Your business website is the internet face of your company, so it’s of the utmost importance to create a great website design that will appeal to website visitors. There are a number of rules that you can use in order to create a great website, and this article discusses the most important principles to remember. These principles are all intended to accomplish two things – to make sure that your website adheres to its purpose, and to offer clear communication with your website visitors.
#1 Make Your Website Accessible
There are two things that are absolute musts for every website. First, it must be mobile-friendly. Most internet traffic now originates from cell phones and tablets, rather than desktop computers, so if your website isn’t designed with those mobile devices in mind, internet users will go elsewhere. Secondly, you must optimize your website for loading time. Internet users won’t wait around for a website that loads too slowly. They want instant gratification, and that means a website that loads quickly.
#2 Choose Typefaces and Fonts Carefully
There are endless numbers of cool fonts available for download, but most of those fonts are not suitable for websites. A website requires fonts that are easy to read, without distracting or slowing down the website visitor. Sans Serif fonts, such as Arial or Verdana, are great choices for text that is easy to read, and the ideal font size is 14-16 point. In order to streamline your website design, use a maximum of 3 typefaces, with a maximum of 3 different point sizes. If you choose to use different typefaces, they should at least be similar to each other.
#3 Make the Right Color Selections
It’s important to use a palette that has been well thought out and to use complementary colors. Choose a dominant color that ties in with your brand, along with a couple of other shades close to the dominant color. Vibrant colors are used to create strong emotions and should be used very sparingly, so as to not turn off the visitor. Use high-contrasting colors for the text and background, to make reading easier. If it’s too hard to see the text, no one’s going to try to read it.
#4 Use High-Quality Images
Images are great for websites. In fact, many internet users now prefer to get their information from images and videos, rather than from written text. Infographics, videos, and graphics have become very popular ways of conveying information through a website. Make sure your image choices are of high quality, and only use images that you created yourself or have permission to use.
#5 Navigation Should Be Easy and Intuitive
This is one of the most important principles of website design. Internet users don’t want to have to put forth the effort to navigate through websites, so make the navigation as intuitive and as easy as possible for them. Use a logical page hierarchy, meaning that the most important information is displayed first. Leave bread crumbs on each page of your website, meaning that there is a link back to the landing page, and design clickable buttons to make it easy to navigate from one page to another.
#6 Follow the 3-Click Rule
The 3-click rule is a good rule of thumb for any website. A website visitor should not have to make more than 3 clicks to get to any part of the website. For that matter, a website visitor shouldn’t have to put much thought into how to navigate to another part of your website. They should be able to see at a glance what they need to do.
#7 Use a Grid-Based Layout
Many people who create websites don’t have any idea about the importance of layout. Where you choose to present information on the page, and how you make that information look, makes a big difference in how website visitors perceive your page. Rely on grid-based layouts. This means that you should arrange content into sections, columns, and boxes to give a balanced feel to the page. People prefer symmetric, balanced appearances over asymmetric.
#8 Use F-Pattern
Use an F-pattern design to display your information. This is exactly what it sounds like. Display the information in the order of how important it is, from left to right, and top to bottom. This is the natural way of reading for most people and makes it easy for them to see your important content with a single glance.
#9 Colors and Shapes Create Perceptions
You can also use layout to give the perception that certain things go together on your website. For example, you can group similar elements together by shape, color, and shading. This is a good idea for certain design elements, such as your navigation menu and footer, to give the impression that they are part of a whole. On the other hand, if you want visitors to see certain items as different from each other, then make sure you give the perception of difference by making them appear differently.
#10 Use Appropriately-Sized Buttons
When designing the navigational tools and buttons on your website, make the buttons a reasonable size that is easy to see. The size of the button should be proportional to its expected frequency of use. So if you expect the button to be used often, make it a little larger. If you expect it to rarely be used, make it a little smaller.
Using these guidelines will go a long way in designing your website in a way that will appeal to visitors. Visitors that find your website attractive will share that information, and that sharing will pull even more visitors to your website. Ultimately, web design always goes back to one main idea – design your website so that each visitor can access every bit of information in the easiest possible manner.
About the Author:
John Stone is a business consultant at Algorithm Seo Sydney and Nirmal Web Design. Through years of experience, he became a devout believer in the notion that form should always follow function and that developing the ability to think outside of the box is a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur. You can get in touch with him on Twitter.
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