We don’t have to tell you that website design is a crucial part of website effectiveness. After all, you’ve probably stumbled upon your fair share of subpar sites and been permanently put off by the poor layout, confusing navigation, cringe-worthy content and overall clunky usability of the design.
You’ve also probably had your socks blown off by websites that are brilliantly put-together. If they’re really good, you likely even felt a little bit envious. And this is a good thing. It means the website is doing it’s job (and that you can learn something).
So, what’s the difference between the good, the bad, and the downright ugly elements of website design? And how to do steer clear of the less desirable traits and straight for the elements that will make your website a stellar example of web design excellence? Read on. We’re about to tell you.
1. Make the Experience Brainless
OK, well, not totally brainless, but your users aren’t looking to have to think really hard when they visit your website. Your visitors are visiting your site to get something, so you need to make it easy for them to get. This means your site has to be self-explanatory and obvious. Don’t be coy. Be clear. Don’t create questions. Give answers!
It should be clear to the user how to get from point A to B, so your navigation and site architecture need to feel intuitive. You can get creative with a lot of elements of your website, but navigation and architecture should never be complex. Keep your visitors on track and keep it simple.
2. Keep it Streamlined
Your user is going to have limited patience, so ensure your website experience is as streamlined as possible. If, for example, they have come to your site to take advantage of a promotional offer, but they have to jump through hoop after hoop to get it, they aren’t going to stick around. Keep the requirements minimal and users are more likely to take the action you wish them to take, whether it be entering an email address or watching a video.
3. Focus, Focus, Focus
Each page should have a content focus and a visual focus. If you can’t keep your user focused, they are going to be too distracted to absorb your message or take a certain action. For example, videos are great as a marketing tool, but they’re distracting if you are trying to get them to read certain copy. Clearly define the core focus of each page, and keep the messaging and design honed in on promoting that end.
4. Write for the Web
Web writing is different from print writing. You need to talk business and keep your language clear. Don’t be convoluted or cute if you want someone to take a certain action: just be transparent. For example, if you want someone to sign up for a mailing list, just write, ‘Sign up!’. It ties back to not exhausting your user’s patience. Get to the point, and get there as quickly as possible while still letting your user know what they need to know. This doesn’t mean your writing should be dry and boring; simply that it does not need to verbose when it can be compendious.
5. Embrace the White Space
It’s a lost art — both in life and in web design. There’s nothing wrong with leaving space. Not every inch of your site has to be jam packed with visuals or content. A little white space can go a long way toward giving your users a much needed cognitive break, which is not only refreshing, but appreciated by your users.
The end result — of all these web design principles — is a more enjoyable user experience: one where users feel relaxed, in control and informed. What does this mean for you? More frequent visits and, ultimately, better user engagement and better business.
Need help creating the best web design for your brand? Contact us!