Design for WebApps encompasses technical and non-technical activities. The look and feel of content is developed as part of graphic design; the aesthetic layout of the user interface is created as part of interface design, and the technical structure of the WebApp is modeled as part of architectural and navigational design.
In every instance, a design model should be created before construction begins, but a good Web engineer recognizes that the design will evolve as more is learned about stakeholder requirements as the WebApp is built. This page presents the topic categories that follow:

Design-General Topics

Design Principles

Design Methods (OOHDM)

Content Design

Architectural Design

Interface design


Navigation Design

Web Design Style Guides

Technology Issues


Design-General Topics

ITtoolbox - Web Design

Discussion, FAQs, articles, and other information on Web Design.

"Seductive Design for Web Sites"

The thrust of this intiguing article is best described by the author: "Education has a concept called "the teachable moment," the point when a learner is ready to learn, willing to change, and can act. For web sites, the parallel is something we call "the seducible moment." This is the point at which designers can entice users off the path to their original goal with the lure of something else.

Design Reviews for WebApps

Contains guidelines for reviwing a WebApp design and its testability.

Design Based on User Feedback

"This article outlines a powerful, but relatively straightforward, methodology for designing Web sites based on user expectations and feedback."

Web Design Tips and Resources

A useful set of short articles and many pointers to a variety of Web design topics.

Microsoft Developers Network

Contains useful information on Microsoft related technologies for WebE.

Web Site Security Studies

A source of downloadable studies on internet security.

Is Your Site Ready for Redesign?

A brief commentary on the subject.

Design Principles and Tips

Design Principles - 1

Principles that lead to a quality WebApp

Design Principles - 2

An excellent discussion of fundamental principles by Tony Wasserman.

Design Fundamentals

Address "basic questions that confront all Web designers."

WebApp Design Tips

Tips for planning, layout, design and navigation

Basic Elements of Web Design

Guidance for good WebApp design.

Designing Accessible Web Pages

Guidelines for design for access by people with disabilities.

Design Methods (OOHDM)

OOHDM Summary

A useful overview of the Object-Oriented Hypermedia Design Model, one of the more popular methods for WebApp design.

OOHDM Overview

A description of OOHDM.

JavaWorld Articles

A variety of Java-centric articles that discuss OO Web design.

Content Design

Content Accessibility Guidelines

"These W3C guidelines explain how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities."

Content Accessibility Resources

Useful links to over 20 sites that address accessibility.

Design for Multimedia

An indepth paper that provides useful guidelines for multimedia design.

Assessing the Quality (Veracity) of Information on the Web

This article considers how to "find and recognize clues that assist in the determination of the authoritative nature of the [Web] source."

Architectural Design

User-Centered Approach for Architectural Design

"This paper describes the user-centered approach utilized in the design process."

Design Patterns

Articles that address one or more aspects of architecture or patterns.

Information Architecture (IA)

An overview of IA. For another introductory treatment, visit Educorner.

IA Resources

many useful links to information on information architecture.

IA and Interaction Design

A lengthy article that considers these topics in detail.

IA Pitfalls

Design problems to avoid to structure and organize information "so that it’s easier for users to find and for owners to maintain."

Interface design

First Principles for UI Design

Excellent Guidance provided by Bruce Tognazzini. Recommended.

UI Design for the Web

Jakpb Nielsen answers the question: "You are up against a million other Web sites: how do you get users to stay at your site? "

Bad Human Factors Designs

Examples of what NOT to do when designing a Web site. Recommended.

User Interface Engineering

Useful information on Web site usability including a number of useful articles.

Web Interface Design - Problems and Promises

A paper by Patrick Dawson.

Challenges of Design Interactive Systems

This article describes the challenges of designing usable and useful interactive systems.

A Debate of Interface Design

A debate between Jacob Nielsen and Vincent Flanders (two Web design experts) in CIO Magazine.

Technical Tips

Articles from All Things Web oninterface design and other related topics.

How UID Affects E-commerce Sites

In-depth discussion that will helkp make the argument that good UID provide bottom-line payoff.


Usability Guidelines

Voluminous usability guidelines. Highly recommended.

Guide to Usability for Software Engineers

Developed by the University of maryland, this gide provide useful information and resources. Recommended.

"Usability Issues in Web Site Design"

An indepth paper that "describes a process which integrates existing empirical evidence and guidelines for web site design into a user-centred process which is consistent with ISO 13407." Containing live pointers to other relevant sites.

Usable Web

Over 1000 pointers to a variety of topics that lead to usable WebApps.

Usability Resources - 1

An excellent collection of usability testing resources (along with a detailed bibliography) provides useful information for WebApp testing. Recommended.

Usability Resources - 2

A wide variety of resources provided by Human Factors International.

Usability Resources - 3

A brief list of pointers to web usability resources.

Web Usability Questionnaire

A Website Analysis and MeasureMent Inventory (Web Usability Questionnaire) help to assess the quality of your web site.


An ACM Special interest group that "brings together people working on the design, evaluation, implementation, and study of interactive computing systems for human use."

Bad Design

A compendium of links on sites that discuss bad design of WebApps.

Navigation Design

Is Navigation Useful?

A brief paper by Jakob Nielsen.

The Basics of Navigation

Reasonably indepth paper that covers all important aspects of navigation design. Recommended.

Navigation Design

"Addresses the main issues designers confront when building effective navigation tools."

Navigation Tips

Brief article of key navigation design issues.

Navigation Tips and How to's

Useful tips for better navigation design.

Web Design Style Guides

IEEE Web Publishing Guide

A reasonably thorough introduction to the planning, design and implementation of Web sites.

Microsoft WebApp Development Guidelines

Addresses design guidelines, tools and resources.

Guide to Web Style

This is a cookbook for helping people create better web pages has been created by Sun Microsystems.

Yale Web Style Guide

A comprehensive style guide. Recommended.

Web Site Planning, Requirements Elicitation and Design

This IBM site contains much useful information on planning, analysis and design of web sites. Excellent tutorial and guidelines. Recommended.

Technology Issues

The HTML Bad Style Page

A collection of don'ts for HTML.

XML Resources - 1

Reference repository for specific XML standards such as: vocabularies, DTDs, schemas and namespaces.

XML Resources - 2

Another worthwhile source for XML information contains many useful pointers.

"Modeling, Metadata, and XML"

A worthwhile article on data modeling, metadata and XML by Ken North provides "enough information for you to decide whether to learn Object-Role Modeling (ORM), the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and the eXtensible Markup Language (XML)."

Implementation Guidelines and Tips

Netmechanic provides hundreds of useful implementation tips.


Although hundreds of books have been written on “Web design,” very few of these discuss any meaningful technical methods for doing design work. At best, a variety of useful guidelines for WebApp design are presented, worthwhile examples of Web pages and Java programming are shown, and the technical details important for implementing modern WebApps are discussed. Among the many offerings in this category, Powell’s encyclopedic discussion (Web Design, McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2000) is worth considering. In addition, books by Galitz ( The Essential Guide to User Interface Design, Wiley, 2002), Schmitt (Designing CSS Web Pages, New Riders Publishing, 2002), Donnelly (Designing Easy-to-Use Websites, Addison-Wesley, 2001), and Nielsen ( Designing Web Usability, New Riders Publishing, 2000) provide much useful guidance.

The agile view of design (and other topics) for WebApps is presented by Wallace and his colleagues (Extreme Programming for Web Projects, Addison-Wesley, 2003). Conallen (Building Web Applications with UML, second edition, Addison-Wesley, 2002) and Rosenberg and Scott (Applying Use-Case Driven Object Modeling with UML, Addison-Wesley, 2001) present detailed examples of WebApps modeled using UML.

Van Duyne and his colleagues (The Design of Sites, Addison-Wesley, 2002) have written an excellent book that covers most important aspects of the Web engineering design process. Design process models and design patterns are covered in detail. Wodtke (Information Architecture, New Riders Publishing, 2003), Rosenfeld and Morville (Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, O’Reilly & Associates, 2002), and Reiss (Practical Information Architecture, Addison-Wesley, 2000) address content architecture and other topics.

Design techniques are also mentioned within the context of books written about specific development environments. Interest readers should examine books on J2EE, Java, ASP.NET, CSS, XML, Perl, and a variety of WebApp creation applications (Dreamweaver, HomePage, Frontpage, GoLive, MacroMedia Flash, etc.) for useful design tidbits.