Community CIO adheres to a standard set of elements of good design. These principles are commonly accepted by the design community as the minimum level of attention required by a professional developer.
Every site has a purpose
Every website has an intended “conversion”. What is it that you want your visitor to give you? The desired conversion can be an order, a donation, signing up for the mailing list, or simply attention. Good designers are explicit about the intent of the site and each page on the site and provide insight into how the page accomplishes its intended goal.
Easy to read
The site uses fonts and font sizes commonly seen by the visitor. The text is easy to read on screen and maintains proper contrast with the background so as to be accessible to all visitors.
The site defines and implements a consistent palette of colors for common elements. Colors for headings, backgrounds, shading, borders, buttons, and text are visually appealing and consistent throughout the site. The palette is selected based on the image the site owner wants to portray as well as the expectations of the visitors.
Appropriate and useful images and infographics
Images are appropriately matched with content and formatted to enhance readability of copy. A good image improves copy, rather than just decorating it. When necessary, infographics are used to illustrate points within the copy. The colors in images and infographics are consistent with the overall palette and maintain appropriate contrast.
Thoughtful placement of content
Elements on the site are presented in a grid format that leads the user through the content, rather than making the user work hard. Content is laid out to support the common ‘F’ pattern for consuming content.
The majority of visitors to most sites are on mobile devices with small screens. The site should be functional and attractive on small as well as large screens.
Fast load time
The site loads quickly and does not use large amounts of bandwidth. A good developer measures load times of the site and makes use of Content Delivery Networks to speed up load times for sites with extensive content.
The site records activity by the visitor – what pages are being visited or not visited, is the desired conversion taking place, etc. Analytics are used to modify the site to improve usability and increase visitor satisfaction. Analytics are never used to track visitors individually.