A Modern Day Renaissance Man

Audience is King and the Web Designer is its Jester

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Audience is King and the Web Designer is its Jester
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In an ideal online experience an individual goes to a website to do research, to be entertained, as a result the viewer enjoys themselves. For that to take place the viewer has an easy time navigating around the site, all the links work and the site is an overall enjoyable and painless experience. Unfortunately there are many sites on the Internet that the first impact on a viewer is the site itself is too overwhelming, confused, aggravated, too hard to navigate or has one two many fancy elements leaving the viewer with a bad experience. The theme that repeats itself in almost all the do's and don'ts of website design is the target audience. It is clear in website design the audience is king and the designer is its jester.

In this day and age, web sites are popping all over the Internet. Anyone from the web blogger, to the college student, to the Artist displaying their work or finally to the corporate web site designer are placing websites all over the World Wide Web. So it is very valuable to know how to design a web page properly. There are many steps and keys in the do's and don'ts of website design. According to The Web Style Guide, 2nd Edition http://www.webstyleguide.com/, As we return to the drawing board to figure out what we should do with the Web and our Web sites, what we needed all along becomes clear: fundamentals and fundamentally sound advice to help us think for ourselves and design for our users, says Louis Rosenfeld1. Which clearly states when someone designs a web page they need to always keep the target audience, the viewer in mind.

In my semesters at Quinsigamond Community College I learned very fast in web site design as well as Advertising that, Less is more. In the Web Style Guide, I was impressed to see that same basic philosophy being mentioned. Function takes precedence over form and content is king. Innovative designs using fancy navigational doodads are generally seen as an annoyance standing between the user and what he or she seeks. Large graphic eye-candy, no matter how pleasing, is simply wasted bandwidth, says Paul Lynch1. According to the Online Internet Institute, "Web pages should be food for the mind, not cotton candy for the eyes." The basic idea of Less is more goes again to remembering your target audience. Even if the web site designer themselves loves to show off and add all the fancy flash animations, navigational frame sets, all the outrageous bells and whistles; doesn't mean your audience or viewer will enjoy them. When a designer goes over the top in fancy and outrageous design elements they take a chance at losing the audience/ viewer as soon as they click on the web site. A user-centered design approach is the key to a successful Web site. The Web should not make the viewers or its users think. The Less is More concept is that there is more emphasis on the content of the website, not the technology behind all the extras.

Karen Dodd gives this powerful message to website designers, "There is much more to "design" than just pretty graphics." Since the emphasis on any site should be its audience, the content plays a key role. After all who wants to go to a website that contains out of date information and links that no longer work. Since the audience is king, the content is its soul mate, the Queen. The research I have done to establish this point has been proved that over and over again throughout various sites I have visited and authors that I have read.

There are many elements in designing a great web site, planning, research, page design, site design, interface design, typography, multimedia, size, format, service provider, content and of course the audience. There are many books as well as sites available to assist those that would like to design a great web site. One of those sites is most definitely; The Web Style Guide1 is an excellent source for anyone that wants to design a web site. Whether the web site is for your enjoyment, selling a product or educating a target audience on a specific topic. The Web Style Guide also stands true to the ideal of the Target audience being the most important element in the do's and don'ts of web site design. In website design the audience is King and the web designer is its jester.


Works Sited

Binder, Mark and Helman, Beth. The Everything Build Your Own Home Page Book. Holbrook: Adams Media Corp. 2000.

Booth, Sheila. "Guides to Web Authoring. May 1996-April 2005. Quinsigamond Community College. http://www.qcc.mass.edu/booth/index.html

December, John. "Web Development: Analysis- Web Critique." 4 March 2005. December.com. http://www.december.com/web/develop/critique.html

Dodds, Karen. Determining the Audience & Content. 1994- 2003 http://www.graphic-design.com/Web/Design/audience.html

Flanders, Vincent. "Web Pages That Suck." 1996-2005 Flanders Enterprises. http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/

Lynch, Patrick, and Sarah Horton. Web Style Guide, 2nd Edition. 2002-2005. http://www.webstyleguide.com/

McFedries, Paul. The Complete Idiot's Guide To Creating A Web Page. 4th Ed. Indianapolis: Macmillan USA, 2000.
Smith, Bud and Bebak, Arthur. Creating Web Pages for Dummies. 5th Ed. Chicago: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 2000.

Online Internet Institute. Less is More. 2002 Online Internet Institute. http://oii.org/html/less_is_more.html

Petersen, Constance J. Writing for a Web Audience. 2001. SoftMedia Artisans, Inc. http://www.smartisans.com/articles/web_writing.aspx

Phyo, Ani. The Seven Step User-Centered Information Design Process. 1994- 2003. http://www.graphic-design.com/Web/ani_phyo/index.html

Scrivens, Paul. Elements of Web Design: Audience. 2005. http://9rules.com/whitespace/design/elements_of_web_design_audience.php

Webber, Sheila and Nixon, William. "Dos and Don'ts of Good Web Design." 15 October 1996. Glasgow University Library. http://www.gla.ac.uk/~gxla22/iisweb.html


Wise, Rosemarie. "The Future of Design - Splitting Content from Design." 2000-2004. The Web Site Owner's Resource. http://websiteowner.info/articles/design/future.asp