If you’re tasked with commissioning or creating a website design for your company, or for yourself, then you have a lot of tough choices ahead of you. Website design is the single most important thing you can do for making a good online impression. More important than your content or what people are saying about your site, is what the daily influx of visitors sees and experiences when they first arrive at your website.
So without wasting much of your precious time, let’s find out which website design is right for you?
Pay attention to this, because it is important. Responsive design is the new buzzword you have to take seriously in online design and marketing. Having a responsive design will ensure that visitors from all browsers and devices will be able to see the same website, and it will also win you brownie points with Google. In fact, Google will de-rank your site if it is not responsive.
A responsive design is more than just having a site that works on mobile devices. It means that you have a single version of your site that looks the same on all devices. Imagine if a visitor was coming to your site from a desktop computer and began researching a product or service at night. Then, they get to work in the morning and look at the site on their mobile phone, but it is a different version of the site. It wouldn’t matter that the site looked fine on mobile. It would matter to them that there was no continuity, that the site had different content on the mobile version. Having a responsive design will ensure that your visitors don’t get frustrated.
The appearance of your website is a little more subjective than whether it is responsive or not, but it is worth talking about. Your site should appear professional, polished, and clean. If this website is reflecting your company, users will get a sense of the trustworthiness of the company by how the website looks and feels to them. Your website could be the first, and only, impression that a customer has of your company.
An appealing and attractive site is a lot more likely to give off a positive impression and make the visitors want to stick around. As more and more sites populate the web, users get tired of seeing the same old websites. They start to hate bad designs. When they arrive at your site, and it has an appealing design and a clear navigational structure, they will stick around – and hopefully bookmark it for future reference. If your site isn’t visually appealing and easy to use, it will be hard to convey information, sell anything, or keep users loyal to your brand.
What makes a website appealing? There are some basic guidelines to adhere to. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of where to start.
- Smart use of color: the right color scheme with just two or three different colors that go well together is a good idea. Use blue, green, or other soothing colors, and be liberal with negative space. Think about how powerful a website Google is, and look at all the negative space they use on their homepage. Function is more important than color, and too much color can distract.
- Text that is easy to read: Black text against a white background is best, but other color combinations will work if the color contrast is appropriate. Use fonts that are on all computer systems, and keep the font size for body text to about 12 pts.
- Don’t overdo the graphics: Graphics are powerful ways to get the attention of your audience, but you shouldn’t overdo them. They can distract and clutter a webpage. Use a maximum of three graphics per page. Make each graphic robust and beautiful, and they will hopefully be memorable to your audience. Your graphics, logos, banners, and images can say a lot, but less is more.
- Great photography: One way you can distinguish your website is to have the best pictures you can find. That means purchasing and downloading the highest resolution images from stock photography websites and choosing photos that are extremely crisp and clear. They will make your website look more professional.
- Minimalism is the new professionalism: Follow the KISS formula. Simplicity is best for conveying a professional image. Uncluttered designers let viewers focus on your message, and they show that your website has a clear sense of purpose and seriousness. Too much clutter, distraction, and disorganization looks silly or unprofessional, or worse yet, dysfunctional.
Your Website Has To Meet Basic Usability Standards
A website’s usability is sometimes overlooked, taking a background to design or content. Usability is just as important though. Your website has to be easy to understand, navigate, and read through. Your pages need to load fast, and you need to have a consistent layout throughout the site.