Most clients depend on either local or internal designers to manage their site design. With Centralpoint, these controls are now in the clients' hands, if they want to get involved. If they do, here are some great ideas to take complete control of your site design:
1.) Visit other sites on the web within your industry space.
2.) Visit the sites of Fortune 500 companies. Typically, they have already researched most best practices for site design and layout...they can provide some great inspiration.
3.) Visit www.coolhomepages.com which track the best looking sites on the web, by category, and by styletype.
4.) Buy yourself a copyr of SWISH. This is program that allows ordinary (non-technical) people manage highly sophisticated flash elements, quickly and easily. This is a $40.00 program and worth every dime. It can be purchased at www.swishzone.com. Flash elements are great to use for pre-loaders to the site, top banners, and Splash pages.
5.) Be sure to visit Getty One www.gettyone.com. This site offers royalty free, and licensed images for you to search for and use within your site.
6.) Remember that image backgrounds can be used on the top banner area, and left and right navigation areas. This is important to note, because a site can be quickly made to look highly professional using background images.
7.) Take a moment to sketch out what your site will look like. The more planning here, the better, but not to worry, you can always create more.
8.) Remeber that you can have multiple designs for any site within your enterprise. Different color schemas, images, and elements can be managed within the same site to 'turn on' and 'turn off' whenever you may need to. This means that you are not committed to any 'one' design, and that if you ever re-design the site, the old design is saved (just in case.)
9.) You may want to get a good image-editing application like Adobe Photoshop www.adobe.com
or even better, Macromedia Fireworks www.macromedia.com. You might want to check at your offices to see if someone might already have a copy of this tool that you could use (to save on the cost).
10.Get consensus. When you are done with your desing, be sure to poll your audience to get their opinions. You can use your poll/survey tool to poll your site visitors, or simply ask others in the office.