Basic Principles of Good Website Design
Imagine this: you hear about a new company that recently launched a website to market their products or services. They claim to provide just what you’re looking for, so you type their domain into your browser and hit enter.
You find yourself waiting longer than two seconds for their entire page to load—visuals and all. After loading the page in its entirety, you’re already frustrated; these days, more than two seconds is way too long.
Regardless, you begin scanning the home page for a link that will take you closest to your desires; but ultimately, you end up lost and confused. Not to mention, the color scheme is basically burning your eyes. You think to yourself, what is the purpose of this website? And before you know it, you’ve clicked the tiny little “x” at the top of the browser.
Web design is crucial to bring in consistent traffic and a substantial amount of success to any website. If you are looking to launch a website, let’s first get you understanding some of the basic principles of good website design that will make your site shine with success.
Navigation: Easy Does It
Site navigation is a critical aspect of website design. When visitors initially reach a webpage that they’re unfamiliar with, the first thing their eyes will typically search for is links to pages that will lead them to where they want to be.
If, for example, a person is navigating an online clothing retailer for the first time, searching for jeans, they will automatically be on the lookout for a button that says “Jeans.” In that case, the site should position that button—and other popularly searched pages—to where it can easily be found.
Logical and simple website navigation is key. Users want to be able to find what they came to your site for as effortlessly as possible, but they are not usually willing to dig deep to find the way; instant gratification is what will keep them coming back. Place your most sought out page links at the top of the site so visitors’ eyes will instantly dart in that direction.
Image source: Unsplash
Another helpful measure for effective navigation is to apply guidelines to your website. Nobody wants to question exactly what the website is featuring or which services it provides. Often, users appreciate being walked through available features and guided through how to get what they initially came to find. Guidelines are simple, user-friendly approaches to walking visitors through a website and create a quality experience.
Providing compatibility on both a desktop browser and a mobile device is very important in today’s world. These days, most people tend to search a site and navigate through it using mobile devices (e.g., phones, tablets, etc.); however, you will still have users who would rather view your website on a desktop computer. Regardless, supporting all screen-types is an essential ingredient in a website’s success rate.
Be Your Own Audience
A website is only as useful as you design it to be. However, it’s hard to know how your audience is viewing the site if you’re not looking at it from their perspective. Until you can accurately understand what they are looking for, you won’t be able to truly cater to your users’ needs.
Think about how viewers will react to your website. Does the site serve its purpose? Is it apparent and easy to understand? Ask yourself what users are getting out of their experience on your site, and then make the necessary adjustments to ensure satisfaction.
If you’re regularly guaranteeing that your users will benefit from visiting your website, they’ll be much more likely to continue coming back or even recommend your site to their friends.
Please the Eye
In general, most people don’t want to visit a website that is unappealing and unaesthetic. Visual aesthetics play a large role in website credibility. Aesthetics provide a nice support system for webpage usability, but only when implemented carefully. Not only do visuals allow you to make your website look good, but they also give viewers an impression of the people behind the scenes.
Visuals and images should be enabled to set the tone for your website and immediately convey its genre. Any images should coincide with the message that you want to send and how you want to communicate with your audience. Color palettes are also a large piece to this puzzle, as they can provide a stable mood to your website and add to the overall appeal.
Implementing the F-Pattern
Another concept that can easily upgrade any website’s visuals is to use an F-pattern on your pages. An F-pattern describes the way that our eyes read online content. Typically, viewers tend to scan a webpage rather than read it in its entirety.
The way that eyes tend to scan creates an “F” shape on the page. First, we read across the top horizontally; second, we read down the left-hand side of the page for bulleted or numbered lists; and last, we read across the page once again for any headings or bolded text.
If a website is designed for viewers to easily maintain the natural system of reading online content, they are more likely to be visually pleased.
Not unlike the fictional scenario I painted earlier, people are much more inclined to click out of a website if it’s taking too long to load.
Let’s face it: it’s 2020. Users are accustomed to smooth, fast-loading websites. Impatience has been ingrained inside each of us in this day of technology.
In that regard, it is extremely important to keep your website loading quickly to avoid your visitors becoming frustrated and clicking out. Improve user experience by minimizing HTTP requests and minifying and combining your files.
Consistency is Key
It is also essential to stick to one style of design across the entirety of your website to avoid viewer distaste. As a site visitor, clicking from one style on a page to a different style on the next is merely confusing. Maintain a solid design in things like font, sizing, and button styles across the entire website to keep users engaged.
Stick to Conventional
Resist the urge to try new things—that is, new things regarding your website’s layout or functionality. While it may seem monotonous to stick to conventional web design concepts, they may be a useful detail that will keep users interested.
When your website is similar to others in terms of usability, users are much more likely to stick around. It is pretty appealing to a viewer to not have to think about how to use your site because they are familiar with how websites usually work. Reduce the learning curve and avoid cognitive overload by ensuring that your website is easily followed and similar to what users may be accustomed to, rather than branching out into potentially confusing realms.
Use Effective Writing and Content
One of the most central principles in a good web design is the content that a website is presenting to its audience. Reading differs strongly from print to the Web, meaning that employing effective writing strategies should be a key focus.
There are various things to keep in mind when adding written content to your page. It is vital that your website’s writing gets down to business. Any fluff, technical words, or unnecessary content will, in no doubt, be overlooked.
Users are only reading because they need to—it can only be assumed that they are not hoping to sift through advertisement-language to find the main point. Break up large chunks of text and keep your paragraphs short, simple, and easy-to-read with plain language.
The Principles of a Good Website Design
So, there you have it. Not only can these principles aid in user traffic, but they can also give you credibility through having made your website usable and well-functioning. Applying some of the simplest concepts to your website can ultimately make or break its success.
Do you need additional help with designing your website? Whether you have a website that needs optimizing or you’re looking to start a new site from scratch, Still Up Marketing is here to help! Contact us to discuss your goal.