Drupal Website Design and Themes
If you have minimal experience in taking care of a website, doing so might seem rather scary and fun all at the same time. This article offers a variety of practical and relevant guidelines that can help you to develop an understanding of web design fundamentals including how to use Drupal to design your website with themes (a real time saver).
Drupal Web Design
If a web design appeals to you, you know right away. But will you still like the design after you use it? Will it appeal to other people, both initially and after they spend time at the site?
Whether you buy a web site template, have one custom-designed for you, purchase an existing site, or design one yourself, the principles of successful web design are the same. A web site needs to function properly from the first impression on, it should serve its function for search engine bots as well as for people, and it should be easily updated. When a web design does its job well for its human and non-human audiences, you have a successful design.
Website First impression
The best web sites communicate a lot of information in a small amount of words. If you are long-winded, people will easily get bored and find another site that is more concise. Make sure any content is relevant and easy to understand. Each page is a potential landing page. On every page at the site, visitors should want to read and to click around.
Characteristics of a Successful Website Design:
- The design is consistent throughout the site. The first impression is the same wherever site visitors land.
- Pages look clean, organized, and uncluttered, even with a lot of information on each page. There is a good balance between text, images, and white space.
- You have no more than three or four colors as part of your basic design.
- The colors work well together online.
- The colors and images contribute to the message of the site and don’t detract from it.
- Blinking or animated text or graphics are avoided or (depending on the audience) used minimally.
- The important page content starts well above the fold.
We recently undertook a study to determine which types of sites soar like an eagle and which run head on into the brick wall of abject failure and, interestingly, the successful sites have a lot in common. Drupal sites are clean, concise and easy to navigate. The overall look of a site designed with this content management system is superior and the long-term effect of a site with these qualities have multiple benefits for a small business. So, even if you have an in-house design firm or you are a DIY (do-it-yourself) webmaster, Drupal is a smart choice for your design needs. Although you may be using a theme for your website, there’s still plenty you can do to ensure a successful launch and, in a couple of months, a growing web business.
Manage themes in Drupal
Themes are an easy way to change the look and feel of your site.
Now let’s learn how to manage themes:
- Click the administer link, scroll down, and click the “themes” link.
- Scroll down and choose the theme you want and then click the checkbox to make it the default theme.
- Scroll down, and when finished click “save configuration”. As you can see from the look of the website our theme has changed.
To change the default theme back to the way it was before just click the default radio button next to the original theme that you had selected before. Then choose “save configuration”.
Website Navigation is as Important as the Design
Tips to improve your website navigation include:
- Well organized content. Ideally, the site has a site map and a search box.
- Clear and consistent navigation throughout the entire site.
- Color enhances the site but is not necessary for navigation. Color-blind users can still use the site. Even people with perfect vision need “white space” or an area on your site upon which their eyes can rest.
- Internal and external links need to work at all times. A broken link is a sure-tell sign of a site that is in need of maintenance, or one that has been neglected.
- A good web site is readable.Your site may call for a design that appeals to unconventional people, but everyone still needs to be able to read your web site text. Make the font size large enough for most people to read comfortably.
- Provide good contrast between the font color and the background color.
- Use a solid background, not a patterned one.
- Make link text clearly distinguishable from non-link text. Underline it or at least have it in a contrasting color.
- Limit your use of italics and fancy fonts. Don’t get carried away with different types of fonts. People are usually in a hurry and they don’t want to spend time on a site that is too busy.
- Left-align your text. Don’t justify it.
- Keep the main column width to no more than about half to two-thirds of the screen. Eyes become fatigued when reading long lines.
- Most of us depend on search engines to bring us a large part of our traffic. SEO can be done with the design itself as well as with the content.
- Use keywords in page names, navigational anchor text, and image alt text.
- Use HTML pages for your main content. Search engine bots can’t crawl Flash pages.
- Have a robots.txt file that directs bots to crawl all the pages except any that you don’t want crawled.
- Avoid the use of black hat SEO design techniques, such as doorway pages or external links above the fold of your site.
One final thought: be patient. Expect to see some growth in visitor traffic in the first few weeks but typically, it takes 60 to 90 days before you start to see organic search engine results – your link on Google’s SERPs based on the keywords you’ve chosen.
Even if you haven’t hired a programmer yet, it’s time to get to work. Success on the world wide web is not a given and the more preparation you do before the hard launch, the more likely you are to see successful results.