Web designers naturally have a distorted view of web pages.
The way we look at pages as we design them is very different from how they're used in the real world.
To create designs that work in the real world, we must appreciate the way they'll really be used.
The way that we, as designers, even approach web pages is almost alien, compared to what goes on in the real world. That's probably the main reason why so many web sites are badly designed.
Whenever you or I look at a design (or anything), our perception changes. Most importantly, we really look, as though we're looking at a work of art.
We start to notice subtle differences that we wouldn't have seen at first. We start to appreciate the play between different colours, textures and layers. If we look long enough, we'll stop seeing. As the cliché goes, we "Can't see the wood for the trees".
In order to create effective web designs, we have to be sympathetic to web users. That involves getting smart in three key areas:
- the environment of real-world web use
- the habits users adopt in order to cope
- the things we can do to help users browse successfully, smoothly, and cheerfully
These three things pretty well sum up 'Web design from Scratch'. The rest of the Basics section deals with the first two areas: the web browsing environment, and the habits of web users.
How to design for the web