Top Principles for Quality Website Design
When it comes to designing a quality website, many people get hung up on the aesthetics of the site. While aesthetics are important, you will need to focus on more than just how your site looks to ensure a quality design. With so much competition, it’s imperative to ensure your website also is optimized for user experience and usability.
When in doubt, keep your website design simple. Keep in mind that users are coming to your site to find specific information or complete some type of action. The addition of unnecessary design elements can make it more difficult for visitors to accomplish their goals and could even cause them to leave your site. Avoid the use of too many colors, keep the typefaces you use legible, and use graphics sparingly. While graphics can be valuable in improving user experience and giving visitors an alternate way of consuming information, they can also slow page load times and, in some cases, even be distracting. If something does not add value to your website, consider removing it.
Logical Visual Hierarchy
The visual hierarchy of a website will lead visitors to the most important elements of your website first. While the goal of your website is to encourage visitors to take a certain action, this should be done in a natural manner. By adjusting the size, color, and position of certain website elements, you can ensure your website is structured in such a way that visitors will be encouraged to visit those elements first. Put yourself in your visitors’ place when designing the layout of your site.
An intuitive navigation is critical to ensuring the visitors to your site can easily find what they want. Ideally, visitors should be able to arrive on your website and immediately see where they need to click next without needing to think about it too much. Toward this end, keep the primary navigation structure of your website relatively simple. Generally, this is toward the top of the page. Navigation should also be included in the site’s footer. Every page should feature breadcrumbs that allow users to be aware of how they arrived there. Include a search box at the top of your website, giving users the opportunity to search your site by keyword. Keep the navigation on your website to no more than three levels deep. Finally, always make sure links are included in your page copy and be clear about where those links will take visitors.
Maintain a consistent, cohesive look and feel to your website across all pages. This includes color schemes, backgrounds, and typefaces. Not every page of your website needs to have an identical layout. Some pages may require different layouts based on the content and purpose of those pages. However, by using layouts in a consistent manner, you can ensure it is easier for users to understand the type of information they are more likely to encounter on given pages.