WEB DESIGN AND WEB HOSTING, GRAPHIC DESIGN, WEB DESIGNERS

Web Design and Hosting by James A. Peden of Middlebury, Vermont - Award Winning Web Designers

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BEWARE THE DARK
SIDE OF THE WEB

ABOUT JIM AND
HIS WORK

ELEMENTS OF
MODERN WEB DESIGN

THE GINGERBREAD
SHOP

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Elements of Modern Web Design


Hopefully this page loaded in a few seconds and you weren't kept waiting very long.  That's because there aren't any images on the page other than the logo at the top and the custom background, and both of those have been previously "cached" in your browser for more rapid loading.  It's also because I use a quality web server with a fast connection to the internet.  If you'd like to learn more about the technical aspects of server bandwidth as it relates to rapid page loading, click HERE.

Four or five years ago, web designers were falling all over themselves trying to out-do each other with extensive graphics, animated images, and other glitz.  The winners were considered the ones who could have the most rabbits running across the page.  I call those days the "ooooh - ahhhh" era of the net.   Everyone was fascinated with the technology... and they were willing to wait for the results.

Today, that style of site is a dinosaur.  The whole world is coming online, and they want basic information, and they want it fast.

Fundamentally, your web site visitors want the following:

  • They want a quick loading page.  If it isn't quickly readable, they'll start backing out after 20 seconds or less.  With few exceptions, they're not going to wait around for the bounding rabbits to load.

  • They want a site that is easy to navigate.  That's why I have the links to the major sections of this site in a panel at the left on every page.

  • They want basic information on your company and it's products or services, not your favorite links, your life story, or your grandchildren's photographs.

  • If you're an e-commerce site, they want to locate your products quickly, click to buy them or add them to their shopping cart, and check out as painlessly as possible via a secure server where no one else can possibly steal their credit card number.  80% of shoppers will NOT PURCHASE from a site which does not have a shopping cart system and a secure checkout system that accepts major credit cards.

  • They really DON'T enjoy banner ads or non-related links on your site for whatever purpose.  Makes you look like a cheap outfit that needs extra revenue from the site just to make ends meet.

  • And, they don't like to have to manipulate one of those stupid little "slide-back-and-forth" bars to read the page.  That's why all the content on this page is constrained inside an invisible 620 pixel wide table - so visitors using a 640 x 480 browser setting won't have to "slide".  (Which also explains the blank space on the right that most of you are seeing).

  • Visitors using a Mac should see essentially the same thing as those using a PC.  Most amateurs are designing for one or the other, and don't have a clue as to how their page is being viewed by the broad range of systems out there in the real world.

But there's more to an effective web site than just "pretty pages" which load quickly.  There are many hidden design parameters and programming scripts which the visitor doesn't see on their computer screen.  In an earlier version of my personal site, I explained in great detail what these techniques were for producing compelling content and getting a decent search engine ranking.   I've deleted that from this latest site revision after my stats showed that several thousand webmaster wannabes were simply visiting my site to steal my secrets.

And I've spent too many years studying web psychology, search engine algorithms, and metafile construction to simply give it all away.  Sorry.

However, if you're a visiting web designer, feel free to poke around in my source code.  Hint: there are some key items on this visible page which are actually invisible.  If you're clever enough to find them, then you deserve them.   Enjoy.

This rather plain and simple site style is actually what's most effective on the web today - and my watchword is "simpler is better" (at least until everyone has high speed access, DSL, ADSL, cable modems, or other neat stuff like that).  We have to think about the typical visitor that is still tied to a 56K plain telephone connection, or even worse.

So, while I've respectfully warned you about too much slow-loading glitz, there are times when a site does need some extra features, which is what my next section, THE GINGERBREAD SHOP is all about.  (Warning!  This section is packed with glitz, and will be VERY slow loading)

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Design by James A. Peden
Copyright 2000-2004

Hosted by  Middlebury Networks. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 23, 2004

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Jim is an award-winning web designer specializing in small businesses