Web design that strikes the right balance between stylish presentation, relevant content and ease of use will quite rightly gain plaudits, increase brand awareness and increase visitor numbers.
With that in mind, here are 7 principles of good web design that will help meet those goals.
A purpose to every element:
Written detail, appropriate graphics and ease of navigation on every page should be used to maximum effect. Wastage of space by inserting meaningless decoration is unwarranted and if a page does not offer the visitor a clear purpose it should not be there.
Each page should offer content and direction that gives a visitor the information they are seeking and that any directional icons or elements a user clicks on takes them to the most appropriate location. Insufficient or unclear navigational pointers that land them elsewhere will serve to confuse, frustrate and discourage future visits.
Consistency of design:
Start with the intention of matching design elements on each page. This means that the structure of such things as headings and sub-headings, font, text sizes and button style choice as well as all other repeat and grouped detail appearing on different pages remains consistent.
It is an honourable undertaking to try and remember each and every detail along with its relevance, but a far better solution is to make full use of CSS stylesheets. This will record comprehensive detail and accurate information on styles of design and other elements used.
Recording and storing details of such things as individual element names, specific tags and attributes allows instant electronic recall whenever required rather than having to delve deeply into your memory bank. It also allows you to free your mind for far more important and creative tasks ahead.
Navigation must be intuitive:
Any web designer worth their salt should place navigation on a high pedestal. It is a core element of website structure and satisfactory browsing experience.
The use of keywords in a multi-level navigation menu will go a long way to achieving desired results and please be sure to add a site map.
Design – the F-Pattern factor:
When site design is underway you will be assessing text placement options in relation to graphics per page. You need to avoid ‘too busy’ but neither do you want too much blank space.
Directional flow of text and where the most important points you wish to convey should be placed is also something to be addressed.
The vast majority of related studies clearly show that text flowing from left to right, which is the natural reading and writing pattern for most western countries attracts and holds a visitor’s attention most effectively.
Regarding those important points you need to convey, these should be placed in the top left section and bottom right hand section.
Maintain an ordered layout:
Randomly placed snippets of text, images dropped here, there and anywhere, or forms placed in different positions on each page leave visitors bewildered. The most user-friendly approach is to adopt a grid-based layout.
This orderly method of alignment should be maintained per page with text in solid blocks and images as well as buttons placed so the user quickly picks up your general layout design. This approach adds style and substance to the design and ticks the correct ‘user friendly’ box.
Consider colour with care:
The colour combinations you choose to complement the design are an emotive matter. Certain colour combo’s turn people on, others turn them off.
Your choice should make an impact on visitors and reflect the type of business you are designing for. The key here is balance. Don’t go overboard on the amount of colours used and don’t forget to take advantage of white space.
As a recommendation you should look to use 3 or 4 colour tones for the complete website.
Speed of page load:
Slow page loading = User impatience. The reality is that if your pages are taking anything over 3 seconds to load the likelihood is that you are losing a chunk of potential customers.
Make sure you keep them where you want them by designing lightly enough to allow near-instantaneous access.
A Sound base to build on:
These 7 principles of good web design are by no means the be all and end all of your challenging task but following them while adding your own expertise will achieve the results you are looking for.
SGF Services is a marketing and digital design company based in Bangkok serving both local and international clients. If you would like to discuss your web design requirements, contact one of our friendly advisors today!