Got this from this am, and since Nascar and I were just having a discussion about designing for different resolutions, thought this was pertinent. I'm in the process of fixing my navigation.



Start With Page Size

Based on visitor browser size, page size becomes the starting point, or the canvas, for your new design. But how do you know what browser height and width or monitor resolution your visitors will use to view your site if you haven't even created it yet?

Consider your target market's technological resources (Are they business persons equipped with the latest, largest equipment, or home users on smaller PC's), and Internet data: SuperStats Internet Average data shows that during the month of July 2001, 61% of Web surfers had monitors set at resolutions of 800x600 or higher. 75% of Web surfers at browser widths greater than 650 pixels, but only 30% had browser heights set greater than 450 pixels.

Now, look at your site using these smallest of these settings. How do you fare? What's being left out? Would you scroll for more information? What information is visible, and how compelling is it?

Next is Navigation

According to the information above, we have more horizontal, or width space to work with when designing. Thus, a reasonable argument can be made for horizontal top header navigation. While this is sure to be seen, you will limit yourself as to the number of links you can list horizontally, unless you begin to double your rows of horizontal links. If you have many links, it might be best to consider a vertical navigation scheme, where you can continue to add to your links as they grow. Just be sure to keep your most important or most current links closest to the top of any vertical navigation, where a user will be sure to see them.

Also, be sure your hyperlinks are visible and easy to read, and stand apart from the content text of your site. They should be in standard blue/purple link colors if possible. Make sure your graphic image links are clear and consistent as well, but don't be tempted to make them strobe or pulsate. It they're clear and consistently placed, your visitors will be more apt to use them.

An award-winning example of a simple use of both navigation styles is the Harvard University Web site, Notice the four clear links that run horizontally, then the use of vertical navigation for listing links that are enhanced by brief descriptions, and probably change over time.

Layout Consistency

The final must have for a professional Web site, is consistent, coherent layout from page to page. Just as any business document, presentation, advertisement, brochure, newsletter, or newspaper, all graphic images and elements, typefaces, headings, and footers should remain consistent throughout your web site.

A great example of a site with consistent layout from page to page, especially considering the amount of information and variety of services offered is Eddie Bauer, Notice the header, top navigation, fonts, colors and product listings always hold their places, from page to page.

Consistency isn't just a navigation element, or an element that adds professionalism. It will give your site the emotional appeal that it needs to be memorable, comforting, and credible to your visitors. This, in turn, gives them the reassurance they need to take action.



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