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Web Design Smart Tips:
  • Never Delete a Webpage

  • Links That Don't Look Like Links

  • Shrink Image Sizes

  • Design for the Smallest Screen Size

  • Aid Those who Can't See Images

  • Don't Ignore White Space

  • Always Interlace your GIF(c) Images
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Need help developing websites? Looking for HTML tips and tricks? You've come to the right place. We have many great web development tips revolving around HTML, design, and more!

Web Smart Tips

Never Delete a Webpage
by Envision Programming

What's that you say? What if I have content that has changed so drastically that it needs to be placed in another page? What if I laid out my paths incorrectly and want to change them? Should I not delete the old files?

Yes, and no. You should always update content, even if it means moving text from one page to another. But never, NEVER completely remove a webpage URL. When a web spider (sent from places like AltaVista <http://www.altavsita.com> and others) indexes your site, it will keep all of the webpages on your site in its database. If you delete a webpage on your server, that's fine and good, but InfoSeek still references your page.

It looks VERY BAD for people to hit 404 not found errors on your site, and you should do everything in your power to keep this from happening. Therefore, instead of completely deleting a file or subdirectory, replace the .HTM files you were going to delete with a referrer page. Tell them the page they were trying to access has been moved to a new site, and give them the new link page. Better yet, use <META> tags and redirect people to the new pages.

Links That Don't Look Like Links

If you hate having links underlined in your web page, here is a tip that works under later versions of MSIE and Netscape 4.0+.

Instead of adding a link the normal way, you can code a link as follows.

<A HREF="page.html" STYLE="TEXT-DECORATION: NONE">A non-underlined link</A>

The link will perform like a link, but it will not look like one!

Shrink Image Sizes

Many people on the web are still using 14.4 modems. Even more just have 28.8, which still is barely adequate for most pages on the web. Try to design your graphics with these users in mind. Shrink GIF images by using 4,5, or 6-bit images. Recompress your JPG images several times with several compression settings and see just what you can get away with as far as image quality versus size. A little work goes a long way in creating a page for all to enjoy and revisit.

Design for the Smallest Screen Size

It is very easy when designing websites to design for the best systems available - you know, 17 inch + monitors with at least 1024X768 resolution with true-color. My advice is to strongly avoid designing just for such systems. Surprisingly to those who have the money to buy the latest and greatest technology, most people do not have 17 inch monitors - most have 13 or 14 inch. Even more amazingly to some, those who use big-screen monitors do not necessarily have their resolution set to 1024X768. Some use 800X600, and a few still use 640X480. Take out the pixels used by the browser's window border, a vertical scrollbar, and possibly a taskbar on the right side of the screen (such as that of Microsoft Office (c), and you have maybe 550 or so pixels visible on some peoples' screens.

According to latest web usage surveys, a large majority of users now have their screens set to at least 800x600. So it may be safe to design for these resolutions. However, you should still avoid 1024x768.

You need to plan for this limited horizontal resolution when designing websites, else people with small resolutions will see a horizontal scrollbar. If the case studies are correct and most (or many) web users do not use the vertical scrollbar, imagine how few people use the horizontal scrollbar! The amount is just about nil percentage-wise. Even those who understand what the horizontal scrollbar means may find such websites very unprofessional.

Yes, designing for such a small resolution is challenging, but it is worth the trouble. If you can't design specifically for such users, at least make sure to test your websites with 640X480 resolution. If you are using Win95 with QuickRes(c) or WinNT 4.0, you should be able to change your resolution on the fly to simulate what most people see when browsing the web.

Aid Those who Can't See Images

One of the easiest ways to make your page viewable by more people is the addition of the ALT tag when it comes to graphics. The ALT tag allows those without graphic-ready web browsers (or those who have graphics turned off in their web browser) to see text where the graphic would be instead of nothing at all. Simply add ALT="your text here" inside the <IMG> tag, or check your HTML-editing software for more information about adding descriptions to images. It just takes a couple of seconds to add an ALT tag to your images, but it can mean so much for your web visitors.

For those who do not or cannot using ALT tags: Especially if your images are for navigation, you may want to place text-only navigations links throughout your site. This way, text-only users will still be able to move around your pages.

Don't Ignore White Space

When designing web pages, you may feel that since there is so much information on your website, you just must cram it all together on one page. DON'T DO IT! (there, I just ignored my rule on not shouting).

White space, if used properly, can be very pleasing to the eye. Look at your favorite newspaper or magazine and check the layout - most popular ones place space between text and pictures, not trying to cram everything together in the least space possible. Follow the advice graphic designers have had for years - put a little space between the elements on your page. If you cannot do this without making your webpage huge, then it is time to start redesigning the layout of your website - see if you can separate your webpages into categories and just list the main categories on the front page.

Always Interlace your GIF(c) Images

What does it mean to interlace GIF images? When a web browser displays an interlaced GIF image, especially a large image, the graphic will display progressively using a curtain-style effect. This not only looks nice for your viewers, but makes the page seem to load quicker.