“Home”: this is the first, the main page of a website, i.e. the first thing the user sees. In this section there is often introduction of the company, its aims, goals, values, reputation, history, etc. As in all the other sections, in “Home” there is the header, the linking buttons, and any other constant component of design. Being the first section –except for this, it is rather similar to the other sections, actually–, the first impressions of the company depend on it, so everything in it must be perfectly representative.
Sections: this is how the pages of a website are called. In general, websites have between five and nine sections which, of course, are similar to one another in terms of design. Each section deals with a specific theme, so each one has its own contents (in case you want to link two sections together, you just add a linking button). In spite of this, it is important that all of them form a unifying group so that any doubt on the part of the users is cleared away.
Photos: although it is possible to use good-quality free-circulation photos that you find on the Web, it is always better to have one’s own photos, so as to avoid repetition and represent your company in a more accurate way. Now, if this means that you yourself should go and take these photographs, you had better use those on the Internet. Otherwise, the design might be ruined. In any case, what you can do is to hire a professional photographer in order that he does the work for you. Remember that the visual aspect is extremely important on the Internet, so a badly taken picture can make your company lose a lot of prestige.
Header: the header is the top part of a website which is never modified. It often includes a picture of the company, some contact-us information and, in some cases, the linking buttons to each different section. As all the sections are designed according to the header, you should pay special attention to it –it is the most significant design element within the website. In fact, there are many websites in which the only thing designed is the header, and the rest is just text.
Linking buttons: their function is to link the different sections. All the user has to do is click on them. These buttons are essential to the overall design. It is usually here that designers use some visual effect, e.g. color or size alterations, motion, etc. One in particular is very common, namely that through which a button lights up when the mouse is on it. There are many kinds of buttons, so it is important to find one that is original and practical, and that agrees with the rest of the design. In other words, one that is easy-to-click-on and that is not mistaken for another thing.
Animation: it is a program called “Flash” that makes animation possible. This program allows treating images in a very versatile way –it allows adding them motion and altering their colors, sizes and shapes. But there is a disadvantage: a Web page including animation is slow in loading. This effect is commonly employed for introductions (see below). However, there is a need for moderation: if used to excess, animation can make a website look less serious –to such an extent that big companies do not normally use it. Not that it is in bad taste; on the contrary. It just happens that too much animation does not look so nice. For you to know which things are by “Flash”, click the right button in your mouse on one animated image. A list will appear and, if at the end of it there is the option “about Macromedia Flash”, then you are before original animation by this software.
E-mail address: the e-mail address is the “name” by which a website is known. Our e-mail address, for example, is www.americanwebdesigncompany.com. You can choose this name, but there are some limitations. Sometimes you have to pay for an e-mail address and sometimes not, but not all of them are always available anyway. In some cases the reason why is rather obvious, e.g. when someone else has already chosen the one that you want, but even in other circumstances might an e-mail address be unavailable all the same. This happens because e-mail addresses are registered in specialized websites, and it is not necessary to actually use them in order to get their ownership. That who first registers an e-mail address can keep it for so long a time as it has been ruled.
“Lodging”: this is a service offered by someone who “lodges” your website in his computer. A website is a compilation of files which has to be kept in a computer. However, this computer ought to be well-prepared for this and have a 24-hour connection with the Internet. Such computers are called servers, and companies charge a “renting charge” for the “place” they provide, just as if we were talking about a flat.
E-mail accounts: when you hire a server and register an e-mail address, you can have personalized e-mail accounts. This means that you can arrange the configuration of your server so that you can send and receive e-mails with such accounts as yourname@youre-mailaddress. You can have as many accounts as you please and use them for either commercial or personal purposes. All you need is a software such as Outlook, Outlook Express, or Thunderbird, and then, probably, a little help from the designer or programmer of your website, so as to get it installed. But do not worry: it is very easy, and it takes just one go.
The form: it is in the contact-us section of your website that you can include one of these, which will make it possible to send messages automatically to the stated addresses. Forms have two major advantages: 1) the person who wants to contact you does not have to get out of the website so he can do it; and 2) a form is divided into separate parts, each of which must be filled out by answering the questions you have chosen to ask. Thus, you make sure that all the e-mails you receive contain the necessary information for you to provide an appropriate answer.
Introduction: this is animation that appears previous to the section “Home”. It is rather annoying, as it delays the seeing of the website itself –and what is more, people either skip it or leave the Web page. Besides, it is too costly.
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