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THFC131223 — Website Backgrounds


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On today’s Tech Help for Churches: Website Backgrounds

The biggest mistake new web designers (or do-it-yourselfers) make is using a photo as a background to their website and thinking that because it fits on their computer that it will look just as good on all devices. More often than not, the result looks more like the background to a Windows 95 computer with a holiday snapshot than a professionally designed site.

Instead, here are some better ideas:

1. Use a tiled background, that’s meant to be tiled. I’m not talking about tiling a photo, but taking a texture that’s meant to repeat horizontally and vertically. This could be a subtle texture or a bathroom tile motif, but make sure that it matches what you’re going for.

2. Stick to a solid background. You might think this is boring, but simple done well is better than complex done poorly.

Make sure that the text color contrasts sufficiently with the background so that the text is legible. White backgrounds don’t go with yellow text. Light blue backgrounds don’t go with white text. Think black on white or white on black (substitute dark grey for black or very light grey for white, if you want).

3. Make a background image that transitions subtly to a background color. The simplest way to do this is have a gradient that starts at one color and ends at another. The color it ends at is the background color for the rest of the site. Doing this (and not repeating the image), makes it look like the background is one large image when it’s just a small image and a background color.

4. Make sure it looks good on all possible devices. An old smartphone has one resolution and a retina macbook pro has another. Plan for both (and everthing in between) and you’ll have much better results.

Try this. Make your browser more narrow and see how it looks. Now move the left edge 50% off the screen and strech the window to fill the screen. How does it look now? If you do a good job, it should look good in both modes.

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