Little Things That Make a Big Difference

Sometimes it's the small details that make the difference between a great web page and a merely good one. Web users are becoming more sophisticated as time goes on and can now detect a polished page from a novice one. To put your content in its best light, here are several fine points to consider.

1. Limit line length with tables
Readability is maximized when there are only 8 to 15 words per line.
2. Limit paragraph length
Screens are less readable than paper. Give your readers a break by using short paragraphs and bullets.
3. Use sans-serif fonts for readability
On paper, serif text (like this in Times) is more readable. On the screen, small text without serifs is easier to read.
4. Use fonts consistently
When you change the font, you need to make sure you stick with it throughout the entire document.
5. Check the reading level of your text
Before testing your page with kids, take a few minutes to make sure they can read it.
6. Never use underlining except for links
Another paper-convention you need to leave behind.
7. Give your page a meaningful Title
Nothing says "I was in a hurry!" louder than when the title bar has no title, or one that says "Put the Name of Your WebQuest Here".
8. Use transparency around non-rectangular graphics
If it's a GIF, you can make it look better by letting the background shine through.
9. Pad the space around graphics
Give your text some breathing space with VSPACE and HSPACE
10. Lighten a busy background
That background of autumn leaves might be beautiful, but can you read what's over it?
11. Give your text some breathing room
In print or on the screen, your text needs to be away from edges and borders.
12. Put graphics and text side by side
Graphics rarely take up the entire width of the screen, putting text next to, instead of under, minimizes scrolling.
13. Don't leave borders around images that are links
Did you really want that big blue border around your image?
14. Make your pages accessible.
A simple addition will make your pages understandable to the visually challenged.


This page was designed by Bernie Dodge for the Triton and Patterns Projects of San Diego Unified School District. Last updated July 15, 1999.