Good website design is the foundation for online success. If you mess with your design elements and in the process fail to comply with the expectations of Google, you probably will not find success no matter your investment in PPC advertising. Designs entice visitors, radiate confidence, reflect professionalism and build trust. So when your design is messed up, though you could get visits, you won’t see the desired purchase and expected actions.
In this post, we provide an easy to understand set of guidelines you can follow to build an effective website. These design principles will surely guide you to a successful project. Let’s find out.
Principles of Good Website Designing
Good website design requires hard work and in most cases is the effort of a wide range of professionals having expertise in different areas. Their collective efforts are what produces the beautiful websites that impress the search engines and makes the users happy. The design principles listed here will definitely help with producing inspiring designs that enhance the usability of a website.
Here is the list of good design principles which will give you a top performance website that is aesthetic, user-friendly, effective, and engaging
1. Purpose sets the foundation
Having a clear purpose will guide you in your design and content creation. Designing a website requires creativity and skills. It involves content development. So, the first thing you must keep in mind is to stay focused on your goals. For example, you won’t be building a website for a construction company while you focus on a general corporate tone without focusing on the expectations of those who need construction services.
The same applies when building in your action messages and calls to action (CTAs). It is key that your CTAs should support your goals. Your purpose can be as simple as promoting purchases, telling a company’s story, or providing tutorials. You should be able to capture your site’s intent in a sentence or two and present it to users in a friendly way that compels the desired actions.
Defining your purpose will help answer basic questions like who is your audience, what information do they need, how will your site provide it, what demographics should be the most important target Answers to these questions will help you find the right direction for your site.
1. Simple Is the Best
Over-design is an error and will hurt your purpose. Keep it as simple as possible with focus on your target users. A looking too busy design will not work for you as it may lead to distractions for visitors on the page and move them away from the main purpose of your website. Simplicity works effectively in every web page design. A simple design will be very beneficial in the following ways:
- Keeps your design clean and fresh
- Makes your website appealing and helps users to navigate from one page to another seamlessly.
- It supports better page loads without complexities.
Keep in mind that a website with design features that do not serve the purpose and user intents may be frustrating as it will likely fail to perform in the search engines. Therefore. keeping your design as simple as possible is the recommended idea that produces results.
Here are some tips to keeping your website simple:
- Prepare your information and refine them ahead of when you will use the.
- Use bullet points for emphasis. You will be telling users that a message is more important by using bullets.
- Be precise and instructive. Keep your message concise but powerful
You must be consistent with your messages, images, videos and tone. Consistency in website design matters a lot. This should be seen in your design elements throughout your website and each and every page. Do not let your design elements rebel against each other. Give your attention to match design elements throughout each of the pages – your fonts, sizes, headings, sub-headings, and button styles must be the same throughout the website.
Planning can be very important here and we have touched on this in the discussion on design purpose above. Consistency also builds trust so try to preserve design quality through a consistent presentation. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) would come in handy to keep the complete information about design styles and elements. Building website CSS is not for starters. This is really a professional aspect of design. Fortunately, most design tools like WordPress and Joomla will already have taken care of these for you.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for consistency when building websites.
- Keep menus in the same position on each page.
- Maintain the same fonts and colours throughout the site.
- Build and maintain have a clear, visual hierarchy to the elements on your page.
- Ensure that your business logo appears on each page and at the same position on those pages.
- Link your logo back to the homepage.
- Include a search box on each page in the same location.
Further reading: A Practical Guide to Get Online With Your Own Website
3. Typography & Readability
Readability of your texts is a critical element of your design. In fact, Google will raise a red flag if it considers your website to have faltered on this element. poor readability design affects user experience and will affect website ranking.
Keep in mind that no matter how good your design is, text rules the website as it provides users the desired information. Images are attractive and can improve click-through but the search engines do not read images. You should keep your typography visually appealing and readable for visitors, along with the tricky use of keywords, meta-data, and other SEO-sensitive elements. Consider fonts that are easier to read and make proper combinations of typefaces for each and every design element such as headlines, body texts, buttons, etc.
4. Mobile Compatibility
Mobile users are ever increasing and at the moment, mobile users have exceeded desktop and laptop users put together. Keeping in mind this growing market, make your design compatible with various screens. If your website design doesn’t support all screen sizes, the chance is that you’ll lose the battle to your competitors.
You can also test your website’s mobile friendliness with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool
Fortunately, most web design applications come with mobile friendly compatibility out of the box and can really be very helpful with putting up a mobile friendly design. If you have to add elements on your own, here are some tips to consider:
- Use the mobile-first approach. This requires that you start with the design of your mobile version before you begin to look at designing the desktop version. This does not downplay the importance of desktop versions especially because mobile users have not given a huge gap over desktop users. There are still a considerable number of desktop and laptop users exceeding over 40 percent of the user ratio.
- Use recommended size dimensions for mobile. Check with industry experts and Google analytics for recommended size dimensions when building mobile friendly designs. It is strongly recommended that your website should be responsive enough to accommodate variations in the sizes. Establish a clear typography and when in doubt, test your design on a mobile device yourself.
- Optimize for portrait mode. The landscape mode we must acknowledge is also widely used but the use in the portrait mode is overwhelming and so you need to pay particular attention to that.
- Minimize the menu. In desktop designs, you can have a full header menu. To the contrary, you simplify and customize these elements in a simple hamburger icon in mobile designs. So it is important that you simplify the menu for ease of use.
- Collapse secondary content. It is important that you eliminate non-essential content to shorten the time users can get access to the required information.
- Limit form fields and text input. Mobile users groan when asked to fill forms and they have to roll over text buttons to fill the required information. It is important to limit the form fields when dealing with mobile users.
- Remember that mobile-friendly means thumb-friendly. It should be easy and convenient to tap with the thumb. This is a key user experience element and taken seriously in how Google will assess your site quality.
5. Color Palette and Imagery
You can keep users longer on your site with a perfect color combination. Users tend to be attracted by a good color combination while a poor combination can lead to bounces. This necessitates that you pick a perfect color palette for your website which can create a pleasing environment, thus leaving a good impact on visitors. Enhance users’ experience by selecting a complementary color palette to give a balanced-look to your website design. Remember to take advantage of white spaces as they save your website from visual clutter.
Avoid using too many colors. 3 or 4 tones for the whole website are ample to give an appealing and clear design. The same is the case with images. Don’t use multiple vibrant images. As noted earlier, keep your design simple. Too many colors or sharp images will vitiate the gains of your simplicity efforts.
Remember that the color palette you choose for a design communicates so much. A site designed for children and toddlers cannot use the same color palette with a more serious site offering financial services. A color scheme can do a lot to reflect a brand’s spirit and message.
Your visuals should also be high-quality and good looking too — use clear, color-balanced photos and graphics with appropriate size and resolution. Bad visuals can ruin a great design.
6. Easy Loading
Here is a summary of the steps you need to take to boost your website speed:
- Check your page speed
- Choose a Fast Web Host
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Reduce server response time
- Host videos on an external site
- Reduce image file sizes
- Enable browser caching
- Use a content delivery network
We have a detailed coverage of how you can improve your website speed in this post titled: A Practical Guide to Page Speed Improvement.
7. Easy Navigation
Visitors stay longer on the websites having easy navigation. This is because they find it easy and convenient to access all sections of the website. Although there are other elements that affect click-through rates, navigation is key to website designing for good performance. For effective navigation, you may consider creating a logical page hierarchy, using bread scrums, and designing clickable buttons.
The visual hierarchy of your site’s navigation should make it easy to access your content in just a few steps. Of course, you don’t want any content to be missed, but endless drop downs, buttons, and internal links will overwhelm people.
The pathways to your site’s sections and content should be clear and easy to use. Simplicity comes in here again and as we earlier mentioned, simplicity should be pervasive affecting what you do at every stage of the designing process
Your website is the interpretation users make out of it and that depends on what it communicates. Because the ultimate purpose of the visitors is to get information, it is important that your design be very clear and detailed. If your website is able to communicate with your visitors efficiently, most probably they would spend more time on your website and when visitors spend much time on your website, Google interprets it as a signal for good user experience which could increase your rankings.
Here are some tips to improve website communication:
- organization of information
- Making good use of headlines
- Use sub-headers
- Using bullet points rather than long gusty sentences.
- Content should have logic
- Content should flow logically and fit into a hierarchy.
Build content on your website to guide your users and visitors to your desired goals. Header tags will be helpful to structure content and help web crawlers rank your site for web searches. Also organize visual elements to align and complement textual elements and imagery.
9. Authenticity to build trust
Consumers hate to be manipulated, just as Google does. Your design should comply with the words of Vitsoe in “The power of good design” who said: “Good design is honest. It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.”, Your design should be real and convey authenticity. In most cases, except you are a global leader like Google and Microsoft, do not claim to be the complete and ultimate solution. Be modest in the offers and promises you make so that customers do not think they are being manipulated.
Vague marketing copy won’t help you connect with people. Position your brand as a voice of authenticity by providing information that has value and communicates the humanity behind your brand.
Your website is the image of your organization. It should be well planned and implemented to boost and adequately represent that image.
The success of any website entirely depends on how its web design is. Whether the designers have taken the utmost care or not while developing it. Your nicely-designed site determines the success of the website. Since your site is the face of your business and most potential customers will visit your site before they ever look in on your store, it becomes inevitable to get your website designed right.