A beautiful, user friendly website is key for converting customers. Your businesses website is just as important as a traditional brick and mortar store. However, it is different in that unlike a storefront, it never closes and is always available to your customer. A website should showcase the company brand, as well as successfully sell or inform its visitors.
When designing your website, there are a few aspects that are more important than the others. “Good design” includes basics such as white space, color, navigation, positioning, mobile ability, typography, and usability.
White space doesn’t have to be white, it simply means that there needs to be blank space on the page. This helps to draw the viewers’ attention to where you want it to go, as well as gives contrast to the page. When done right, leaving white space helps to balance out the page and set a more upscale tone.
The colors that you choose to use on a website will have more of an impact than you might think. The colors chosen should follow these guidelines and more:
- Match the colors to businesses current branding color scheme. Consistency with colors across all platforms and with your logo is best.
- Colors should not be too overpowering or overwhelming. You don’t want the colors to get in the way of the message.
- The colors should also compliment each other. Clashing colors are abrasive to the eye.
- More bold colors should be used to draw the viewers’ eye to Call To Actions or points of interest.
- More subtle colors should be used as backgrounds or for secondary pieces of information.
- Background colors should work well with font colors. While it might be fun to play around with multiple colors, the most important thing is still readability when it comes to text.
Navigation on a website refers to how the menu is set up and how the viewer finds where they need to go. One of the most frustrating things is being on a website and not being able to figure out where to go. This can be because the information is too congested, or that it is simply not labeled well or hard to find. Some items to remember when creating a website’s navigation are:
- Always label menus or buttons clearly enough so that people know where they will be going when they click on it. Simple descriptive text is best.
- The menu and buttons should be in easy to find places and coincide with where viewers are used to finding these links on a website.
- At least the main menu needs to be on every page.
- On larger sites, add in a site map, breadcrumbs, or even sub headings to help people when they might get lost.
Positioning and Alignment
When arranging elements of a website design, where pieces are placed truly matters. Where the element is placed on the page dictates the order in which the viewer will see it. Having the proper flow of pieces and information to walk a visitor through the website is vital.
Alignment comes secondary to this point but is still a necessary aspect to address. Once pieces are all placed in the correct positions, they should also all be consistently aligned. Nobody wants to surf a website where everything is different sizes, has different amounts of space between, and overall feels off.
All websites today should be built for mobile viewing as well as the traditional desktop view. There will undoubtedly be a large number of your websites visitors coming from smart phones. When they reach your website, you want them to stay! If the website needs to be zoomed in on, played around with, and is hard to see on their phone, they will leave as quickly as they got there.
The text on your website says a lot about your brand. It helps to set a visual tone and can bring a lot to the design. Some aspects that should be addressed in relation to typography are:
- Font style
- Font size
- Text colors
- Spacing, length of lines, and paragraph styles
Last but certainly not least is usability. Testing out how your website works and making sure that it is easy to use is probably the most important step. Some tips to remember when designing for usability are:
- Think about what people are used to and expect. Stick to standards of design such as having the menu at the top or on the side, using certain symbols of use, etc.
- Understand what the user might want to experience. What are they going to try to do when they get to the site, and what might they search for? Knowing what they might be trying to achieve will help you to plan a successful and accessible design for them.
In the end, when a potential customer visits your site, make sure that they are impressed! There are so many other options online for every sector of business or product. If a visitor doesn’t see what they want they will bounce off your page immediately and visit your competitor.
Christopher Dill is the lead SEO ninja at The Dill Design. He has a passion for helping businesses grow through digital inbound marketing and increasing organic sales and conversions. Chris also manages responsive web design projects for SMB’s.