Who owns the format

Site design template

A standard page layout format which is applied to each page of a web site.

The format refers to different aspects of the design and layout of the site commonly referred to as its 'look and feel'. The key aim is consistency of format across the whole web site. For a large corporate site, with different staff working on different parts of the site, there is a risk that the different areas of the site will not be consistent. Defining a clear format or site design template for the site means that the quality of the site and customer experience will be better since:

• the site will be easier to use - a customer who has become familiar with using one area of the site will be able to confidently use another part of the site;

• the design elements of the site will be similar - a user will feel more at home with the site if different parts look similar;

• the corporate image and branding will be consistent with real-world branding (if this is an objective) and similar across the entire site.

To achieve a site of this quality it is necessary for written standards to be developed. These may include different standards such as those shown in Table 9.5. The standards adopted will vary according to the size of the web site and company. Typically, larger sites, with more individual content developers, will require more detailed standards.

Note that it will be much easier to apply these quality standards across the site if the degree of scope for individual content developers to make changes to graphics or navigation is limited and they concentrate on changing text copy. To help achieve consistency, the software used to build the web site should allow templates to be designed that specify the menu structure and graphical design of the site. The content developers are then simply adding text- and graphics-based pages to specific documents and do not have to worry about the site design.

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