Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design
Web designers are much more acquainted with the Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design than the people who actually need the websites. Owing to this fact, it is the duty of every responsible web designer to advice their clients accordingly. It is not uncommon to find a client who insists on having overdone textures or big flashy logos one every inch of the web page. As a layman, this makes perfect sense to the client, but as professionals, web designers know that this will elicit a negative response from the targeted clientele. Getting a positive user experience is perhaps the most important aspect when it comes to creating a website. After all, how users perceive your website will determine whether or not you get their business/ achieve your objective. With that in mind, here are the most basic Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design.
Do: Structure your pages and navigation
Your web pages need to be structured in a manner that is not only appealing to the user, but also easy to follow. People do not have, nor are willing to spend that much time to figure out where to go next. When they come to a website, they want to see the entire layout with one swoop. The kind of grid layouts used matter a lot. A grid system like ‘1kb grid’ is both lightweight and very effective. More modern solutions such as mega menu design can be both attractive and functional for your website as well!
Don’t: Make it difficult for you users to use your website
If people cannot find what they are looking for within the first few seconds of browsing your website, you can be sure that they will leave for one with a much better grid layout and structure. Make sure that your users have absolutely no difficulty when using your website. One great way to do this is to include visible ‘Call-to-action’ buttons. Not only are they easy to spot right away, but they also subliminally direct your users to do what you want them to do on the site.
Do: Focus on what is important
There are very few Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design as important as this one. The whole reason as to why you have a website in the first place should be the main focus of the site. If you have a business that sells one particular item, then make sure that your home page is focused on that item. Every other page should also have additional information on this item and visible call-to-action buttons linking to this item. Do not waste pages on trivial matters.
Don’t: Fill the website with irrelevant content
This will not only take away the focus from what you want the website to achieve, but it will also make the website look directionless and jumbled up. Clients need to know what they are going to get from the moment they click on your link. Filling your website with irrelevant content such as unrelated ads will prove to be a nuisance for those clients who are ready to buy.
Do: Be mindful of color choice
This totally depends on your niche. If you run a website that caters to the aggrieved (funeral services), you do not want the overall color theme to be something too bright and cheerful. This is sombre website and sombre, calmer colors are in order. For example, a flower shop website should use bright, beautiful colors and never use black as their overall theme and so on. It all depends on your target niche. Colors often evoke strong emotions in people. As you list down the Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design, be mindful of the color choice.
Don’t: Use 10 different colors
You also do not need to overdo it when it comes to using colors. Choosing the wrong color scheme is almost as bad as clashing colors on your pages. Not only will your pages look too busy, but they will be annoying to your clients. People generally crave harmony. They find this in colors that blend well into one another. Choose five color schemes at the most and ensure that they blend well with one another. Use websites such as Adobe Kuler to help with your color choices.
Do: Make speed reading / scanning easy
The one thing you need to know about your users is that they are very busy people. Even when you think they have nothing to do, they could be browsing about ten other websites at the same time. What this means is that people will not give you 5 minutes of their time just to try and figure out what you are saying. Make sure that your website is both straight forward and scannable. Use H tags to segment your content and to draw attention to the most important parts. People will then decide to carry out further reading depending on the kind of tags you use. You can also include block quotes, images and pull quotes within the pages.
Don’t: Have blocks of text hundreds of lines long
Your readers are not scanning your website because they do not have a novel to read. Do not give them thousands of words on the same issue if you can break it down to smaller sentences. Make your paragraph tiny and easy to scan and read. Otherwise, your users will click off. No one has the time to read everything you have to say.
Do: Optimize your website for speed
Website Speed optimization has always made the list when it comes to the Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you can be sure that about 80% of your would be clients will click off. That’s just factual statistics. Compress your css files and ensure that the coding is done with page loading speed in mind. Use Content Delivery Networks such as cloudflare or MaxCDN to store static files offsite and decrease load times.
Don’t: Include images for everything
Images, as attractive and impressive as they can be, tend to slow down your websites loading time. There is a reason you can include ‘text’ on all your web pages. Use this as an avenue to put your message across. Only include the most necessary of images so as to improve your site loading time and readability.
Do: Choose the right fonts
It is all about user experience. You do not want your clients to take time to adjust their eyes from one sentence to another by using different fonts. Make sure that the text blocks are in a standardized font all through and you can feel free to switch the titles to different fonts and colors depending on their importance. Choosing the right font will ensure that your clients have a pleasant reading experience which will keep them on the page longer. Make sure that the fonts are not to big nor too small.
Don’t: Use 10 different fonts
Using a million different fonts within your pages cause cases of ‘optical headaches’. When you have so many different fonts within the same page, not only are you causing your clients a tremendous amount of discomfort but you are also making the pages very unpleasant to look at. Which is one thing that drives clients away. Using too many fonts also has a negative effect on website load times, as each font needs to be downloaded.
Do: Make your design look nice
Continuing with the previous point, clients like to look at nice things. It is an innate need in humans. We are naturally attracted to pretty things. That is one main reason why beautiful people have a much easier time when it comes to societal interaction and treatment. Ugly is simply off-putting. people will instantly judge your brand by the kind of web design you have. Make sure that the texture/gradients used draw attention to how beautiful the overall design is.
Don’t: Think you can just slap things together
If you want your brand to be taken seriously, it is best to act the part. Do not present people with a second rate website that looks like a few pieces of old newspapers barely held together by tape. Present them with a professionally done website; one that shows you put some thought into the whole thing and one that tells them you are serious about what you do. That is the only way they will take you seriously as business person and trust you with their payment details.
Do: Focus on Search Engine Optimization
Without Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed your website is, no one will see it. What is the point of going through all this trouble, designing something spectacular only to discover that you are the only one who knows it exists? Pay attention to all the SEO metrics. From page loading speed, H tags, fresh and relevant content, keywords and so on. These are the things that will bring you organic traffic; the kind of traffic you need to rank high on search engines which in turn leads to business.
Don’t: Keyword stuff!
As far as SEO is concerned, this is a big no-no. Not only will your content read poorly, but search engine giants such as Google will heavily penalize your site when they discover that you have been keyword stuffing (and trust us, they will discover it). Ensure that your content reads naturally and that the keywords fall in without appearing forced.
These Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design may sound simple enough, but they can make or break your website and brand.