Getting Web Page Headings and Titles Correct

Often overlooked is the hierarchical structure and labelling of information on a web page. The two most important of these are page titles and page headings. Research has shown that the usability of a website is significantly effected by getting these two concepts correct.

Page headings
Most website users spend most of their time scanning web pages rather than reading the information on the web page. With this in mind it is important that the web designer makes sure that headings are well-designed to facilitate the user being able to both scan and read the written material.

The web designer should constantly strive to use distinguishing and descriptive headings and also to use as many headings as necessary to facilitate the web site user finding what they are looking for. A rule of thumb for this is that it is usually better to use more rather than fewer heading.
The web designer or the web developer should also create the headings in hierarchical order and because of this it is broadly speaking best not to skip heading levels.

Designers should also make that the site headings, e.g. the html h1, h2, h3, provide strong cues that will provide orientation to the web site users and also categorise the information that is contained on the page. This will provide the end user the ability to scan quickly and locate the information that they are seeking. If the user has to stop scanning and start reading the text on the page there is a strong likelihood that they will move away from the page if the limited text they have read is not relevant to them. It should also be noted that older internet users tend to scan less than younger internet users which can cause a conflict in design requirements. However hopefully the web designer will take into account the demographics of the end user of the website.

Page Titles
Page titles differ from headings in that whilst a web page may (and should) have several headings providing for the demarcation of content, there will only be one page title. Research at various universities has established that descriptive page titles are a fundamental requirement of any website. Whilst many people do not pay attention to the page title they have actually landed on (it appears at the very top of browser in the title bar), they certainly do when they are scanning through a search engines results page, as it is the text of the page title that normally appears as a link. It is this text that also appears as the text when someone bookmarks a page. It is therefore a necessity that the web design company who is preparing the web page provides a page title that is not only meaningful, but also descriptive, unique and concise. By providing clear and concise page titles the web developer will be orientating users as they browse a list a page or even scanning a list of pages in their browser bookmarks or browsing history.

Normally is it common practice that the title of the page is the same as the top level heading of the page. The significant advantage of this is that consistency is preserved so that the user avoids being confused.

Unfortunately many people address the issues relating to page titles and page headings from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) point of view, when in reality they should be a fundamental part of the design of any page for a users benefit (which is probably why search engines pay so much attention to them!)
If you think about the content of your page and the users requirements you will be a long way along the road to designing a great website!

Choosing a Web Package – A Guideline

One of the very first questions you need to ask yourself is: Why do I need a web site? Several answers might pop up; to boost my sales, to make myself known, to have a reference for my clients, to start a new business,…the list can go on and on…but how do you determine what’s right for you and your business?

The way to evaluate possible contenders for the job is to ask the right questions. Here are some questions you cannot afford not to ask.

In reference to the company that provides web services, you should ask…

1. Are they offering just web development, or, just web hosting, or do they have a vast range of services linked to the web industry?…i.e. do they offer the whole spectrum of services linked with web sites?

2. How do their prices compare to other companies who are providing the same services?

3. How flexible are they to my requirements…a) do they offer extra pages? b) do they offer additional hosting? c) is support part of the price I’m paying?

4. Do they offer dynamic sites? Normally this would give an indication of how experienced their programmers are in developing sites.

5. Are there any references to ‘search engine optimization’ on their site? If not, most probably they are not going to write my site in a way that major search engines can find it and rank it highly.

6. Do they offer search engine optimization? This is very important if I need to rank high and make the task for prospective customers to find me an easy one.

These are questions you should ask and if in doubt don’t hesitate to contact the company before investing your money in them. Most importantly they need to have fast and reliable support, although this can only be verified when it’s too late, i.e. you have already paid for it.

Other decisions you need to take is how your web site should look like. Do you require a static site with a lot of content, or minimum content with impressive graphics, sounds and animations? This would obviously depend on the nature of your business and the way you need to promote your image. The company you choose need to have enough experience to help you make this decision based on your business’ perspectives.

Whatever the case, as in nearly all things in life, a moment of reflection and some research are fundamental in order to make the right decision.

Web Designs Presentation – Does It Matter?

When you sit down to develop a web site there is much to consider. For instance how do you envision your business? How can your vision translate into design? Does that design signify window dressing or is there a greater purpose for the design?

If a homeowner is trying to sell their house they will often reduce the amount of material in their home and neutralize the color so potential buyers can come to terms with what the house could be rather than what you have made it to be. On the other hand if you are at a trade fair and you want to catch the attention of those passing by you will likely utilize loud colors and intriguing designs.

What is the common denominator between these two approaches? The both work to hit the audience they are marketing to. Different approaches with a similar desire.

If you are a restaurant trying to appeal to parents with young children you market the toy with every meal and you make everything about your business colorful. If you are marketing to adults you supply meal choices with color, variety, tastes and adventure with an ample amount of comfort thrown in for good taste.

Once more the common denominator is knowing the audience you are marketing to and meeting their needs.

Let’s say for example you are selling hand crafted and upscale handbags. Would your website be colorful and busy or stripped down and refined? If you sold party supplies would your site be muted in tone and discreet or would it scream excitement?

These are questions that must be addressed in relation to the growing need for individuals to come to terms with how they develop their site.

You can go online to find a coffee shop franchise. One site will feature bold colors and an exciting online presentation where another site is more sedate and invites you to come by and relax with a cup of coffee.

Web development has to coincide with the image you want to project for your company. That’s true whether your company is only found online or if you feature a web presence for a group of brick and mortar locations.

Your image can be enhanced or minimized through the use of photos, colors and even font type.

It is my recommendation that you use web builder technology to construct your site. I’d like to explain why. Yes it is less expensive and it is also true that you can manage changes much more efficiently. However, in reference to this article I must bring up another point altogether.

One of the elements I most enjoy about using web builder technology is that you can easily mix and match templates to get a feel for what might best work for your site.

If you’ve ever been to one of those home improvement websites with a room design feature than you know how much fun it can be to move furniture, change flooring, wall coverings and other design elements in order to best coordinate the vision you might have for your room or home. This is the beauty of web builder technology.

Use the software to tap into a site design that best fits your personality and vision for your site. Your ultimate design will say a lot about you. What exactly will it be saying?