The success of any website entirely depends on how its web design is.
Effective web design is judged by the users of the website and not the website owners. There are many factors that affect the usability of a website, and it is not just about form (how good it looks), but also function (how easy is it to use).
Although what constitutes as good design can sometimes be subjective, there are generally some rules to follow.
Good web design always caters to the needs of the user. Are your web visitors looking for information, entertainment, some type of interaction, or looking to transact with your business (e-commerce)? Each page of your website needs to have a clear purpose, and to fulfill a specific need for your website users in the most effective way possible.
People who come online are often seeking information quickly, so it is important to communicate clearly, and make your information easy to read and digest. Some effective tactics to include in your web design include: organizing information using headlines and sub headlines, using bullet points instead of long windy sentences, and cutting the chase.
Consistency in website design matters, a lot. Give your attention to match design elements throughout each of the pages. It should be understood that your fonts, sizes, headings, sub-headings, and button styles must be the same throughout the website. This is something that should be planned in advance. Finalize the fonts and the right colors for your texts, buttons etc, and stick to them throughout the development. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) would come in handy to keep the complete information about design styles and elements.
4. Typography & Readability
In general, Sans Serif fonts such as Arial and Verdana are easier to read online (Sans Serif fonts are contemporary looking fonts without decorative finishes). Fonts that are come installed default, or web-safe fonts are recommended.
The ideal font size for reading easily online is 16px and stick to a maximum of 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes to keep your design streamlined.
A well thought out colour palette can go a long way to enhance the user experience. Complementary colours create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colours for the text and background will make reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colours create emotion and should be used sparingly (e.g. for buttons and call to actions). Last but not least, white space/ negative space is very effective at giving your website a modern and uncluttered look.
A picture can speak a thousand words, and choosing the right images for your website can help with brand positioning and connecting with your target audience. If you don’t have high quality professional photos on hand, consider purchasing stock photos to lift the look of your website. Also consider using infographics, videos and graphics as these can be much more effective at communicating than even the most well written piece of text.
Navigation is about how easy it is for people to take action and move around your website. Some tactics for effective navigation include a logical page hierarchy, using bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons, and following the ‘three click rule’ which means users will be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
Placing content randomly on your web page can end up with a haphazard appearance that is messy. Grid based layouts arrange content into sections, columns and boxes that line up and feel balanced, which leads to a better looking website design.
8. “F” Pattern design
Eye tracking studies have identified that people scan computer screens in an “F” pattern. Most of what people see is in the top and left of the screen and the right side of the screen is rarely seen. Rather than trying to force the viewer’s visual flow, effectively designed websites will work with a reader’s natural behaviour and display information in order of importance (left to right, and top to bottom).
9. Load time
10. Mobile friendly
It is now commonplace to access websites from multiple devices with multiple screen sizes, so it is important to consider if your website is mobile friendly. If your website is not mobile friendly, you can either rebuild it in a responsive layout (this means your website will adjust to different screen widths) or you can build a dedicated mobile site (a separate website optimised specifically for mobile users). This is also why some web developers have a mobile-first mantra.