Back to Basics

Public Health professionals aren’t always trained in web development but if you’re faced with the challenge of creating a website for your organization these five rules will help you make a fantastic website. The keys to remember are to keep your pages simple, make it look good, provide consistent formatting, organize your content logically, and most importantly deliver content that is relevant and engaging to the user.

1. Keep it simple

Putting too much information on a page makes users feel lost and can disguise your message. While your website shouldn’t be as brief as a microblog keeping you message concise is important.

2. Dress for Success

Dress your website the same way you would dress for an interview: professionally. Your website is where people are going to go to find out more about your organization and making a good first impression with an appealing design goes a long way to making sure they stick around to view your content. From color palette to font choice make sure that your website looks good so that bad design won’t distract from your message.

3. Be Consistent

All of your pages should have a consistent design and formatting. Once the user starts exploring your content you don’t want them distracted by inconsistent page formatting.

4. Organize

Having a site that’s easy to navigate keeps your users immersed in the content and happy. There is nothing more frustrating than menus that don’t follow any logic. One trick for organizing your website is to write out all of the content you’d like to showcase on post-its and then organize those in a logic tree.

5. Have Good Content

This is arguably the most important thing about your website. This is the reason that the users are visiting and it is the message that you’re trying to communicate. A well designed website without good content is not useful for your health goals or the users. The key thing is to understand what type of information your users are coming to your site to find and also communicate it to them in a way that doesn’t distract from the issue at hand.

Special thanks to the creator of XKCD comics for communicating this ridiculous scientific world so succinctly in artistic form and also for allowing the distribution of his works through a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. This means you’re free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

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3 thoughts on “Back to Basics

  1. Thank you for this easy to use guide. I love that you approach content (I did a how to for getting a site up, but left the content soundly alone). I think this is a really important guide especially for folks who aren’t used to creating content. Oh, and I love the cartoons 🙂

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