When you’re staring at a blank canvas, the design process can be very intimidating. Follow these 5 principles of designing a good website that will help you map out your site design and functionalities.
1. Visual hierarchy
What do you want your users to see?
Simply put, the task at hand is to arrange the content clearly. With poorly designed sites, users do not have a sense of where their focus should be as every element screams for attention. As a rule of thumb, designers should ask themselves what should grab their audience’s attention and how best to achieve this effect.
Useful tips include building the design based on the F-pattern – where a reader scans a page vertically followed by horizontally (e.g. as with Google search results) or the Z-pattern – where a reader scans the header from left to right, reads text in the bottom left and looks for the ‘Register Now’ or ‘Sign Up Now’ button in the bottom right. More granular details like font size, typography, pattern of space and the use of white space are all elements designers play around with to achieve the desired effect.
2. Effective communication
What do you want your users to know?
Your site content is one of the best branding and marketing communication platforms that you can have. The approach to web writing should be personal and conversational, so cut out the passive voices as much as you can. Make sure that there is minimal use of technical terms and acronyms and try to keep your content to a reasonable 300-800 words. Your tone and style are unique to your brand so use keywords that resonate with your audience and that you will be remembered for!
3. Seamless navigation
How will your users move around the site? Will they be able to discover what they are looking for?
We have long said goodbye to static pages and embraced dynamism in web design. The downside is that your content can get lost easily in the array of information. A well-designed site is one where your users can find exactly what they are looking for, which is especially crucial for e-Commerce sites. Incorporate a good search engine your site, and your users are likely to come back knowing they can find what they need easily. Make sure to tag all your content so that the search engine can crawl your site to retrieve accurate results.
4. Focus on the end-to-end process
What do you want your users to do?
Your site was designed for a purpose – whether it’s to purchase an item or pitch your portfolio. UX magazine recommends breaking down the user experience into four phases: Advertising & Promotion, Onboarding, Distributed Experiences (using a multi-platform approach) and Engagement & Retention. Your web site should be built with these four key steps in mind. For example, ensuring search engine optimisation so that your site has visibility for promotion and making it seamless and intuitive for your users to engage in services on your site. Recreate your users experience before arriving at your site and while navigating it to understand if it truly delivers and fulfils its intended function.
5. Be responsive
Where will your users be accessing the site?
We briefly spoke about a multi-platform approach in the end-to-end user experience, but a quick google search will show you that responsive design is not just a phase. Without a mobile app, mobile-optimised web solutions will be your access to smartphone users. The increasing demand for mobile solutions has made it a necessity for site owners to build their content for screens of all size – and you definitely should too!
Don’t be restrained by the amount of research and back end planning that you have to do. Once you have committed sufficient time to do the groundwork, don’t be afraid to buckle down and get down to it! Build your prototype, test early and frequently to get the best sense of how to improve your current version. When you work with specialists in the field, you are essentially tapping on all the lessons they have learned from failed and successful prototypes.
At Krome, we specialise in website design services as well as user interface websites. If you or your client are interested in creating a site, it’s time to tell us about your project or have a chat about what we can do. You can contact us here.