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How to Arrange Webpages?
How to arrange webpages is not as popular of a question as it should be in web design forums and other similar avenues. It is either because it is so intuitive that everyone is already an expert at it, or web designers underestimate the important of a good webpage flow.
Think about the order in which you arrange webpages no different from a conversation you have with someone. If your website is about Hawaii, think about how you would talk about Hawaii. Perhaps you would start with the climate and location and then get into details such as where to stay and what to eat.
Case in point is this website. It stars with general discussions about websites (why, what, who, when, etc) and then gets into the different components of a website (domain, host, HTML Editors, etc). It then discusses how to optimize a website, how to market it and finally how to make money from it. Do you notice the natural progression and flow in the topics?
Do the Same with Each WebpageThink about each of your webpages as a mini site of itself. You need to arrange webpages similarly to your website.
Start with the basics and take your reader through the topic’s progression. Arrange your webpage components accordingly (i.e. image placement) to fit the flow of the discussion.
How Do You Read A Webpage?Pause for a minute and think about how you read a webpage or navigate a website. What kinds of questions pop up in your head? What dictates your next action?
Some good souls that have studied web surfing behavior have concluded that your visitor has sort of a little conversation going on in their head with themselves as they browse your website.
They make internal decisions every few seconds. They tell themselves whether or not the site is helpful, or if they want or don’t want more information or if they have found what they are looking for.
So your goal as a web designer should be to arrange webpages so that visitor is engaged through a logical conversation flow. The better you are at doing this, the longer your visitor will stay on your website.
Fix Your LayoutThis is the most common problem most web designers face. It’s a sad mistake made during the design process that can easily be fixed. But to fix it, you need to first realize that it is the layout that is the problem.
Just like in a verbal conversation, online conversation flow can also be interrupted by tangents or inaccurate information. Sometimes it’s simply the mention of something at the wrong time.
Similarly, your website layout must follow a logical order so that it doesn’t “throw your visitor off”. You must not only present your information clearly, but you need to order it so that it continues to maintain a good flow and doesn’t bounce off track.
Try to anticipate what questions your reader must be having as they are reading your webpages. Then answer those questions within the flow of your webpages. If you anticipate that your visitor must be asking for more information on something you touched on, then provide it when you get a chance.
Can you imagine browsing an information website on “music mixing for newbies” and reading a section about complex mixing techniques before reading a discussion on what mixing is, the fundamentals and the basic ways to mix music?
You must arrange webpages in the most logical order you can based on your website’s concept. I cannot emphasize how important it is to get that right. It’s a basic fundamental principle of website design.
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