Most users find it easier to navigate a site that uses a consistent design on each page. In the context of web design, consistency is the design process that ensures visual continuity occurs throughout the different pages within a web site. Consistency helps to insure that a web interface can be easily navigated by an end user. Important consistency guidelines you should adhere to include:
- Structure - Make sure essential elements are contained on each page. These essential elements include:
- The Header - contains images and/or text that tie the various web pages of a site together. The header usually contains a banner graphic and title document. Navigational aids can also be included in the header.
- Navigation - Well-designed web sites have consistent navigational aids which can include a navigational sidebar and a link back to the homepage.
- The Body - contains the main informational content of a document, as well as hypertext links to other related sites.
- The Footer - contains basic information about the origin of a page. Navigational aids can also be included in the footer.
- Limit the Length of Pages - You should keep the length of web pages in a web site short. This means that web page lengths should not exceed two or three screens worth of information. Long web pages mean users will need to do a lot of scrolling which can be somewhat disconcerting. Therefore, create web pages then with short logical chunks of information.