8 Essentials for Website Design

Website design seems easy enough, right?  Create some pages, make it look visually appealing, add your copy, & fine tweek links and your done!  Well its easier said then done.  There is actually a science behind good website design. Not only do you want a website that is visually appealing but also is easy to use. Here are 8 essentials for website design.

1. Simplicity

Have you ever been to a website and become confused by it? Most of us have and in my experience I just leave the site. Sometimes, the confusion can be caused by so much content that its overwhelming. Simplicity is key when it comes to website design. Visitors land on your website because they are looking to complete some action or to find some specific piece of information. Don’t add unnecessary design elements to your website if they serve no real functional purpose. Simplicity creates easy usability for your website visitors. Here are some examples:

  • Colors: Do not use the whole rainbow in your website. VisualModo.com saysuse only three colors – make sure two of these are your brand colors and the other one should be white”. The reason being for white is that it gives your website a clean & professional look.
  • Fonts: Also referred to as typeface, fonts chosen for your website should be easy to read. Apply the same color rule above to the amount of colors used for your fonts. In regards to the number of fonts, 3 is considered the maximum amount. Ideally, you want your website to be uniform across all pages.
  • Graphics: Graphics, such as infographics, videos, etc., should only be used to complete a task or perform a specific function such as providing relevant information.

2. Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement and organization of a website so that visitors naturally go to the most important elements first. For instance, a newspaper article has a large headline, a smaller sub-headline, and then the body of the article. The sizing of the text helps readers determine what to read next. When it comes to user experience, the goal of your website is to lead visitors to complete a desired action. Visual hierarchy enables this by creating a natural and enjoyable feel to your website. 

3. Navigability

Make sure to have an easy way for your visitors to navigate where they want to go on your website.  Visitors shouldn’t have to think about where they should click next to access the information they want. Here are some guidelines:

  • Your navigation bar should be simple and at the top of every page.
  • Include navigation in the footer of your site for ease of access.
  • Don’t offer to many navigation options on a page.
  • Include links within your content that are relevant.
  • Include a search box if its applicable.

4. Consistency

As mentioned before in this article, consistency is key. Your website should look uniform across all pages in terms of font, colors, navigation & even the tone of your writing. This doesn’t mean that every page should have the same layout. 

Instead, you should have different layouts for different types of pages. (Example: your blog posts should use the same layout.)

This will make it easier for visitors to understand what type of information they will find on a given page.

5. Accessibility

In 2018, a large majority of internet users are using a mobile device. According to Statista.com, mobile devices accounted for 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide. In order to provide a great user experience, your website needs to be responsive to the different types of devices your visitors are using. A responsive design is when content is resized and moved around to fit different sized devices. Accessibility doesn’t just mean mobile friendly.  It also includes adding alt-text to all your images. According to WebAIM.com, “Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content in web pages”. Essentially, alt-text describes the picture so if a visitor is using a screen reader or their browser doesn’t load images, the visitor will know what the picture is about. This also relates to search engine optimization but that’s another story.

6. Conventionality

There are certain elements that over the years all website have put into place. These are called conventions.  ConversionUplift defines conventions as “an established design norm that web users have become accustomed to expect websites to follow”.

For example:

  • The main navigation is at the top of a page.
  • Having a company logo at the top left of a page.
  • Clicking a logo will return you to the home page.
  • Having links change color or appearance when a visitor hovers over them.
  • Buttons have a 3D effect that makes it apparent it is clickable.

While you may want to seem unique or original by changing any of these elements, I would advise you not to. For instance, one of the most common examples of conventionality in web design is an envelope represents email.

7. Credibility

When designing a website you want it to not only be credible but appear credible as well.  Here are some tips to increase your credibility.

  • Using conventionality, as mentioned above, is one way of making your site more credible. 
  • Make sure your site is clear & honest about what it is selling.
  • Be upfront about what your company actually does by making it easy for the visitor to find. (Home page is a good idea) 
  • List your phone number on every page. 
  • Use simple language so everyone can understand.
  • Correct spelling & grammar.
  • Add a client list

For more credibility tips, check out ConversionXL

8.  User-Centricity

Your web design should be designed with the end user in mind. After all, the whole point of all of this is to get new visitors that convert to customers. The point made above are a great launchpad but for the duration of your website’s journey will be user testing. Conduct user testing, gather feedback, and make the necessary changes based off your new data.

Here are a few user testing tools:

  • Crazy Egg: This tool shows you heat maps, scroll maps, overlay, & confetti clicks.  We use it here at Blue Water Marketing
  • HotJar: all-on-one analytics & feedback software that helps users identify opportunities for improvement using a number of tools including:
    • Heatmaps
    • Visitor Recordings
    • Conversion Funnels
    • Form Analytics
    • Feedback Polls
    • Surveys
    • User Tests

Conclusion

Websites should always be built with the user in mind. By creating a simple yet elegant website it will reduce user confusion.

According to Vitamin T, 68% of visitors fail to convert because they don’t think you care about their experience.  Make sure that your website is easy to navigate around. Ensure that all web pages stay consistent in their design and are mobile friendly. Don’t stray away from the norms to give your site more credibility. Do some testing, gather results, and improve your website to make sure you aren’t scaring away any visitors. Remember, your company’s website end goal is to create customers and by following these guidelines you will increase your conversions.

If you need a website built or revamped check out our web design page for more info.

Jay Partington
Blue Water Marketing
Stuart, Florida

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Our digital marketing strategy is built on the foundation of driving measurable results. We take a full-circle approach to online marketing with a focus on increasing conversions, repeat traffic and generating greater brand loyalty.

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