The “Look and Feel” of a web site is basically the visual design of it. It includes the real estate it occupies, the margins (white space) around the context, the font’s used, how busy it looks, if the pages are too long or too short, the colors, the layout, the background, the header banner, the sidebar, the footer, etc. A good “Look and Feel” web site doesn’t happen by accident. The person creating it has to has some artistic abilities, they have to know who their target audience is — and what is visually appealing to them. You also have to not only design your web site for a variety of web browsers, but you now have to do it for a variety of browsing devices — like phones and tablets. This takes understanding of concepts and experience to do well.
The look and feel of this site goes well with the visitors to racing web sites. I like to keep the colors simply but bold, a big banner at the top, and the side bar on the right. The customer can chose to have the sidebar on the left — but I feel the right looks better and won’t take away from the more important context.
For the race track web sites, I go with a 1000px wide, centered. Most screen resolutions are a minimum of 1024 pixels wide, so you get at least a small margin with that display and wider margins with more commonly used resolutions. This is both visually pleasing — and works well with most mobile devices.
I like to use a tall header banner of 1000X288 pixels for race track sites. It gives me an opportunity to have both large graphics and large text for a large visual impact. The header graphic is the most dominant visual effect on a web site. Some business web sites want a conservatively small logo — but racing sites are better served with a big impact from a big banner. It is best to not make the header too busy with text. The track’s name and a smaller font slogan is usually best. I work with my customers to come up with a banner with big visual impact.
Almost all track’s have already established a theme of colors for their logo and other graphics. Unless they plan to making changes to those colors soon, they’re best served to stick with those same colors on their web site. The fewer colors (especially with the darker background site) the better. Most often two or three will be best. There should be a big contrast between the colors.
Text should have a lot of contrast from its background to be easy to read. White on black or black on white will be best. Red is a color many men are color blind to, and it should be avoided for text.
These are small pieces of function or information, generally in a sidebar. Many feel like they’re a mini-web site within the site. If you mouse-over the Web Design link in the above NavBar, and then click Widgets, you will get more information on the widgets I feel important to race track web sites.
With regards to text, browsers limit you to a small number of fonts to chose from. The most readable are the simple sans serif fonts of Arial, Veranda, and Trebuchet.
On the other-hand, bold and outrageous fonts are great for titles on the banners of race track web sites.
Backgrounds behind the page should be kept simple. While checkerboards are popular with racing sites — they get a little busy, and should have the contrast dulled as to not to pull too much attention from the context. I like to keep the background in the same hue as the page — but a couple three shades away. Adding a texture (like canvass) is a subtle way to make the background look a little richer.
Since race track sites are constantly announcing upcoming events and recapping an event that just finished. — a blog style front page is a perfect match. There should be a short post stuck at the top of the page introducing the visitors to the site, and the posting below should be new type of announcements regarding the track – with the newest at the top and the older falling off to the next page. The number of posts per page is dependent on how much posting is done in a month, and how much graphics you use in the posts. You want to keep the site fast, and the posts fresh — but not have announcements of upcoming events fall off the first page before the event.
A professional web site should have at least the following pages:
- A Contact page that gives a contact form (with CAPTCHA to reduce spam) for email, the track’s phone number and fax number.
- An information page that tells the visitor about the track.
- Sanctioning Body
- Is gas sold
- Track Rentals
- Any other information in the tracks best interest to highlight
- An aerial or satellite photo is a good touch
- An address and directions page. Bonus is a context sensitive map where the visitor can get exact driving directions.
- Event Detail Pages for your one-time, reoccurring, and weekly events. This works with your event calendar widget in the sidebar.