An effective website design should fulfil its intended function, conveying a specific message while engaging the visitor. A good website design consists of several factors such as consistency, colours, typography, images, simplicity and functionality.
When designing a website, there are many key factors that influence the perception of the website. A well-designed website can help build trust and drive visitors to take action. Creating a great user experience is all about making sure your website design is optimised for usability (form and aesthetics) and ease of use (functionality).
Here are some tips to help you when considering your next web project.
1. PURPOSE OF THE WEBSITE
Your website needs to adapt to the needs of the user. Having a simple, clear intention on all pages will help the user interact with what you have to offer. What is the purpose of your website? Are you providing practical information, such as 'How to drive'? Is it an entertainment site, such as sports coverage, or are you selling a product to the user? There are many different purposes that websites can have, but there are basic objectives common to all websites;
- Describing knowledge
- Building your reputation
- Generation of potential customers
- Sales and after-sales care
Simplicity is the best way to consider the user experience and usability of your site. Below are ways to achieve simplicity through design.
Colour has the power to convey messages and evoke emotional responses. Finding a colour palette that matches your brand will allow you to influence customer behaviour towards your brand. Limit your colour choices to less than 5 colours. Complementary colours work very well. Pleasing colour combinations increase customer engagement and enhance mood.
Typography plays an important role in your website. It attracts attention and acts as a visual interpretation of your brand voice. Typefaces should be legible and use a maximum of 3 different fonts on a website.
Imagery is any visual aspect used in communication. This includes photography, illustration, video and all forms of graphics. All imagery should be expressive and convey the spirit of the company and embody the personality of the brand. Most of the initial information we consume on websites is visual and as a first impression it is important that quality images are used to create an impression of professionalism and credibility in the minds of visitors.
3. WEBSITE NAVIGATION
Navigation is a wayfinding system used on websites where visitors interact and find what they are looking for. Site navigation is key to visitor retention. If site navigation is unclear, visitors will give up and find what they need elsewhere. Simple, intuitive and consistent navigation on every page is key.
4. F-SHAPED PATTERN READING
The F-based pattern is the most common way visitors scan text on a website. Eye-tracking studies have shown that most of what people see is on the top and left of the screen. The F-shaped layout mimics our natural reading pattern in the West (left to right and top to bottom). An effectively designed website will follow the reader's natural pattern of scanning the page.
5. VISUAL HIERARCHY
Also, visual hierarchy is the arrangement of elements according to importance. This is done through size, colour, imagery, contrast, typography, spacing, texture and style. One of the most important functions of visual hierarchy is to establish a focal point; it shows visitors where the most important information is located.
And one important piece of information. An effective website has both great design and great content. Using attractive language content can attract and influence visitors, converting them into customers.
7. GRID-BASED LAYOUT
Grids help to organise the design and keep the content tidy. A grid helps to align elements on a page and keep it clean. A grid-based layout organises content into a clean, rigid grid structure with columns, sections that are aligned and balanced and impose order and produce an aesthetically pleasing website.
8. LOADING TIME
Waiting for a website to load will result in lost visitors. Almost half of website visitors expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less and will potentially leave a site that does not load in 3 seconds. Optimising image sizes will help your site load faster.
More people are using phones or other devices to browse the web and it is important to consider building a website with a responsive layout, where the site can adapt to different screens.