- I haven't talked much about color, but know this: choose a color for the text that contrasts tastefully with the background. Black text on a white background is always good.
- Speaking of color contrast, the higher the contrast, the more visual weight (attention) it pulls. Take a look for yourself and see which banner grabs you attention.
- If you have a tiling background with a lot of colors (like the hideous page I made), provide a section of solid color for your text. This can be either accomplished by modifying the background, or using the bgcolor= of a table data cell(the preffered method). Take a look and see the improvement.
- Another background tip: even if you use an image as a background, provide a background color with the bgcolor= attribute in the <body> tag. This way the reader can see a prettier background than the default color.
- Tables never, ever have borders. Always set the boder= attribute to 0. I'm all for three dimensional effects, but that shading is very ugly, and not too realistic.
- Anti-aliasing is very good for smoothing out complex curves and odd angles. However, the anti-alias effect won't work on a multi-colored background; a "halo" effect, basically fuzz, will form around all the anti-aliased parts of the image.
- Margins are good. I've told you that readers are lazy people (I know I am). They, and I, don't appreciate to use our neck muscles to read long strings of text. A line of text should be around 10 or so words long. To create margins, use invisible tables.
- Never use the <p> tag to create paragraphs; this tag makes a blank line of space between paragraphs. This break should be reservered for breaks in section; a <br> tag, coupled with a way to indent the paragraph, should be used for normal paragraph divisions.
- Just one more note about backgrounds. To quote Justin: "On a similar note, tiling multi-colored backgrounds are ugly. If you use one, I WILL DROP THE MOST POWERFUL NUCLEAR WEAPON EVER DEVISED ON YOUR HOUSE UNLESS IT IS IN THE SAME STATE AS MY HOUSE." I share this sentiment. Except I will drop the bomb and get a flight out of the country.
- When choosing a color scheme for your site, try to pick our cooler colors (black, green, blue), but if you do use warm colors (red, orange, yellow), don't make them too flashy. Don't use any flashy colors as a main component of your webpage; the reader already has eystrain from the monitor without your meddling. Coose colors that are easy on the eye.
- Color schemes generally have three dominant colors, two complementing/contrasting and a neutral. This is a good standard to follow; in this site, the three dominant colors are dark industrial blue, cyan, and white. Two complements and a neutral. The yellow is not part of the scheme; it's just a pleasing, nondescript background color.
- Sound, a topic that I haven't talked about, can give your site richness and an element to tantalize your sense of hearing. However, be careful: in the wrong hands, sound files can be as annoying as animated GIFs. Firstly, many readers are accustomed to the silence and serenity of the Web. Insert sound and they'll run like scared sheep. Secondly, never, ever loop your sound infinitely. It's an ear-sore. Frankly, not many sounds are worth repeating forever and ever. Thirdly, sound files can be very large, if you want CD quality sound. If you don't have to, don't include it.
And that's it for random tips I forgot to include in the main text. You have now learned almost everything I use to make a great website. You may wonder why not everything. Listen, I have some trade secrests I rather not divulge. After all, I don't want you to be too much competition.
With your new knowledge of layout and design, there is no excuse for a horrible looking site (unless you happen to write a book about design and need to show the reader some bad examples). If you think about the grid, color, placement, visual weight, typography, composition, and all those other terms, you won't be lost. The most important thing to remember is that this is YOUR webpage; do whatever you feel like. If you don't agree with what I say here, then don't do whatever I advise. Just don't complain when i don't come to visit your site.
I wish you all the best of luck in your future endevours with webpage creation.