FUNDAMENTALS OF GOOD WEBSITE DESIGN
March 18, 2015
TRENDS IN WEBSITES
In the past few years there have been lots of advances in web design and development. The previously ‘traditional’ layouts have now been replaced with more adventurous creative and alternative navigation.
With the huge increase in mobile and responsive devices, the way users use/navigate through sites has changed. Gone are the days where users don’t like to scroll, and instead it’s the opposite in that long pages with minimal clicks are becoming the norm. This allows for easy viewing no matter the device. Research also shows that sites with scrollable pages retain users on their site for longer periods of time as they get absorbed by the continual content.
So if you are about to design a new or revamped website as part of your digital marketing strategy, what kind of things should you consider incorporating to ensure that it is both on trend and the best showcase for your brand as possible?
THREE CRITICAL PAGES
THE HOME PAGE
The home page is the shop window to the website! It is essential to have all the relevant information on there, and perhaps also excerpts from other areas of the site. For example you could show the top three FAQs and/or latest news, and users can then either go directly to that question/article or the landing page for that section.
THE CONTACT PAGE
Whether the contact page is embedded into the home page or a completely separate page, it is essential to make it very clear and easy how to get in touch with the website. Contact details and CTAs (call to actions / buttons) should feature around the site encouraging users to get in touch.
THE FAQ PAGE
This is going to be a popular page on the site so needs to be aesthetically pleasing and also provide good user experience. These are also good ‘search terms’ as far as SEO is concerned – therefore the best thing to do is have a landing page, in broken down into sections, with the answers on individual pages.
It is also essential that FAQ can easily be understood – therefore they need to be written in the language of your potential clients, not necessarily yours. You may want to consider personalising the questions as if they have come from customers, which is very engaging and reinforces the fact they are genuine frequently asked questions.
It’s also important to include a ‘search feature’ in the FAQs so that users can easily find what they are looking for. Perhaps include a pop out form for users to pose their own questions to you in case they want to know something that isn’t initially covered.
GOOD LAYOUT FEATURES
NAVIGATION SHOULD ALWAYS BE VISIBLE
Some websites make full use of the user’s entire screen with no visible navigation when you first land on the page, but as you start to scroll down, the navigation scrolls in from the top and fixes itself so it’s always visible. There is certainly no ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to navigation position – it is personal preference but does need to be thought through.
GOOD BALANCE AND DISPLAY OF IMAGE AND CONTENT
A good website needs a balance between image and text. It is also effective to vary the layout between some pages where imagery and content are split on the left and right of the screen, and some where the content overlays the imagery. This is a good way to keep the user engaged.
BANNERS BETWEEN EACH SECTION
Another aspect of effective design is break up different sections with strong banners. This is very appealing to the eye and therefore engaging to any visitor. They have the effect of making you want to scroll down to find out more.
The imagery you use on your website is hugely important – the right imagery even releases dopamine / serotonin. By using strong and appropriate imagery your website can make the visitors feel instantly happier, and they will in turn relate this happiness to your brand.
It is crucial to make sure that your website looks as good as it can visually, and reflects your brand. As well as the imagery itself, think about the use of white space so that the sections between the imagery are clean and clear and feel refreshing. Also consider the size and weight of the font, and the spacing of all elements. Go for a look that “just works”!
We hope that this article has given you some food for thought about website design. Do browse through some of the links to client examples on this website too – we hope you find them inspiring!