A website does not succeed because of its content and design alone. It has to be a total package. This means having a construction that creates a positive user experience while being easy to understand. Sure, the latter is a subjective aspect of site creation. As the saying goes, “different strokes for different folks.” However, there remains non-negotiable ground rules that should be followed when deciding on how your website looks and how it makes you audience feel.
Here are tips to ensure that your website design game is on point.
Keep it clutter-free and simple
Most people give a website a quick once-over before deciding if they want to stay and keep reading, or click X and try something else. Studies also show that the average Internet reader picks up key words and sentences while browsing. Given this reading behavior, the first goal of a website designer to build a landing page that appeals to the reader’s emotions. You can worry about word count later.
In short, the less a person has to sift through on initial contact, the easier it will be for him or her to assess what’s in front. This makes it more likely for your reader to act according to what you want to happen. If you place a powerful image or a call to action in a compelling and easily digestible way, you have a better chance at succeeding, compared to filling it with lots of text and too many photos.
Acknowledge the power of visual hierarchy
It is the website designer’s job to make sure that images and text are presented in a clear manner. What is your goal? What do you want your reader to do next? Without necessarily being too literal about your intentions, you can subconsciously direct your audience with the types of colors, contrasts, fonts, and images you present. When you establish a clear hierarchy to the information you lay out, your readers will naturally “follow the breadcrumbs.”
Make your content easy to read and digest
Make it easy for your readers to recognize words, phrases, and sentences in your website. This means they are able to scan and digest all the information without exerting too much effort. How do you achieve a high readability rating?
Three things: pay attention to color contrast by making things easy on the eyes, make your fonts large enough to be easily read, and don’t go overboard with font variety. Note that while 12 point fonts are ideal for research papers at school, they’re not recommended online. In fact, studies show that your body text should be at least 16 point (depending on the typeface you’re using). Serif fonts are a popular choice for websites because they are clean and easy to read. You can experiment with fancy fonts, but always keep in mind that you owe it to your audience to make the experience simple and positive.
Invest in site navigability
Websites are not a place for the avant-garde. Sure, you can experiment with styles and make a design that breaks the mold — and that’s fine — but make sure that you back it up with a positive user experience. In short, readers should know where to click when they want to look for something. They should know how to get out of a page, or how to get to you About Us or Contact Us page when they want to get in touch.
For a solid navigation experience, here are some things you might want to apply.
– Clicking your logo leads to your main homepage
– Your menu should be at the top and listed according to the importance of each category
– If have a long-scrolling site, apply an anchor menu so readers don’t have to click all the way back up or scroll to the very bottom to see the menu
– Your most important content should be above the fold
Always remember that your reader should understand what your website is all about without having to click through different menu items and links. From the landing page alone, this should already be clear, even if it’s just photos and a few words. Another thing that’s important is that your website should be both desktop and mobile-friendly. Finally, never be tired of testing new ways to design your website. As long as you understand the foundations of a good design, you can go forth and get creative.
Do you need a place to start with your own web design process? We can help! Give our team a call at (561) 506-0398.