Web Design Tips
Since 2006, MVRT has won at least one best website award every year. Since MVRT has done so well, we believe that we should try to help other websites by providing helpful tips. If you have any questions we haven’t answered here, contact us and we'll try to help you the best we can!

Smooth and Easy Navigation
Providing easy-to-access navigation will be a big plus for any website. If the navigation is too complicated the user will get frustrated and leave the website. It's a good idea to provide as many links as possible but you don't want so many that it takes the whole screen to show them all. Make sure the navigation is easy to read so the users can easily find a page they are interested about. The better the navigation, the longer the users will stay on your website.

Optimize Loading Time
Users absolutely hate loading time. If you have a bunch of images on a single page, take out a few images and optimize the images by lowering the quality. A very useful tool for optimizing images is Photoshop, which is a product sold by Adobe. If you want to use a free tool we recommend using Image Optimizer which is a free online service that does a pretty good job of optimizing images. Another way to help minimize loading time is minimize the use of javascript. The more javascript you use the longer a page will take to load. Website Speed Test is a useful tool to test how long it takes for your webpage to load. Just keep optimizing your page until you believe it's fast enough!

Validating A Website
It's always a very good idea to validate your website using W3C Validation Service. You can check for errors in your HTML or CSS codings and it will tell you exactly what the problem is and which line it's in. The less errors your code has, the faster it'll load. Once your code validates 100% then you can proudly put up validation icon up!

Cross Browser Compatility
Checking for cross browser compatibility is a huge annoyance especially when it comes to Internet Explorer. Chrome and Safari both use webkit which means both browsers process the code the same way. What that means is that if the website works on Chrome, then it works on Safari. For Firefox it's fairly easy to cover since all versions of it are alike, so if it works on one version most likely it works on the others. For IE, we have found a very useful tool where you can check your website in multiple versions such as IE 5.5, 6, 7, and 8. The program is called IETester and we highly recommend it! Checking each browser can be a pain, but never give up. Over time, the problems can be easily fixed.

Check For Broken Links
Broken links have always been a problem on the Internet. W3C provides a service called Link Checker which is a very useful tool provided for free. It'll go through all your webpages checking for any broken links and then give you the results and any errors it found.

How To Create A Favicon
Favicon Example
The icon circled above is called a favicon. Most popular websites such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have an icon to the left that shows up on the left side of the address bar. If the page is bookmarked it will also show up there as well. Adding a favicon provides an unique identity for your website and it'll make it easier for users to find the bookmark for your site.

There's a free service called favicon.cc Generator which helps you make a favicon from scratch. You can even import an image and it will convert it to an ico file for you! You can also create a moving animation to make your favicon more flashy. Once you have created your favicon, download it and then add the code below inside the <head></head> section part of your code.
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="NAMEHERE.ico" />
Replace NAMEHERE with the file location and the name of your favicon file. Once you have done all this, you are done!

Contrasting Colors
Over the years more and more webpages are difficult to read simply because they aren't contrasting colors. If you were to put a light text on a light background or dark text on a dark background then it'd be very difficult to read.

Example 1:
Difficult:
This is very difficult to read, yes?
Easy:
This isn't very difficult to read, yes?

Example 2:
Difficult:
This is very difficult to read, yes?
Easy:
This isn't very difficult to read, yes?


As you can see above, a dark text isn't easy to read on a dark background. The best way to find out if the text is to hard to read is if you have to strain your eyes in order to read it. You must always contrast the colors with the text and background so users can easily read the content or they'll become annoyed and leave the site.
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FIRST

MVRT would like to thank:
A special thanks to all sponsors for supporting MVRT!

Winner of the 2012 Championship Website Award
Winner of the 2012 Sacramento Website Award
Winner of the 2011 Silcion Valley Website Award
Winner of the 2011 Seattle Cascade Website Award
Winner of the 2010 San Diego Website Award
Winner of the 2009 Sacramento Website Award
Winner of the 2008 Championship Website Award
Winner of the 2008 Davis Regional Website Award
Winner of the 2008 Silicon Valley Website Award
Winner of the 2007 Davis Sacramento Website Award
Winner of the 2006 Silicon Valley Website Award
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