Although this is titled how to build a better ‘Real Estate’ website, the tips that I’m about to give you can be applied to any website. As I’ve said before realtors have to be well versed in a wide variety of skills, web design is one you should add to your repertoire. Most of us are already using the multitude of web 2.0 applications and free websites that are available (if you’re not you should be). However, you’re doing yourself and/or your company a great disservice if this website is poorly designed. There is an acronym that I came across a few years ago that has helped me design all my webpages, blogs, etc. –C.R.A.P. ironic isn’t it? How can CRAP help me build a better website, I’ll tell you!
C.R.A.P. stands for Contrast. Repetition. Alignment. & Proximity
Contrast: The concept of contrast is to avoid elements that are visually similar. Most often this refers to color, but can also include size, line thickness, shape etc. Make sure the background color of your webpage doesn’t clash with the copy. Try and make things like your headings, text, sub headings etc a little different. This allows the reader to visually understand ‘what is what’ without actually having to read(people are lazy). Sometimes the smallest change can make all the difference. Contrast is going to be the most visually effect tool your going to use.
Repetition: Many people get confused when trying to adhere to both repetition and contrast. The goal of this is repeat visual elements of the design throughout the piece. Categorize your subjects and stick to it. You should keep the same font size & font for all subtext, the same font size & font for all main headings and so on. This helps develop the organization and will give you an overall theme to your webpage.
Alignment: Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page. This gives your page a clean, organized, and professional look. If the main copy is aligned left then the rest of the page should be as well.
Proximity: Items on your webpage that relate to each other should be grouped close together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units. Much like alignment this helps organize information and reduces clutter.
Naturally these aren’t strict rules. There are going to be some exceptions that may work depending on its purpose. However for the realtor that is looking to bring themselves into the 21st century these are some pretty solid guidelines to adhere to. Don’t try to overdo it, simple is often the best way to go. The presentation of the property should be your main focus, anything else might take away from that.
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