Do you want the best-designed website that works for your business and helps gain clients? In order to design an effective website there are several important factors that need to be taken into account, some even before the start of the design and others throughout the entire designing process. It is not only about how it looks but also how it functions. Here are the top 10 design principles to ensure that your website looks good and functions great.
- Know your clients
“I like it so they must like it because I know my clients.” There is a misconception that if the owner of the business likes the websites design then their users will like the design too. This is not always the case. Understandably the owner of the business should know his clients and exactly what they look for otherwise the business will fail but it is important to familiarize yourself with your clients before starting the websites design and what the user wants to see on your website. For example what are your main products and why you stand out from the crowd. This will also be of great help to you later on when it comes to your websites content writing.
Effective websites designs always cater to the needs of the user. The user is looking to satisfy a need, whether it be for information, entertainment or a purchase. Think about what your website will be about, what are you selling to the user. What is it that you want them to know about your business.
People on the web tend to want information quickly. It is important to communicate clearly, and make your information easy to read and understand. Organise information using headlines and subheadlines, using bullet points instead of long sentences, and cut any unnecessary information.
- Typefaces aka Fonts
The typeface style can have a great affect on the outcome of the look and feel of your website. For example a accounting firm website will look unbalanced and out of place with a curly or decorative typeface. In general, Sans Serif fonts such as Arial and Verdana are also easier to read online (Sans Serif fonts are contemporary looking fonts without decorative finishes). The ideal font size for reading easily online is 16px and stick to a maximum of 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes to keep your design streamlined.
A well planned colour palette can be very effective to enhance the user experience. Complementary colours create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colours for the text and background will make reading easier. Vibrant colours create emotion but be careful for colours that can have a negative emotional connotation such as red for anger. Try to stay away from large areas of yellow as it tends to be difficult to read and can irritate the readers eyes. Planning the white space/ negative space is very very important as it gives balance to your website and can effectively give your website a modern and uncluttered look.
A picture can speak a thousand words, and choosing the right images for your website can help with brand positioning and connecting with clients. Never download images directly from the internet as they are copyright protected and can result in serious problems. If hiring a photographer to take high quality professional photos is out of your budget range, consider purchasing stock photos to lift the look of your website. Also consider using infographics, videos and graphics as these can be an effective tool to get your message across.
Navigation means how people move around your website. Some tactics for effective navigation include a logical page hierarchy, using bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons, and following the ‘three click rule’ which means users will be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
- Grid Based Layouts
Placing content randomly on your web page can end up with a haphazard appearance that is messy. Grid based layouts arrange content into sections, columns and boxes that line up and feel balanced, which leads to a better looking website design.
- Load Time
A website that take ages to load will seldom get user traffic. People hate waiting for a page to load and will click away from your website before its even loaded. Make sure that when designing the website that you take the loading time into account. Make sure images are not too large and combine element where possible.
- Mobile Friendly
With the explosion of smartphone and tablet technology it is commonplace to access websites from multiple devices with multiple screen sizes, therefore it is vital to consider whether your website is mobile friendly.
If your website is not mobile friendly you are in for problems. As of the 21st April 2015, Google implemented MOBILEGEDDON. This means that any websites that are not mobile-friendly would be ranked lower in Google searches.
Keeping to these design principles while designing your website will not only aid in the design process but will also enable you to have the most effective website and will make the users experience more enjoyable ensuring their continuous return.