Using Good Design

You will need to review the elements of good including layout, navigation, color, and organization and studied examples of strong portfolio design.

Review the elements of good webpage design before choosing your theme:

 •           Layout and formatting

•           Navigation

•           Graphics

•           Links

•           Text

Layout and Formatting

Pick a simple page layout with no more than three columns. Any more will be overwhelming for the user. Columns keep the content organized and break up large blocks of text to make them more readable.

Create a hierarchy of information. Good layout uses the columns and positioning in the columns to make important content stand out. The most important information that you want the user to read should be above the fold or above the page’s cut-off line when it is open in a browser. If the user has to scroll down the page to see it, they won’t think that information is as important.

Navigation

Create clear navigation bar. The nav bar should be visible immediately when you look at the webpage; it can be above or below your header or in a side column. The nav bar should also be in a fixed, consistent position across all the pages of your site. Examine the links used in the nav bar in Figure 1.

Choose page links for your nav bar. These could be home, about, resume, portfolio, writing, design. Be careful how many links you use because it can become crowded and confusing.

Graphics

Balance your graphics. Use both color and contrast to make the most important content stand out. Don’t overwhelm your user with graphics that aren’t an important part of your portfolio. You will find more information on images in the Choosing and Optimizing Images section.

Links

Make the page links contrast with the background. Avoid link colors that are too similar to the background: the eye skims over similar colors more easily than contrasting ones. Some people find links easier to identify if they are underlined as well as being a different color.

Text

Use text that it is big enough to read—but not too big.  Also, text that is too close together will lead your user’s eye down the lines without actually reading and text that is too far apart can make users lose their place. 

Don’t let your text touch other elements.   Your theme will have built in spacing, called padding, to make sure the text doesn’t touch other elements like graphics. 

Choose your font carefully. The general text rule is that san serif font is easier to read than serif font. Whichever font you choose, make sure it is easy to scan. Webpage users scan the page rather than reading every single word.

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