Basic Design Tips for the Beginner

Content and structure

It is an advantage to start off by deciding the content of the website, i.e. what it should be about. If you are a professional the subject is more or less already given. What you next is to plan the structure of the site, making a kind of scheme. The easiest way to do that is probably by using a pen and paper.

Frames or NoFrames

There are advantages and disadvantages with both. The advantages of using frames are however few, and in these cases really only for the producer of the website. A definite disadvantage of using frames is that you cannot bookmark a specific page, something most users like to be able to do. Therefor it is better not to use frames. That way you can bookmark that specific page you are interested in. Another advantage with not using frames is that the visitor can enter your website on any page and still be able to immediately see where he or she is on the website. This is not always the case when you are using frames. So my tip is therefor to avoid frames.


This is a very important part of designing a website. In order to make it as easy and understandable as possible for the visitor the navigation needs to very clear and most of all consistant. The visitor should not have to guess what button or link to click in order to get where he or she want.

The placing of the menu is important as well. There are two standards on where to place the menu. Either in a column to the left, or in a row at the top of the page. If your menu consists of graphical buttons it is a good idea to put the same links in the form of text links at the bottom of the page. That way you can get around on your website even if you cannot see the graphics.


Very often you have something to work from, for instance a company logotype. Then you can simply use the same colours as are in the logotype. If you are creating a personal website perhaps a favorite colour will do well. There are not really any rules when choosing colours, it is more about using your common sense.

There are however some really good recommendations. One is about the colour of text in relation to background colour. To read black text on a dark coloured or heavy patterned background is very difficult and should be avoided. White text on black background can be difficult as well. It could work for short pieces of text, but should be avoided for longer texts, as it can be straining on the eyes.


If you want to confuse the visitor you should use as meny types of fonts as you can. However, the best to do is to use no more than one or two types of fonts, one for the headline and one for the body of the text.

So which fonts should you use? The best thing to do is to use fonts that most people have on their computers, like Verdana or Times. Of course there are other fonts that you can use. It is really up to you. However, my tip is to use a font like Verdana for the text body, because it is easier to read off the screen. With headlines, however, you can feel free to use pretty much any font you like, but keep in mind that others might not have it.

Pictures and graphics

The best tip when it comes to pictures and graphics is – do not steel! Not only is it illegal, which is clearly stated in the copyright law. It is also very boring.

Use your own pictures and graphics as much as you can. Then you do not have to worry about copyrights and you can concentrate on other things. A huge advantage by only using your own material is that your website will be unique.

However, if you cannot or do not want to produce your own pictures and graphics, you can always turn to so called free graphics. There are a number of websites and companies on the Internet offering just that, for instance Microsoft.

Key words

Consistency – this is very important. No matter which page on your website a visitor is on, it should be clear on what website he or she is.

Simplicity – a website with an extreme amount of content, and perhaps some animated graphics, could easily be considered to be messy. This could cause visitors to give up searching your website and instead leave it for another website.

Uniqueness – try to be unique, to create your own graphics and pictures. Do not steal. Having a unique website increases the chanses for returning visitors.

Thanks Site Reference