You can find tons of different web design articles, scattered all over the internet. Many with their own unique perspective on what constitutes the perfect website. All these different viewpoints, only prove one thing. Which is, that design is subjective. What one person may like, another may not.
That said, web design is the most crucial aspect of a website's success. Most visitors to a website proclaim that the design of the site is what they use to determine the credibility of the company. As a result, this then influences things, such as, bounce rates, sales conversions etc.
That brings us to this article, where the approach is much different. In this article, we try to be more objective in our take on web design. Most of the information in this article is more scientific than subjective, with tried and proven design elements you should consider deploying for your website.
Site layout is the most important element of any site. For most web surfers, it’s the layout of the site that determines whether or not they’ll stay on the site. For that reason, you should adopt the same approach to your own web design efforts. If you don’t feel your site looks professional, then the vast majority of visitors will not. You want your site to be structured in a grid like fashion, as that’s the most efficient way of giving it that professional look.
Keep it Simple
When designing your website, you want to fixate on the theme, that less is more. Studies have shown that most web surfers don’t like over cluttered visuals, or complex imagery. In short, the more complex your website design is, the less appealing your visitors will find it.
So what should that mean to you? Besides what’s written above, here are some things for you to think about:
- Pay close attention to your sidebar: More web designers and owners are opting for site themes that don’t even have sidebars. Instead they’re going with single-column designs. This means there are far less distractions on the page, making things more tightly focused.
- Go with a standardized layout: Most people prefer familiarity, which means, you don’t want to sway from conventions. For that reason, you want to go with design elements that are most familiar to the vast majority of your potential visitors. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to stand out. But in a way that is more conservative.
Use White Space
If you’ve recently revamped your website, clearing out all the clutter, leaving a ton of white space. Then you should consider leaving it that way.
White space, or negative space, as it is referred to, by its technical term, is essentially the area of the page that doesn’t attract the viewers’ attention. These areas of the page are usually blank or empty. Although, very dull and boring by itself, when utilised in a more artistic manner, negative space can combine to enhance the overall visuals of a website. Improve legibility and make images around the site more visible.
Make sure you’re making the very best use of your colours. The colour palette that you go with, will determine the overall feel of the site. A website that is well marketed, has a colour palette associated with it. You want the colours to work with the kinds of products or services you are offering. If it’s a website that sells things like toys, then you may want to go with yellows and oranges, rather than blacks and greys. If it’s just a personal blog, then no colour palette is off the cards.
Use People in Pictures
Besides being able to draw a viewer’s attention, including images with people in them, is overall an excellent idea. People love to connect with one another, as much on the web as in real life. It’s why we include pages, on our websites.
There was a case study carried out by Basecamp. Where they were able to increase conversions by over 100%, just by changing their landing pages, which were text-based to ones with large images that included people in the background.
Although simple, it proved to be very effective. However, one thing to note is that, this can all be negated by the use of stock images. Studies have shown that the average individual is highly adept at recognising the difference between an authentic image and a generic one.
For this reason alone, if you do opt to use images that include people in them, then you should definitely go with ones that are real and authentic. Consider including customers or staff members. And stay away from stock images.
Leverage Social Proof
The last web design tip I feel you should be cognizant of, is the conformity bias. Essentially, it centre’s around people having the tendency to do as others do. Which means, if one group of people approve of a particular product, service or action, then others are equally likely to do the very same thing.
One way that you can leverage off this tendency is to use social proof on your website. If you are able to show that others feel positively about your content, site, service or product, then you can be sure that others will too.
There are several ways that you can do this, but one of the quickest and simplest ways is to use things like social shares. Testimonials are also great, along with media mentions. If you would like to learn more about this subject area, then I recommend you do your own independent reach. As it is well worth it.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
A couple of years ago, Google introduced the Mobile-Friendly Update, essentially penalising websites that are not compatible on mobile devices.
We live in a society that does, where people are almost entirely dependent on mobile devices. Thus, when an end user visits your website on a mobile device that expects to be able to visualise its contents, just as they would if they were on a laptop or desktop unit. Ultimately, consideration must go into user experience when designing your website, and a responsible design, forms an integral component of that.
Preparation is the key, if you know what design you want - then, you will be able to design your website the way you want. Check out some webinars or podcasts about internet business start ups to widen your horizon.
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Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website.
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