wanted. Practice brevity and cutting out fluff. This is no different in writing, filmmaking, scriptwriting, and many other arts, so why should it be different for site design? Brevity, like intuitiveness, is part of what separates a good, easy-to-use site from a long-winded and labyrinthine one.

Be Sure it’s Useful

How awful would it be if you spent hours on a site, making it flow like one would expect and cutting out garbage, only to find that the information you provided was totally useless to everybody? It would make your site useless. No matter how great a site, there will be no traffic if there is no need to go on it. Some advice: consider again your audience. What are they looking for? What could they be looking for? Are you providing for them? Another route is to view your website as a service: it is there to do something for somebody. If it can deliver, its good; otherwise, revise.

Don’t Use Comic Sans

The reason you shouldn’t use comic sans is simple: it is unprofessional and hard to take seriously. This applies to an even broader theme: make your website professional. There are certain things that are incredibly taboo in the world of the ‘net, with Comic Sans MS being one of them, that you should never, ever, under any circumstances do, lest your website’s reputation be crushed and smashed into tatters by angry keyboard warriors… Unless you are trying to prove a point, of course.

Web Design Case Study: 4 Best Paintball Websites

Paintball, invented in recent years, has fast become one of the most popular in the United States. Actually, it is not that recent: It was first played in on June 27, 1981, in the small town of Henniker, in southern New Hampshire, and the first paintball gun was made even earlier, in 1970 by James Hale, of Daisy Manufacturing. Originally, his purpose was not to create a new game at all — he intended for his product to be used by farmers and ranchers to mark their livestock and their trees. A year after the first game was played, a person by the name of Caleb Strong opened the first paintball playing field in Rochester, New York.

Recently, I have been working on building a paintball website for a client and thought I would share some of my research. The rest of this article will introduce you to various paintball websites, describing them so that you can judge which is the best from a development standpoint. The subheading for the section on each site contains a link thereto.

P8ntballer Forums

This is Europe’s largest paintball forum. As with all sites of its kind, the forums are numerous and cover a range of topics related to the main subject. There is, for instance, a forum for platinum club members, though this has been marked as private; and others are divided into subcategories such as talking points, P8 talk, classified advertising and the techroom. I find the navigation to be quite lacking, but otherwise the site is pretty solid.

Paintball Training Institute

The Paintball Training Institute, with its headquarters in Bluff, Tennessee, offers the only class that covers every paintball impact option to the fullest degree — “How to Set Up a Modern Hi/Lo Impact Paintball Business.” This course is devoted, specifically, to explaining what causes impact pain and how you can market low-impact games in your area so as to minimize the risk of injury.

Training such as that provided here is in high demand because paintball is a game in which the risk of injury is great. For the same reason, various jurisdictions have enacted laws that regulate where paintball may be played, the design of the guns and where they can be used. It is a criminal offense almost everywhere to use a paintball gun outside of a regulated game or to point it at anyone without intending to shoot it.

Seven other classes in the same field are offered at the institute:

  1. Paintball High-Pressure Propellant Gas Systems Technician
  2. Basic Airsmith
  3. Paintball Safe Game Instructor
  4. Paintball Tournament Referee
  5. Paintball Recreational Game Referee
  6. Advanced Airsmith
  7. Master Airsmith

Each of these classes leads to certification in the particular subject being taught.

My biggest criticism would be the logo, which could use some work.

Stock Class Paintball

The last site discussed here is one of the most comprehensive paintball sites there are. In addition to its store, where you can buy guns, accessories and used equipment, Stock Class Paintball has pages on playing tips and an archive of articles on the game that date back to 2001. The latter page also includes fiction such as “Winning the Day” and “Synth War Reversed.”

I believe the design is not consistent and is outdated, which is a shame as the site could be much better with some small tweaks.

The Paintball Professor

A marker and gear review site, the Paintball Professor is minimalist in its design but offers comprehensive reviews and guides. The site is modern and obviously cared for. The logo definitely needs to be changed though and the overall branding worked on.