Planning Your Website

So you are looking for a new website. Below are some pointers to help you get your project planning up to scratch.

Prior to entering a design process for your website it is a good idea to have:

  • A clear idea of your message and what you wish to get across to your users.
  • A clear idea of what you want your users to do once they arrive at your website.
  • An idea of the sort of website you would like, look at two or three competitors and find seval sites you really like and look at the features.
  • If you have a company logo and visual identity now may be a good time to review this - we can develop a new visual identity and brand that works together with your new website.

Our design process we will help develop:

  • A 'web identity' for your business if you do not already have one include any logos that are required on the site, colour schemes etc. Our designer will help with the process of forming an identity but we need to know any requirements up front. The clearer you are with your ideas, the easier it is for us to put together the website. A website is a very different media from printed materials, nonetheless any printed materials can give us a starting point. If you don't know where to start on visual identity / web look and feel have a look round at some other websites and make a note of the sort of thing you like. Don't be 'blinded' by fancy graphics look at the page layout and navigation, these things are the flesh and bones of any website.
  • A clear idea of any graphics you need. If you already have a good source of graphics, please let our designer know at the beginning of the project. This will save you money because it will save our designer time on photo research.
  • A navigation for your website.
  • An idea of content, and preferably a page by page breakdown of content. It is a very good idea to develop content at the same time as you develop website navigation. Pages labelled 'coming soon' look very unprofessional. It is better not to have a page than to have a page without any content.

Writing text for the web

Write in short paragraphs using headings and sub headings. Keep headings descriptive and concise.
Headings can be marked up as follows (Heading 1)Text of heading, (Heading 2) Text of heading, (Heading 3) Text of heading. It is unusual for webs to require more than 3 heading levels.

A list of key words for your website. This is very important, as it helps search engines and helps you in your thought process. Key words should be accompanied by relevant content.

An idea of hyperlinks within your website. It is an excellent idea to hyperlink key words that occur in the text to relevant content on a different webpage. This will increase your search engine score and lead to more hits on your website.

Write descriptive links avoiding phrases such as "click here" which do not make sense if the link is not read in context. Try to keep links short and concise just containing the relevant title words.

To clearly indicate all hyperlinks in your website. The clearest way to do this is as follows <a hyperlinks to 'name of page'>text of hyperlink</a>. So if you wanted to hyperlink to the contacts page you may have: <a hyperlinks to 'contacts page'>Contact us</a>. Colour all hyperlinks blue.

A unique title for every page of content.

Alt text (alternative text) for all images.

A short description (for search engines) of each page of content you supply. This should ideally fit in 256 characters (about 40 words).
All content proof read and checked for errors. We should be supplied content in text only format or in Microsoft Word, we do not proof read your content and cannot be responsible for any errors that may occur.

Planning your website layout and navigation

The example sitemap below may be more elaborate than you need, but you need to have at least an idea of the scope of your website. We advise all clients to produce a site map - however simple. This will help you conceive your website and for us to understand the navigation requirements.

simple sitemap

Your website should be designed in levels

  • Level 1 should be the home page
  • Level 2 should the pages listed on the primary navigation
  • Level 3 should be any pages accessed from the primary navigation

Given such a map we can advise you on the design and structuring of the navigation

Hosting your website

All websites require hosting on a web server of some description and usually they require custom email addresses. Hosting and domain names (i.e. the name of your website) should be settled prior to the construction.
Ariadne Designs Ltd can provide quality web hosting at a cost of £150 per annum. We host all our websites on fast web servers that are tried and tested.
We offer this services especially for our clients, we are not a hosting company we simply offer space on a server we have control of and therefore can set up to suite your website.
Many of our clients working in the public sector have separate hosting arrangements. If you have separate arrangements you should sort out your requirements as soon as possible.

Main features of Ariadne Designs Ltd Hosting:

  • Customisable email addresses
  • Fast web databases
  • PHP and CGI Scripting, for fast and efficient database integration
  • Secure Socket layer for credit card or secure transactions
  • Regular backups
  • Complete control over your server without intermediaries.

Business Users

Ariadne designs have a range of hosting solutions targeted at business users.
If your site is uses a database, or even if you just want a great site held on a stable and fast host, one of our servers could be just what you are looking for.

Disability regulations

If you work in the public sector you will need to be aware of disability regulations. It is best practise to adhere to these regulations which make browsing webs an easier and more pleasant experience for many users. The main issues you need to be aware of are outlined below. Don't worry we are there to give guidance on this issue but it is worth while reading the list.

  • Do not use frames, if you must, make sure you have a text only alternative.
  • Use style sheets to control the appearance of text. (This allows users to change the size of the font etc and add their own preferences).
  • Background colours must contrast well with the text.
  • Use web-safe colours, to ensure they appear as you wish across browsers and don't cause contrast problems.
  • Moving images / animations should stop after 10 seconds.
  • All web pages should be printable on a standard printer without the need to reorient pages.
  • Hyperlinks should ideally contain a title tag
  • All information images must have appropriate alt tags containing relevant text, where an image is for navigation or decoration etc. use alt=" " this prevents text only browsers from 'seeing' the image by its image name.

Data Protection Act

If your website contains any forms they will need to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, which says that you must tell someone who inputs personal data what the information will be used for and whether it is being distributed to third parties.
Any individual can request the deletion of personal data from any database you hold.

We provide clients with guidance on this aspect of web development. Many websites currently ignore the Data Protection Act, for your own protection, we would strongly discourage all clients from this course of action.
The Act states:
an individual is entitled:
(a) to be informed .. whether personal data of which that individual is the data subject are being processed..
(b) if that is the case, to be given .. a description of the personal data of which that individual is the data subject,

the purposes for which they are being or are to be processed, and the recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be disclosed

The Act introduces categories of sensitive personal data, namely, personal data consisting of information for example data concerned with ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
For further information please see:

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