Designing a Great Website.
Great websites are no accident. Bad websites can be a train wreck for your wallet, (like the featured image, an actual horrible website). In fact, most websites that are effective often have a common set of attributes that can be identified among many other great websites. We will discuss a few key items that will really enhance your website.
Great Looking Website
It is no secrete that a website must be pleasing to the eye in order to get the best results from a user. Though that in itself is HIGHLY subjective there are some things to keep in mind when designing.
- Design for your audience and demographic.
- If your user is over 60 years old, you would design totally different than if your typical user is twenty-something.
- Know your colors.
- We all remember the 90’s and the epic neon colors against dark contrasting screens. It was brutal then and even more so now. Use colors wisely and as an added element of design and NOT the main design aspect. Dark colors and light colors reflect wavelengths in vastly different frequencies as an example, when you pair a dark blue with red text it appears to vibrate [that is bad] it means your wavelengths are too far apart and will work against you in trying to create readable text.
- White space is good.
- White space is simply a design term to define the space between design elements. White space does not mean it is literally white in color but the absence of elements. It is a common mistake to design with too many elements together or too much text. We generally start with lighter well spaced teaser content on the outer pages and as the user clicks through we get the more heavy content/information.
Easy to Navigate Website
A website must be easy to find your way around. When user wants to drill down for more information or enter the purchase cycle we need to make it as easy and obvious as possible.
- Proper funneling.
- Funneling is a term used to describe how we filter content down for users. A user will enter a site and will need an easy way to get in to deeper content or enter the purchase cycle. We want to be sure to simplify this as much as we can and eliminate unnecessary navigation tabs.
- Minimize your top level navigation.
- As we just discussed, the top level navigation should be as simple as possible. You need to articulate the most general categories/topics in the tope level navigation and as the drop down selections offer the more specific categories/options. A great example is www.BestBuy.com. You will notice they have Three main categories (Products, Services, and Deals) that allow you to drill down deeper and deeper to find the product or service you are looking for. Great funneling! If at all possible avoid going more than three levels deep. This is clearly a guideline as websites with many products or topics will certainly go deeper.
Great Website Content
This is by far the most important of all the design elements. You must have great content.
- Good Information
- If you are a portfolio style website you need to describe very clearly your product or service and how it benefits the user. In that same manner, if you have an ecommerce website, be sure to have amazing product images and descriptions. People want a VERY clear picture of what they are about to purchase.
- Original content only
- We see it all the time, a client wants to pull content from their distributors online catalog or even worse . . . from the competition. This is a bad idea. For starters, unless you have permission you will be breaking copyright laws. In addition, you are now entering a highly competitive market place and the last thing you want to do is blend in, which is exactly what will happen if you use someone else’s content. Not to mention it would kill you with SEO (Search Engine Optimization or getting found in search results). Be bold and be original with your content, this is where you tell your users why they need you as opposed to your competition.
These are just a few of the main ideas to keep in mind when designing for your website. No matter the reason for the website, these tips are sure to enhance its effectiveness.
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