After a week of readings, videos and learning resources on web-design and development, I took a step back to review what I had learned. I realized that I often make snap decisions on whether or not I like a website. Sometimes I click off a website even before I have time to process why. This week allowed me to slow down and critically reflect on what are some best practices in web design development for health. Below you will find the “3 things you should know when developing a website. “
- “Simplicity is key,” Mansfield, in Social Media For Social Good, recognizes the magnitude by which social media has changed, however, still emphasizes on how important it is to not do too much. Just because we can do something or design something a certain way doesn’t mean that we should. In 20 Examples of Bad Web-design, one can quickly see many examples of sites that are cluttered with too many graphics, information and colors. While reviewing these websites I became confused on where to begin, or in some instances even had difficulty reading some headings. When creating a website you want to make sure that you have consistent design and colors. In addition, you want to make sure that the way that you are formatting your site gives it a purpose-driven flow, meaning that your readers navigate through the site how you had envisioned them to.
- Make your site interesting. While visiting a range of sites I quickly noticed that many of these sites used multiple types of social media. They not only made their site aesthetically pleasing through the use of colors, formatting and pictures. The most appealing sites also utilized videos and slide shows that as Mansfield points out, “helps to tell the organizations story better.” It also helps to break up the content, and again, provide another way for the viewer to learn about the work and/or the message. A CURE International is a perfect example of a website that does an impressive job of making their website interesting. In addition, 41 Best Nonprofit Websites of 2014, is another great place to get a sense of the features your website should have.
- Update, Update, Update. On multiple occasions when visiting sites I would come across old information, or links that no longer worked. When this happened, I found myself less likely to trust the site, or I questioned the other information that they provided. If you plane on creating a campaign or providing important health information. It is imperative that you are making sure to share information in a timely manner.
There are so many other important things that one should know when developing a website, however, through my experiences the three I mentioned stood out the most to me. Websites provide another useful platform to communicate our message to our viewers. However, it is so important that we make sure that we are putting in the time to plan for, and develop these sites. Without the appropriate amount of time, our message can easily get lost. As public health professionals we have so many resources that we can use to improve the public’s health. Whichever we choose to use, we need to make sure that we fully understand how to use the tool effectively to benefit those we are trying to help.