One aspect of the web design process that has remained problematic for me, moreso than finding useful web widgets or figuring out difficult coding, has been creativity. Making a successful website does not simply require technical know-how or a good eye; it has to be clever, original, and memorable. There are millions and millions of websites in existence. If your site has nothing to distinguish it from millions of others, it will be completely lost in the shuffle. Because I had no need for a personal web portfolio and had no groups or events to promote, I had to come up with an idea for a web site for my CS103 project that was completely original. Here are some things that I realized I needed to consider in creating a memorable site that people would want to visit over and over.
1. Think About YOUR Web Experience
What kind of sites do you frequently visit? How do those sites service your needs as a web surfer? How could these sites be improved upon – what’s missing? Considering these questions will help you make a site that is not only personally interesting and fulfilling, but will also help other web users who may be having the same feelings as you. Websites have to have a purpose to attract visitors; determining a legitimate goal for your site is the first step to making it a success.
2. Do your research!
So you’ve come up with an incredible idea for this brand new humor site. You’re going to take funny pictures of cats and write captions on them in chatspeak. Great, sounds hilarious. But http://icanhascheezburger.com/ already exists for that same purpose! While it can be advantageous to consider trends and internet fads when creating a site, it’s important to have a site that adds something new to the web. If users can get the information they’re searching for elsewhere already, there’s no reason for them to visit a site that reiterates the content of a previously existing possible site. Make sure you so adequate research to make sure the site you’re creating is actually an original!
3. Create a Memorable Design
Design is one of the most important aspects in attracting repeat visitors to a site. If a website is disorganized, unappealing, or unoriginal, chances are a user won’t return. One thing we have frequently discussed in CS103 is the importance of using white space and guiding the eye around the page. But it is also important that design reflects the page’s content. If the site’s subject is not particularly unique, it’s important to have a particularly unique layout. Memorable images or an unconventional layout might help distinguish your sites from others that are similar, offering something new and interesting to attract the viewer. Or, if the content of your site is more revolutionary, it’s important that the layout doesn’t distract the viewer from the creativity of the site’s new content or technology. Even template designs can be tweaked to work creatively with the site’s message.
4. Creative Use of Tech Elements
Technology such as Flash allows for almost unlimited creativity in web design. Music, animation, pop-outs, roll-overs, and more can all be used to create a memorable experience for a web user. Use this technology to your advantage! A clever idea can go a long way, even if it’s simple. Humor sites, travel guides, fashion blogs, and the like are all a dime-a-dozen on the internet. But creative use of new features can help the site go from everyday to interesting.