Like the phrase ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, effective web design is judged by the users of the website and not the website owners. There are many factors that affect the usability of a website, and it is not just about form (how good it looks), but also function (how easy is it to use).
Websites that are not well designed tend to perform poorly and have sub-optimal Google Analytics metrics (e.g. high bounce rates, low time on site, low pages per visit and low conversions). So what makes good web design? Below we explore the top 10 web design principles that will make your website aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, engaging, and effective.
- Load Time
- Mobile Friendly
It is now commonplace to access websites from multiple devices with multiple screen sizes, so it is important to consider if your website is mobile friendly. If your website is not mobile friendly, you can either rebuild it in a responsive layout (this means your website will adjust to different screen widths) or you can build a dedicated mobile site (a separate website optimised specifically for mobile users).
It is easy to create a beautiful and functional website, simply by keeping these design elements in mind. Have you got a website design that needs reviewing or optimising? Or perhaps, you are planning a website and you are looking to get the design right from the ground up. Either way, these principles of effective web design can help your website be more engaging, useful, and memorable for visitors.
A picture can speak a thousand words, and choosing the right images for your website can help with brand positioning and connecting with your target audience. If you don’t have high quality professional photos on hand, consider purchasing stock photos to lift the look of your website. Also consider using infographics, videos and graphics as these can be much more effective at communicating than even the most well written piece of text.
Navigation is about how easy it is for people to take action and 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.
- Design and Appeal
Your website should be visually appealing, professional and exciting. Remember, it’s reflecting you, your company, your products and your services. Your website may be the first, and only, impression a potential customer sees of your company. You cannot make a second first impression!
If your users feel like they are on a 15 year old webiste, then it’s like going to a charity shop with a dusyty aroma and outdated material.
Keep your design looking fresh and clean and intertesting!
There are too many websites that are cluttered and unkempt. The visitor has so much to do that they end up doing nothing. If you want your website to be effective then it has to be simple.
Take a look at Apple’s website, and then visit their stores. One of the main things you will notice is how simple everything is. Keep your websites simple and straightforward and your visitors will take action.
- Easy to Contact You
Is it easy to contact you? Do your visitors have to scroll all over the place, up and down then press on a contact button to contact you? Display your contact number right at the top of your website – great for new customers who want to pick up the phone and call – especially good for returning customers who know who you are but just need to place an order quickly!
Your content should be easy to understand and targeted to the needs of your customers. Write about how your company is going to help them achieve what they are looking for.
How your content reads is very important!
Remind them of the type of problems they are likely to be having and how you can solve them.
But remember it’s not all about you – its all about your customer and what they need.
It’s nice to know a little company history and who you are but don’t keep writing about yourself.
Use easy to read fonts and colours that stand out from the background. Black text on white background is far better than green on a brown background; keep in mind some of your viewers may be colour-blind.
A well thought out colour palette can go a long way to enhance the user experience. Complementary colours create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colours for the text and background will make reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colours create emotion and should be used sparingly (e.g. for buttons and call to actions). Last but not least, white space/ negative space is very effective at giving your website a modern and uncluttered look.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Of course it’s all very well having a great looking website, easy to read, easy to contact you, lots of nice images but it’s NO GOOD if you don’t ever get any visitors!
Google promotes pages it thinks are authority pages to the top of its rankings. It’s your job to create authority pages. In simple terms this involves writing content into pages and ‘meta-data’ into the code.
We are experts in getting you found in Google
You should include keywords that your prospective customers will type into the search engine to find you and content that is interesting and relates to the key-words people are searching on.
Google are constantly changing their algorisms and this means you need to constantly change your own indivual website SEO too.
If you’ve not made any changes to your website in the last 6 months, there’s a good chance your competitors have! And if they have, there is a good chance they are ranking higher than you in Google!