Web design is not just about web design. Since the basic purpose of design is to solve problems, it requires much more consideration to create a professional website.
Some digital agencies don’t really pay attention to these details. They just build a website and publish it online. Though the design trend is there, it is far from enough to be considered good design. The user interface (UI) is bad, user experience (UX) is even worse. This is the reason why bad websites are everywhere.
Most of the business owners don’t have enough understanding relating to the design field. They are more likely focusing their eyes on the visual elements and layout.
So, how do you know if your website design is done professionally and able to represent your business purposes? Read through these must-know web design tips.
The logo is part of your brand. In fact, it is the most important one. So, in relation to the logo, you need to consider these requirements:
- The logo should be placed in the main area, where it becomes the main focus. Normally it is placed on the top left of the header, while some place them in the center.
- A logo has to be visually clear and solid. If your logo has text, make sure it is readable.
- Use two types of dimensions, one for desktop and the other for the mobile screen with retina display.
- Link the logo to the home page of your website for easier navigation.
Easy and Clear Navigation
The navigation system is where your visitors refer to when checking out your website. It has to be visually clear and obvious, yet easy to find. Some considerations when designing your website navigation system are as follow.
- Place them on top, near your logo.
- If you have two level structures, make sure to design them in recognizable categories. Plan them as primary and secondary menus. Tertiary menu is not recommended, as it increases the effort to browse your site.
- Structure your navigation list according to the order of importance. Most important one on top and less important one on the bottom.
Clean, Simple & No Clutter Layout
Your website has to include complete information about your business. This could be the reason why many business owners tend to clutter up their websites with a whole lot of images, videos and other contents, resulting in a very crowded web pages.
A cluttered and overloaded page is absolutely distracting. It confuses the visitors and easy to make them lose the main focus of the page.
Follow these tips to clean and tidy up your website:
- Think about the main focus of each page, especially your homepage. Keep the main contents there.
- Move the less important contents and place them in another page.
- If it is still too much of the contents, consider creating the categories and split the contents on different submenu and pages.
- For articles and text-based contents, make sure to keep your paragraph short. It is recommended to make them less than five to six lines per paragraph.
Narrowing down the contents of each page improve user-experience. It allows your visitors to access information much easier.
Use of White Spaces
Let your pages breathe. Make sure the page has white space. It helps the visitors focused on the initial content.
Some use of white spaces including:
- White space on the left or right side of content. Don’t fill up the whole screen with contents. Instead, reduce the width of content to create white space.
- Shorten the width of your content. Text that is too wide is harder to read. That’s why newspapers and magazines break content in columns.
- Create spaces between paragraphs and images. It is easier to read the information your site has to offer.
Use of Colors
The main reference to colors used in the website is your brand color. It helps improve brand recognition.
Follow these tips to color up your site:
- Follow your brand color and maintain its consistency.
- Other than brand colors, you can choose similar tones, darker or lighter.
- If you want to use other attractive colors to wind up your site, use it in the smaller elements or objects.
- Color can improve user experience by employing it in the certain object, such as your headlines and thin lines to strengthen contents.
Invest in Professional Photography
Professional photography can improve presentation and build trust. Though there are many free photos on the internet even for commercial use, website visitors would recognize these generic photos sooner or later.
Of course, there is a price to pay to acquire professional photography, but these photos are unique to your business and can be used for a relatively long time.
Use Suitable Fonts
Typography plays a big role in the overall visual design. It is a very important element in representing information on your website. The suitable font can strongly represent your brand and improve web design UI significantly.
Here are some tips on implementing fonts in web design.
- Select the right font that could represent your business. For example, serif font represents formality and strength, sans-serif for modern impression, handwriting for fun related website, etc.
- Pick a clear typeface that is easy to read.
- To improve website layout visually, use web fonts for much more selection of typefaces.
- It is recommended to use no more than two font families to ensure faster loading time.
- Make sure to define the right font family and their size for each heading (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
Responsive Web Design
As the use of mobile devices emerges, all website should be responsive to ensure easier preview. Responsive design automatically adapts the pages to any screen with any resolutions and browser size. It improves user experience making it easier to access website information and increase conversion rate.
Do not Use Flash
Flash has its own bright days a couple of years ago and it has been a very good tool to build web-based animation. It even capable of creating motion pictures or video as well, but it has some problems that caused it to lose its greatness. And these are some reasons why it’s starting to fade away since 7 or 8 years ago.
- It requires a plugin to load. Some internet users don’t understand this, causing Flash-based websites to lose a lot of traffic.
- It is heavy to load.
- It is not supported by mobile device makers.
- It is not responsive, until the latest version.
- The rise of HTML5 that is much lighter and able to create animation, although it is not as good as Flash animation.
I was a heavy user of Flash. In fact, it was the first web design tool I learned. My first and many of the earlier websites I designed were developed in full Flash. Its interactivity and features were absolutely gorgeous.
A great website showcases good implementation of the content strategy. Your website needs valuable contents for long-term marketing strategy.
Content strategy focuses on developing the usefulness of the website itself. If your website is not armed with good contents though it is well designed, there’s no point for visitors to access it.
Following are the best tips for content strategy.
Your content should be placed in the right place within the right pages.
There are two types of contents:
- Contents that don’t need frequent updates such as company information, product and service information, contact details, etc.
- Contents require frequent updates, such as company news, events, announcements, promotions, articles, etc.
You need to ensure the right placement and arrangement of these contents.
Read the following for the best content strategy tips
- Website content includes text, image, and video.
- Your navigation should reflect the purpose of contents.
- Your contents should be easily accessible.
- You need to arrange and separate your contents in recognizable categories. You can’t place company information and article with product tips on one page.
- Your contents need to be search engine friendly.
It is easy to become a web designer, but it is very hard to become a great one. There’re skills, experiences and deep understanding of user-interface (UI) and user-experience (UX) involved.
We can’t just design a website and publish it online. Deep understanding of client’s business, marketing and value of investment are things we take as main considerations on designing a great website.
Good is never good enough. We need to be great!
Wahidin Wong is a digital marketer. He is also a jazz and bossa lover.