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Web Design Reference Guide

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Site Matters

Last updated Oct 17, 2003.

The purpose and audience of a Web site is a factor to creating the content presentation. Yahoo! is best known as a portal or directory for finding sites of interest, which relies on key words. Yahoo! offers daily news in its site. Here, you still find key words, but the section has more "article" style content. The news section presents information similar to other news and media sites like,, and They divvy the content by national news, local news, sports, living, and entertainment sections, to name a few. Visitors at these sites expect to see the latest news on the front page, articles categorized by section, and links to detailed articles or more news.

What kind of content and format do you expect when you go to the following types of sites?

  • Print magazine

  • Sports

  • Brick and mortar store

  • Humor

  • Company that provides services such as financial advice, telecommunications, and photograph development.

  • Movie / Television

If you go to multiple sites representing each of the types, do the sites have similar big picture structures? What is the same? What is different? Imagine what would look like if it was formatted like Would that be effective? Even in the Web's short time span, we've come to rely on sites to operate and look a certain way by their type just like many expect navigation to be on the left side and links to be underlined.

Tip #4: Write for the audience.

Sites that succeed often include four fundamentals when writing content for the Web:

  • Scannable

  • Concise

  • Objective

  • Interesting

The next six tips are valuable to building content to reel in the user to act in the way your site wants them to do.