WEBSITE DESIGN ESSENTIALS
Today I want to share my top 5 website design essentials. As well as fantastic looking websites, I see so many which have some fundamental design flaws. For example, we have all looked at a website and been put off a purchase because the product wasn't easy to find amongst the clutter. I've talked about font styles previously, and they can affect your perception too.
1 MAKE A PLAN
Before you begin, you should always sit down and think about what you are trying to achieve with your website. Consider the really fundamental things - is it a shop? Do you need a blog, or a forum? How are customers going to contact you? What do you want to say? Make a list of crucial content and curate copy and photos before you start.
2 KEEP IT SIMPLE
Don't get carried away. It's tempting to add more and more pages and over complicate your site, but if you have thought about what you need to say and planned an idea of how you want to say it, then your site layout should follow naturally. Your site has to be easy to navigate so consider options like one page scrolling using anchors to refer to your menu. You can use side navigation as well as the traditional horizontal menu at the top and your header [where the menu lives] can scroll with your site or stay frozen at the top. Don't forget to incorporate a back to top button as well.
When thinking about your font and colour scheme, I have covered this in #TipsOnTuesday previously here, but these should reflect your brand identity. Don't have a brand identity? Create one before you begin!
3 FONT IS CRUCIAL
I can't emphasise this enough. When I see a website written in Comic Sans I can't take it seriously. When I see a site where all the text is centered and underlined, or three or four fonts are used with no consistency, I can't help thinking it looks really unprofessional. It doesn't take much effort to ensure your font is uniform throughout. By all means use a different typeface for your headings, but do be consistent. Untidy fonts look to me as though the designer hasn't cared about the end result. If they don't care about that, how are they going to treat you?
A really busy site is hard work for your site visitor to look through. Your visitors don't want to work that hard! People who have found you in a search engine [because of course you have read my blog about SEO here] are generally searching for one specific thing. Your site appears to have the answer..... but it's not immediately obvious, so they click away. This is especially true if you have a shop, and Wix offers all sorts of tools to help you organise your shop so the layout is clean and the prospective buyer can easily find what they are looking for. Even if you have hundreds of products it is possible to categorise them in a neat layout. Go online and look at the sites where you shop for inspiration. Think about the customer experience and your own pet hates, and try to avoid them on your own website.
5 USE WHITE SPACE
White space is key! It's the area where there is no content. Of course, it needn't be white. Clever use of white space can actually lead the user's eyes around the screen and through your website, a subliminal signal encouraging them to view the content you want them to see. Allowing plenty of white space helps to de-clutter your site too, and makes for a more pleasant viewing experience overall. Once again, you should think about your own experiences using sites you visit regularly and apply those lessons to your own.