Web design is different to design for print. Some parts of your website are more visible than others. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are looking at your design templates or prototype website:

The whole home page is prime real estate. This is because some users won’t go any further! Make sure your call to action is on the home page – i.e., your phone number or other method of contact. But remember, just because it is prime real estate doesn’t mean it should be cluttered with information. Imagine going to a harbour-front mansion that was messy and overloaded with cheap furniture! You wouldn’t think highly of the home. Same goes for your company image!

Below the fold. This refers to anything you have to scroll down to see. This is not the best part of the home page for important information. This is like the laundry of the harbour-front mansion. Keep it neat, tidy and useful, but don’t put your tasteful antique furniture there! A good area for soft sell info like general company news or affiliated company logos (e.g., professional membership bodies etc.)

Only the top left of the browser window is static. Try re-sizing your browser window – notice how the content in the lower part of the screen and the right of the screen disappears as you reduce the size of the window. The top left of the browser window is the pinnacle of website real estate – that is why it is the best place to put your logo.

The top banner area is prime real estate. Use the banner for contact details or a slogan that needs maximum visibility. Make sure your navigation is across the top or the left side so it is always visible and so you don’t frustrate users. Remember that the more pretty artwork you have up hear, the less visible space for important text and content “above the fold”.

The left hand side area is prime real estate. It’s a great place for secondary navigation or internal links because you want to encourage users to move around your site to learn about your products. Also a good spot for an important promo.

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