When it comes to web design, abstract isn’t cool. You can’t just wave your brush (or stylus) around in the air and call whatever lands on your page, art. User experience is as much a part of web design, as the design is itself. Which is why we’ve put together our top ten design tips for websites. Go on, have a read. Your website will be all the better for it.
01 Keep it simple!
Now, we know your first instinct will be to jam as many things as you can on there, like a greasy 3am kebab, but hold up and think about it. You’ll soon regret over-crowding your website, just like you do that kebab.
Visitors are directed to your website for one reason; to complete an action. Keep it easy to use and simple to navigate by removing unnecessary clutter. Let’s face it, most people are too lazy to sift through it all, anyway.
02 Visual Hierarchy
Your visitors are here for a reason BUT you can steer this ship any way you want. The power is all yours. Priorities the goals of your website by listing them in a hierarchy, with the most important at the top.
03 Consistency is key
We are creatures of habit, keeping your website consistent throughout will put your users at ease and help their flow. This doesn’t mean you have to be plain Jane and use an identical layout for each page, just keep similar elements consistent so users become aware of the familiarity on your site.
04 Be true to yo’self
Create those branding guidelines and stick to them. When designing your website, ask yourself; is this reflecting your brand’s look and feel? In a world where people are glued to their screens, first impressions count. Always refer back to your guidelines.
Picking colours for your site can be harder than finding matching socks in the morning (excluding all your organised folks out there, we envy you) but there are a few important colour steps to live by.
Make sure you have a high contrast between the text and the background, as screens are already a little harsh on the eyes. Less is more in this situation, you don’t want to combine bright colours with screen glare. Use them sparingly for call to actions to draw your user’s attention to the interesting bits.
Although you might have found the most perfect bold font that best represents your brand, be careful when it comes to the internet; a lot of fonts aren’t supported by the web. You may need to research web fonts that are most suitable for your brand. There are a wide variety out there so get ready to shop. San-serif fonts are usually the top pick, as they are easy on the eyes.
Make sure you pick some old school alternatives that you would be happy with too, as some users are viewing on old browsers that don’t support new fonts. If you don’t have this, the browser will choose for you instead and trust me, you don’t want that.
This is one of those things that you have to pull back those creative urges and shove them under a big heavy rock. As much as you may want to stand out from the crowd, if users expect a navigation to be somewhere it’s not, you’ve broken their expectations along with their trust and you can say bye bye to potential customers. Navigation should be designed with the user in mind, so that they can find what they want, when they want it.
If you have loads of content, you may want to consider breadcrumb navigation to stop users having to abuse that back button.
08 Short and Sweet
Scrolling and scrolling and scrolling…. ain’t nobody got time for that! Keep your content short, sweet and straight to the point. Users want their information and they want it now. Most people scan rather than read every word. Avoid large blocks of content, even try conveying it visually so it’s much more fun. Think about why a user is on that page, bring what they’re looking for to the top and make it easy to find.
These days, up to 80% of websites are viewed on mobile so if you’re not responsive you’re missing out. If you’re making users zoom into tiny navigation or sucking data with big images and videos, people are going to leave your site quicker than you had a chance to blink. The point is to make sure your website is viewable on mobile and easy to navigate at a significantly smaller size.
10 Double check
We all have those old who barely know what the internet is, let alone how to drive it. Which means chances are your flash new website will look out of whack on their old, out-dated browser. Make sure you double check that your website works perfect across all different browsers and is compatible.