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Golden Rules in Web Design for Successful Web Site

What does web design means? Web design basically means the planning of the structure and layout of a website. One of the most popular guidelines in producing a good web design is to follow Shneiderman's '8 Golden Rules'. There are altogether 8 rules to be followed in order to produce a good web design.

'Strive for consistency' is the first rule of the '8 Golden Rules'. What is it mean to be consistent? Consistency for a web design means that every page of the website should have a regular and a uniform look. For example, if the toolbar is located horizontally in the main page, the toolbar should always be located horizontally and not vertically. Consistency of the web design will help the user to get familiarize with the website easily. Once the user gets familiarize with the first page of the website, the user will find it easy to navigate through the website without having to re-familiarize every page.

The second rule is to 'enable frequent users to use shortcuts'. Generally, there are two types of users; the novice user and the expert user. Having a step-by-step guideline on showing how to navigate the website will be very useful for the novice users. However, the expert users might find the step-by-step guideline to be boring and irritating. Expert users prefer to use shortcuts to increase the pace of interaction. Therefore it is important to consider the type of users using the website. It would be best if the web design includes step-by-step guidelines for the novice users as well as shortcuts for the expert users.

It is important for the website to interact with the user in order to avoid users being confused whether the website is performing what they want it to do. Therefore it is important to design a website that 'offers informative feedback'. The response time should not take longer than 5 seconds. If the response time exceeds 5 seconds, the user will start to panic and start to press on every key on the keyboard, hoping that the system will give a response. 'Design dialogue to yield closure' is also one of the rules to be taken into consideration while designing a website. For example, a user wishes to top-up his/her internet account through the internet. The process would require the user to enter a security code and the card number in order to top-up his/her account. During the process of doing so, dialogues should be design to inform the user step-by-step that he/she has performed the right actions.

One of the most important rules is to 'offer simple error handling'. Users often perform errors while surfing through a website. If the user does commit an error, the website should be design to be able to detect the error as well as being able to inform the user on how to handle the error. Jargons should be avoided and the error messages should be kept simple so that the user can understand the error committed.

'Permitting easy reversal of actions' means that there should be an 'undo' button to reverse the user's actions. Having this feature designed in the website will encouraged the user to explore the particular website without having to worry about the actions that they commit may be the reason to something serious.

A good web design should also 'support internal locus of control'. Users love to be in control instead of being controlled by the website. Therefore, the website should be design in a way that it responds to the user's instructions instead of telling the user what to do.

'Reduce short-term memory load' means that the user should not need to memorize what does a function does. For example, there are a few buttons in the website with an icon to represent what each button performs. The user should not need to guess what the function of each button does. Instead, the user should understand straight-away what the particular button performs.

In conclusion, to design a good website is to understand how the users would navigate the website as well as providing the users the simplest way to do it. Therefore, it is important to have proper guidelines such as Shneiderman's '8 Golden Rules' to help in designing a better and easier website for the users.

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