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Media Orientated Web Site Design Web design consultancy

Web sites come in many forms. They serve many functions. We concentrate upon simple sites which cater for the interests of users who are primarily concerned with providing information.

In other words, we specialise in sites where text is king. They need to be fast loading because people visiting such sites will be interested primarily in one thing - the information. They do not want fancy gizmos or any artifact which slows downloading.

They want easy navigation. They want basic up-to-date information, written in HTML language, which can be cut and pasted into their own documents, or their PDAs or their phones.

Some organisations have commissioned web sites written totally in Flash. They look great, sometimes stunning, but can take some time to download. However their biggest drawback is that the information which reaches your screen as an image - and this includes the text. That is why on such sites you cannot cut and paste information into a document, such as a contact list. So we avoid Flash and any other artifact which gets in the way of the flow of information.

We write sites whose pages can be printed without complication onto an A sheet. Some have sites which are too wide to allow the page to be printed on an A4 sheet.

Some have sites which use frames - that's when part of the site remains static between page changes, with usually only the main part changing. Two problems arise with such sites. One is with printing. You can have difficulty printing out the whole page, or find that the part you don't want prints. The other is with bookmarking. A framed site can usually only bookmark the home page, which is a pain in the neck if the page you really want repeatedly to return to is not the home page.

All these devices undoubtedly have their place, but not on a site serving information specialists. These devices get in the way for very little compensatory benefit.

For the record, the pages in this site are written in simple HTML and no page is more than 25k in size, with most being considerably lower than this. So the site should download very fast.

The page width is 600 pixels, which will print comfortably on A4 or similar sized paper. In short, it's the kind of site which journalists and other information specialists plead for.

Web Site Consultancy

You may already have a web site which you want to revamp, or you may be starting from scratch and want help with strategy and design overview. We can offer consultancy where someone else is writing the site.

Quite a number of sites fall down on usability. The reason is simple. Many web design houses have superb coders and wonderful designers. They are bulging with such talent, but what is missing is the overview representing what the end user might want and need and feel happy with - which should accord with what the client requires.

However, many clients, for very understandable reasons, do not have a detailed knowledge of what the web does well - and conversely what it does not do well. The result too often is a site which superficially looks great, but which does not quite do the job hoped for right at the beginning of the process. Usability is lost in pretty tricks and fancy doodles.

That does not mean that a site must be text-only and lacking in aesthetic appeal. For an example of what I am getting at in terms of good practice, look at http://www.safefoodonline.com/ [I declare an interest - I am a member of the Food Safety Promotion Board but I stand by my assertion that this is a good fast-loading and attractive informational site with coherent easily understood navigation]. Part of the reason is that the Board established excellent design parameters.

We can help with the parameter process. It is the foundation stone of every good site.

damedia@btinternet.com

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