The aesthetics and the interface of websites are all subject to personal tastes, particularly when put into context of the purpose of the website and other comparative websites against which any site is judged. That said, there are certain elements which take on board what is commonly known (and sometimes less commonly well known) as good web design practice.
One critical area of best practice is the structure of any given web page – or “what goes where”. Humans read web pages in the shape of a capital ‘F’ in order to make their initial judgement about a website, what it’s for and whether it is something they are interested in or need. In design terms, website best practice uses this F shape by keeping navigation along the top and/or down the left. One other best practice area, which is proving to be increasingly popular, is to incorporate plenty of white or ‘spare’ space around the main page.
Many aspects of web design best practice is intrinsic to the back end programming and construction, like how the content is managed, which includes having working internal links, correct h1 and h2 tags, and making sure web page content is syndicated to the other channels of the website, such as blogs and social media outlets – all this, according to commonly accepted best practice, should be addressed at conceptual level, before anything is carried out.
Best practice also covers multimedia (or web 2.0) content. Having a website that has lots of flash embedded content can lose visitors – people who don’t accept long page-loading times (which is just about every visitor), and who will go elsewhere at the first sight of slow loading.
Also worth mentioning is the styling of a website, which is always subject to cyclical fashions, from what imagery to use and what fonts to use – best practice guides should be explored individually, and in the context of the website purpose.
Shelburne Farms (1886) – Coach Barn (1901)
Image by origamidon
Shelburne, Vermont USA • Shelburne Farms is one of the finest examples in the nation of a late 19th – 20th Century model farm and country estate. Created for Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, the estate is noted for its exemplary agricultural, architectural, and landscape design achievements. – National Historic Landmark plaque.
• A farm and country estate constructed from c.1886 to 1915, Shelburne Farms consists of approximately 1,300 acres of designed and agricultural landscape and significant wood-framed and masonry buildings representative of a combination of Shingle and Queen Anne styles. Four major buildings and 78 secondary buildings, structures, and sites are situated in functional groupings between broad expanses of cleared agricultural fields with rolling hills and isolated softwood plantations, hardwood and softwood forests, gardens, and rocky lakeshore. Eleven and a half miles of curvilinear interior roads and eight miles of walking trails traverse the varied farm and estate landscape, connect the resources, and provide views and vistas of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. Shelburne Farms lies at elevations between approximately 95 feet and 392 feet a.m.s.l. [above mean sea level]. Lone Tree Hill, the highest point on the property, rises from the center of the property and features panoramic views over the fields and forests to the lake and mountain ranges – From the Landmark Nomination form.
• Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit environmental education center and National Historic Landmark on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shelburne, Vermont. It is also one of the principal concert sites for the Vermont Mozart Festival.
Shelburne Farms was created in 1886 by Dr. William Seward Webb and Eliza Vanderbilt Webb as a model agricultural estate. They commissioned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted [and forester Gifford Pinchot,] to guide the layout of 3,800 acres (15 km2) of farm, field and forest, and New York architect Robert Henderson Robertson, to design the buildings. Shelburne Farms was incorporated as a nonprofit educational facility in 1972. Nearly 400 acres (1.6 km2) of sustainably managed woodlands received Green Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council in 1998.
The Shelburne Farms grass-based dairy supports a herd of 125 purebred, registered Brown Swiss cows. Their milk is made into an award-winning farmhouse cheddar cheese. The farm serves as an educational resource by practicing rural land use that is environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable. Visitors may enjoy the walking trails, children’s farmyard, inn, restaurant, property tours and special events. – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
☞ On August 11, 1980, this Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#80000330).
☞ On January 3, 2001, the National Park Service designated this Historic District a National Historic Landmark (#80000330), making it the newest Landmark in Vermont.
National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. – [And one of only 17 in Vermont.] – Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of National Park Service staff who work to nominate new landmarks and provide assistance to existing landmarks.
National Historic Landmarks are exceptional places. They form a common bond between all Americans. While there are many historic places across the nation, only a small number have meaning to all Americans — these we call our National Historic Landmarks. – from the National Park Service.
• More info: The GeoHack for 44°23′31.69″N 73°15′26.04″W. ∞ Here are the websites for Shelburne Farms, and The Inn at Shelburne Farms. ∞ Here’s a nice aerial shot from the Find a Museum page by folks at The Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance.
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In July, 2010, I started a project to visit and document all seventeen Landmarks in Vermont. Here they are (in order of designation by the National Park Service):
 09/22/60 – JUSTIN S. MORRILL HOMESTEAD, Strafford, Orange County
 01/28/64 – TICONDEROGA (Side-paddle-wheel Lakeboat), Shelburne, Chittenden County
 06/23/65 – CALVIN COOLIDGE HOMESTEAD DISTRICT, Plymouth Notch, Windsor County
 12/21/65 – EMMA WILLARD HOUSE, Middlebury, Addison County
 11/13/66 – ROBBINS AND LAWRENCE ARMORY AND MACHINE SHOP, Windsor, Windsor County
 06/11/67 – GEORGE PERKINS MARSH BOYHOOD HOME, Woodstock, Windsor County
 05/23/68 – ROBERT FROST FARM, Ripton, Addison County
 12/30/70 – VERMONT STATEHOUSE, Montpelier, Washington County
 11/28/72 – MOUNT INDEPENDENCE, Orwell, Addison County
 12/20/89 – STELLAFANE OBSERVATORY, Springfield, Windsor County
 11/04/93 – NAULAKHA (Rudyard Kipling House), Dummerston, Windham County
 06/19/96 – OLD ROUND CHURCH, Richmond, Chittenden County
 06/19/96 – ST. JOHNSBURY ATHENAEUM, St. Johnsbury, Caledonia County
 12/09/97 – ROKEBY, Ferrisburgh, Addison County
 05/16/00 – ROCKINGHAM MEETING HOUSE, Windham County
 05/16/00 – SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY HALL, Barre, Washington County
 01/03/01 – SHELBURNE FARMS, Shelburne, Chittenden County
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☞ More photos of this and other National Historical Landmarks.
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