Below are 10 web design tips to keep in mind when you have your website designed. These tips were formulated with search engine friendliness, user friendliness and usability in mind.
1. Keep it clean and simple
This doesn’t in anyway mean that your site must look empty, boring or clinical, but rather keep it uncluttered and professional no matter what the subject matter. Trying to fill every white space available can be detrimental to the site. Keeping it clean and professional can only benefit both your visitor and your business.
2. Have a focal point
This is especially important when you are selling a product or products or a particular service. It’s VERY important that if a visitor lands up on your website, they DO NOT question what the site is about or get confused or lost. Having a focal point draws attention to important information such as a featured product / service ensuring the visitor knows exactly what you are about when they land up on your website.
3. Easy to use and clear navigation
4. Use fonts wisely
Use a font that is easy to read and make sure to use a colour that isn’t too hard on the eyes e.g. yellow or luminous green. Make use of fonts that won’t be an issue across different browsers or machines. Good raw fonts to be used on website are Arial, Tahoma, Verdana and Century Gothic.
5. Avoid broken links
One of the most irritating things on a website is having broken links or a link that just brings nothing up other than a page not found. Make sure that your website has redirects in place that takes the user to a page apologizing for the missing page or to a decent message that lets the user know that they are on the right site, and that the site isn’t neglected or in a mess. Mod Rewrite (.htaccess, .httpd.conf or ISAPI) can be used to achieve this.
6. Don’t allow just anyone to design your website
Nowadays, almost everyone knows how to build their website. With all the tools that are available now, developing websites couldn’t be easier. That being said, that doesn’t mean you should allow just anyone to build your website. Rather opt for spending some bucks on a website to be designed and built properly which could potentially SAVE you money further down the line. Having your website built professionally will show to your visitors how serious you are about your business – remember that first impressions last!
7. Standardise your website
Keeping a website looking professional is important and one way to do that is to most certainly keep a standard on the website. Make sure each page is consistent with the next e.g. use the same colours, fonts, bullets, link colours, etc throughout the site.
8. Avoid overdoing flashing content
Flash is a powerful tool that is used now to allow websites to have animation and certainly adds to the professional aspect of many sites. Make sure that if you have animation on the website, that it isn’t overdone e.g. animated gifts or moving text on the page – these can distract and in some cases, even annoy a user.
9. Avoid adding music to your site
We’ve implemented music on clients’ website and yes, it can add to a website, but we’ve come to dislike it in our line of work. Music is not only irritating when you really don’t like the music, it takes forever to download and can slow your site down dramatically. Not having a feature which stops the music can also be just as annoying to a visitor. Especially if they have been listening to a song of their choice, and have forgotten to turn down the volume! Avoid adding music if you can – you can very easily lose a visitor who has to wait for the music to load and is then presented with a clip they do not like or cannot switch off. It’s all about impressions, again.
10. VERY IMPORTANT: No More Than 2Â – 3 clicks
This should fall under easy navigation, but we felt this deserved to be mentioned separately. Whether people are on dial up or broadband or some other connection, people do not want to have difficulty finding information on a website. Websites that lead people to different pages that requires them having to click…read… click… read… click… read… can result in losing a client. We live in an era where time is money – people don’t want to drill down deep into a website to find some basic information – this is where both navigation and simplicity work together. This is a very important rule – make sure a user can find important things by having to click no more than 2 to 3 times on the site. The fewer clicks required, the better.