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Web Design Philosophy (Last Updated 8/23/23)

Web design is an art as well as a science and while most people on Earth use the internet at least to some degree only a small percentage of the population know how to do the coding required to build a website. For the art side of it it should be pleasing to the eye to look at and for the science side it should be designed to not just work but work really well. I do all of my web design work myself and while web design work is tedious, boring, and it’s easy to make mistakes –– as if even one character of code is off the whole code won’t work –– at the same time it’s rewarding too to create something new that you designed yourself and now is live on the internet for the whole world to learn from and enjoy making your own contribution to the mostly good and wondrous thing that is the internet.

How this website (and all of my websites) are designed is so they are easy to navigate, fast loading, with no clutter, but with one or more pictures at the top middle and a solid background color because it looks best and to signal “the website loaded right.” The solid background color is never black or gray (as the default color of text would disappear or be hard to see), never any shade of blue (as the default color of clickable links would disappear or be hard to see), and never any shade of purple (as the default color of clicked on links would disappear or be hard to see). All of the information is organized and easy to find with as little scrolling as possible, there’s no browser or device restrictions (like having to install an app for mobile), no unnecessary design changes (as a good design was planned out then implemented from the start and “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”), and there’s no need to create a log in and password or give your email address to view anything on the website and especially no need to enter a debit card or credit card. Any time you enter your debit card or credit card online for anything but buying a physical item there almost always is in the small print information about how there is a recurring charge unless canceled and they tend to make it deliberately hard to cancel and any time you enter your debit card or credit card there is the possibility that that website is not trustworthy or an employee of that website isn’t or that hackers will hack that website and steal that information to commit a fraud against you themselves or sell the information to others on the dark web so that they can go and commit a fraud against you. And while less of a potential problem if you give your email address doing so signs you up to be emailed by them typically often with typically unwanted and unneeded emails until the end of time and it is very common in the industry for them to then sell your email address to third parts where you get yet me typically often with typically unwanted and unneeded emails.

Web design (like DVD menu design) sometimes the designer thinks “it will be neat for the users because it’s so fancy” when really users of it are thinking “because it’s so fancy it’s a pain in the ass to navigate and therefore is not neat.”

With web design, imagine if a drunk person was visiting the website what would help them in their temporarily-reduced-capacity-to-make-sense-of-stuff to still be able to make sense of it, and it is possible a drunk person really might visit the website and drunk people are still people too.

I use gray lines to separate sections and larger font for the most important of the titles (like the title of the website itself and its slogan) to help visitors make sense of the website.

The default for links is have them in what I call “clickable link blue” unless clicked on then they change color to what I call “clicked on link purple” and while I know how to change both of those colors to a wide range of other colors that would make the website harder to make sense of as the vast majority of websites stick with the default colors.

Most websites have it so links to other pages (I call these “onsite links” as the term “internal links” is already in use for something a little different and onsite links is a more self explanatory term of what it means anyway) do not open a new window while most websites have it so links to other websites (I call these “offsite links”) do open a new window and for the websites I have built I went along with the preexisting way most websites do it because then not only is it more normal and therefore good but it also means no annoying new windows while using onsite links and for offsite links it means the website is not “lost” if they just want to, say, just glance and see how many followers the website has on Twitter, and it also sets a demarcation point between onsite links and offsite links where: “if a new window didn’t open you know you are still on the website while if a new window did open you know you just went to a different website.”

For my system for pictures in what in web design is known as “tables” (which for my web design always is with pictures) and with clickable link pictures not in tables it’s always an onsite link and if I use tables with offsite links (like I did for this website) the clickable link is the text name of the website below the picture instead of the picture. With my system for offsite links for tables this reinforces the website name more as that is what they had to click on and I very much want them to remember that as they need to remember that to come back to it later unlike an onsite link to just another page on the same website that they can just see that next time they visit. I never have in tables both the picture and text below the same clickable link as that is redundant and also looks like maybe they go to 2 different places when they don’t causing someone to have to “click around more to make sure they are seeing everything.”

For the tables with links to other websites I always make those pictures smaller than the other pictures elsewhere on that website because the main point of that individual website is that individual website, not other websites. And so that helps create the most significance to the visitor to that website that they are currently at and that is where the most significance should be.

Having a link to the homepage on the homepage (like some websites do) is redundant “as there is no need to go to the homepage when you are already there on the homepage” so I don’t do that for my websites. But there is a link to the homepage on every page but the homepage and if there was a page in between the homepage and the page someone is now on there’s a link back to that previous page as well so they don’t have to use the back button the their web browser and also because that is what people are used to seeing on other websites.

Links to all social media profiles for each website are on the homepage so it that also functions as a hub for all of those links.

The one or more pictures on the homepage always have the normally hidden alternate text filled out and filled out in a way that describes what the picture is and if it is a clickable link it says so and says where it goes to to help people who are visually impaired as well as those that due to an internet connectivity problem that they are having the website failing to fully load. Also, naming the picture codes using the alternate text also acts as a “note to self” for a web designer who is looking at the code if they want to modify codes or move codes around because you can never see pictures while looking at the codes but can read the alternate text text. The exception for filling out the alternate text is I never add it when the text for what the picture is is right below it as that already helps the visually impaired and those having the internet connectivity problem and the text below it already functions as a note to self and saves me time with the web design work to skip it.

Famous computer hacker Kevin Mitnick said part of why he did illegal computer hacking when he was younger was for the “intellectual challenge” and a common thing other illegal computer hackers say as to why they did it is “to see if they could” but those 2 reasons apply to web design only web design is legal and both are reasons I have for it and of course if I wasn’t making websites to be eventually seen by others, and writing this article, and writing a book on operating computers that part covers it then: those 2 reasons would not be enough for me to bother with it.

One of my reasons for even spending the time and money on having each website in the first place is to promote my web design philosophy to help make for an even better internet.

After I finished this article I asked the AI (Artificial Intelligence) chatbot ChatGPT: “How should a website be designed?” and this is what it said and while it’s not as good as some of the other stuff it said about other stuff I still feel it’s good enough to include it here:

“Designing a website involves various aspects, including its visual appearance, user experience, functionality, and accessibility. Here are some essential considerations and best practices for website design:

Define the website's goals: Understand the purpose of your website and define clear goals. Determine what actions you want visitors to take and align the design accordingly.

Identify the target audience: Understand your target audience's preferences, demographics, and behavior. This knowledge will help you create a design that resonates with them and meets their needs effectively.

Plan the website structure: Organize your content logically and create a clear navigational structure. Use intuitive menus, headings, and subheadings to make it easy for users to find information.

Use a responsive design: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it's crucial to create a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes. Ensure your website looks and functions well on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Maintain a visually appealing design: Use a visually pleasing color scheme that aligns with your brand and enhances readability. Employ appropriate typography, spacing, and imagery to create an aesthetically pleasing layout.

Prioritize user experience (UX): Focus on providing a positive user experience. Optimize page loading speed, ensure intuitive navigation, and minimize clutter. Make sure important information is easily accessible, and incorporate interactive elements where appropriate.

Ensure accessibility: Design your website to be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Adhere to web accessibility guidelines, such as providing alternative text for images, using proper heading structure, and offering keyboard navigation options.

Use consistent branding: Maintain a consistent brand identity throughout your website. Use your logo, colors, and typography consistently to reinforce your brand image.

Implement effective calls to action (CTAs): Clearly guide users towards desired actions using well-designed CTAs. Make them stand out, use action-oriented language, and place them strategically on the page.

Optimize for search engines: Employ search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website's visibility in search engine results. Use relevant keywords in your content, meta tags, and headings, and ensure your website has proper crawlability.

Test and iterate: Regularly test your website design and gather user feedback to identify areas for improvement. Analyze user behavior, conduct A/B testing, and make data-driven decisions to enhance your design and user experience.

Remember, website design is an ongoing process. It's important to stay updated with current design trends and technologies while continuously improving your website based on user feedback and changing requirements.”
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