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Website Design Tips

The Internet and the web are constantly evolving, but still many FIRST Teams do not have a website. In fact, our team was in a similar position in 2009. Back in 2009, we had a very ineffective and adequate website. In a span of four months, we turned our site around into a very user-friendly and successful website. Now, we are sharing some of our tips with everyone else.

Design Principles

Differences between symmetrical and asymmetrical design

Balance and proximity – the placement of images and text determine the mood of your site. Don’t place images and text too close together,as that shows a crowded and possibly unorganized site. Consider a symmetrical or asymmetrical design to use throughout your site.

 

Contrast – mixing elements to stimulate attention to a certain part of your site. Contrast can be achieved using text styles, Color choices, and size of different elements. Make sure you use colors on your site that work well together. For example, don’t use a bright yellow background and white text throughout your site. This can make the text hard to read. Contrast also helps establish focus and a focal point to draw in a visitor’s attention.

Examples of good and bad contrast on a web page (click to enlarge)

Example of Webpage Focus

A good example of focus on a web page

Focus– designing certain elements of your website specifically to draw in a visitor’s attention towards. For example, on the Google homepage the logo is centered and very large. This draws the user attention towards the logo and the search bar underneath it.

Unity – maintain a constant and fluid design throughout every page of your site. This helps maintain organization and focus. Always be consistent with your website design.

Writing Principles

The big thing to remember when writing for a website, is the fact that most visitors don’t like to read huge chunks of text. Make sure to break up your information with interactive media, such as videos or photos. Have all the important information in a convenient format, such as a bulleted list. After all, most readers of a website will just skim through page rather than reading the content word for word.

  • Always use large enough text size on your site for maximum readability
  • Use headings or larger text  to break up a page in a section
  • Use humor only when necessary and in moderation

Other Tips

  • Try to keep an uncluttered, simple, and clean design
  • Don’t make visitors look for important information
  • Try to use valid XHTML/HTML and CSS
  • When you build a link, make sure the link works properly

FIRST specific tips

  • Follow the FIRST Website Rubric when designing your site.
  • Always update your site with current game information
  • Follow the FIRST logo guidelines
  • Create a sense of team identity and team unity
  • Make your site unique
  • Be creative! If you have a seemingly outrageous idea, try it out. You may be pleasantly surprised with the result.

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