If you have never been to “A List Apart” it’s worth a gander. It's more like a magazine than a blog with different website experts giving advice on a whole range of related topics like design and content to code and even web culture.
One of the latest entries of particular interest is on using CSS positioning. It gives a complete overview of the process, breaking it down into smaller, more understandable chunks. But then, that’s always been ALA’s style…
If there is one thing about web design that is consistent, it’s that it is always changing. We’ve seen quite a few trend shifts over the last decade or so. It used to be things like the introduction of CSS that really influenced change. Now, it’s user experience (UX) and a “back to basics” approach that is taking the main stage.
In fact, if you take a look at design going on over the last year or so – and design predictions – there is a definite undercurrent towards minimalist websites.
Check out this latest prediction, for example. http://blog.websitetemplates.bz/website_templates_news/web-design-trends-2010-2011-in-bright-examples.html
In this list, there are definite examples of “busy” website designs, especially in the retro and hand-drawn sections. But the rest points to a simpler, easier-to-use website. Things like bigger logos, more use of fonts as a design element, and especially the use of white space all underline this minimalist approach.
We think this is certainly a trend that is going to continue through 2011. The goal of many websites is to get the visitor to do something – sign up for a newsletter, contact the company, or buy a product. As we’ve all learned from designing landing pages, the easiest way to do that is to get rid of the clutter and focus the reader on one or two main points.
Is minimalism here to stay as a “design principle” or is this a passing fad?
Like all areas of design, fashions come and go. We’ve been in the game too long to say that minimalism is falling into the realm of “must haves” in design. Besides, there are many instances – magazine-style websites, for example – where minimalism just wouldn’t work.
However, we do believe that the days of “filling the website page” are gone in every instance. Minimalism serves a specific purpose for many web designers, namely keeping website visitors focused, so it will likely be part of every designer’s repertoire for certain websites.
In any case, we do believe the minimalist trend will continue to grow as a purely fashionable design style through 2011.
For more examples, go to:
For all of you into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – and that should be *all* of you – the classic problem is how to identify the right keywords. If you’re like most DIY’ers, a system you can build yourself is always your best bet.
Well, you’re in luck! Here’s a little script that you can run on your website (or your local Windows server) that will help you use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
If you sell a lot of different products, you know how difficult it is to organize everything in one convenient online location. They need to be organized in such a way that your website users can still find you – and there might be too much to fit into a standard nav bar.
This is where a “Mega-Menu” can come in handy.
As the name suggests, a Mega-Menu is a big collection of links to your pages, displaying as one full-screen (or at least large) list of links as opposed to many dropdowns. In fact, it is probably closer in comparison to a site map than an actual menu bar.
However, just because you have more room doesn’t mean you should just throw every link there haphazardly. You should still take care to organize your links well so that the website visitors can still quickly find what they are looking for.
For example, if you are selling menswear, use a bold title for SHIRTS and then underneath list T-Shirts, Dress Shirts, etc. PANTS, Jeans, Dress Pants, etc. etc. The idea here is to ensure that you do not overwhelm the visitor, but organize the menu in such as way that people can find what they are looking for “at a glance” as much as possible.
Mega-Menus will probably help your SEO as well; like a site map, it is an easy way for Google to find and index your pages.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words: Vanderlay Design has a list of some great Mega-Menu samples to peruse. Don’t forget too, if you are creating a new online store, check out DMXReady Catalog Manager to make backend work even easier.
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