PRINCIPLES FOR AN EFFECTIVE WEBSITE
Nowadays it is not just enough to have a website, you have to make your website as beautiful and engaging as it is functional. Websites that are not well designed tend to perform poorly and have sub-optimal Google Analytics metrics (e.g. high bounce rates, low time on site, low pages per visit and low conversions). Here are some principles that can make your website beautiful, engaging, functional and effective.
Good web design always caters to the needs of the user. Are your web visitors looking for information, entertainment, some type of interaction, or to transact with your business? Each page of your website needs to have a clear purpose, and to fulfill a specific need for your website users in the most effective way possible.
People on the web tend to want information quickly, so it is important to communicate clearly, and make your information easy to read and digest. Some effective tactics to include in your web design include: organising information using headlines and sub headlines, using bullet points or taglines instead of long winded sentences, and cutting the clutter – less is generally more here.
In general, Sans Serif fonts such as Arial and Verdana are easier to read online (Sans Serif fonts are contemporary looking fonts without decorative finishes). The ideal font size for reading easily online is 16px and stick to a maximum of 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes to keep your design streamlined. Many websites use poor fonts, making for a poor user experience.
A well thought out colour palette can go a long way to enhance the user experience. Complementary colours create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colours for the text and background will make reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colours create emotion and should be used sparingly (e.g. for buttons and call to actions). Last but not least, white space/negative space is very effective at giving your website a modern and uncluttered look.
A picture can speak a thousand words, and choosing the right images for your website can help with brand positioning and connecting with your target audience. Placing a well thought out image with an impacting tagline can bring a different look to your website. Also consider using infographics, videos and graphics as these can be much more effective at communicating than even the most well written piece of text.
Navigation is about how easy it is for people to take action and move around your website. Some tactics for effective navigation include a logical page hierarchy, using bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons, and following the ‘three click rule’ which means users will be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
“F” PATTERN DESIGN
Eye tracking studies have identified that people scan computer screens in an “F” pattern. Most of what people see is in the top and left of the screen and the right side of the screen is rarely seen. Rather than trying to force the viewer’s visual flow, effectively designed websites will work with a reader’s natural behaviour and display information in order of importance (left to right, and top to bottom).
Everybody hates a website that takes ages to load. This will cause your user to get impatient and will leave your page. The users are always looking for fast information, they don’t want to take long in anything they do anymore, so creating a website that can load fast and give them what they want as fast as possible is something that might get them to go back to that website. Loading images to the optimal size and working the back-end the right way will fix this problem.
It is now commonplace to access websites from multiple devices with multiple screen sizes, so it is important to consider if your website is mobile friendly. If your website is not mobile friendly, you can either rebuild it in a responsive layout (this means your website will adjust to different screen widths) or you can build a dedicated mobile site (a separate website optimised specifically for mobile users).
People form their opinion about your site in milliseconds. The first second on your website might matter more than all other seconds that follow. Make sure that second makes a great first impression.
At Web Ventures, we create websites which take account of all of the above issues, and more. We create websites of distinction and elegance, but which also impart all the key messages a business wishes visitors to see.
Don’t miss Web Ventures at this year’s B2B Marketing Expo. If you want to check out more about us and our work please take a look at our website: http://webventureco.com/