A beautifully designed website won’t just look fantastic – it will help your organisation to perform online.
Whilst digital design trends and web technologies come and go, the key principles of effective website design remain the same. Here are our top principles behind creating a website that looks great and works in the real world.
Great design is only great if it helps your audience to engage with your organisation. Web visitors need to be able to find the information they are looking for straight away, without having to navigate multiple different pages and menus.
Keep things clear, clean and simple, and your user experience will be better. A good rule of thumb over years has been the 3-click rule – your users being able to find all the information they want within 3 mouse clicks. Avoid convoluted menus and navigation – however good you think they look. User experience always comes first.
Using an online grid system, where content is clearly arranged into balanced sections, columns and boxes will lead to a better overall design.
Carefully chosen colours that complement each other and match the personality your brand will improve the visual appeal of your website, and enhance the user experience. Text and important calls to action need to contrast with the background, so they stand out, and can be read easily.
For calls to action, vibrant, emotional colours can be used to elicit a response from your audience – driving engagement and improving conversion rates.
Images and video content can make or break a website's design – and nothing ruins a beautiful website quite like shoddy photographs and amateurish videos. High quality, professionally produced pictures and video content will help to make any site more engaging, whilst helping you to build your visual identity and strengthen your brand.
The goal of most websites is to encourage visitors to take a specific action and engage with the organisation or person behind it in some way. A great web design will include plenty of strong, clear and bold calls to action, encouraging visitors and making it as easy as possible for them to take the next step.
The website's call to action might be buying a product, calling up to make a meeting, providing contact details or signing up to a newsletter or service. Whatever it is, it should compel your visitors to take action, there and then.
The best websites have a clear purpose. There is no point in having pages on a site for the sake of them – every page should have a defined role and reason for being there.
This could be selling a product online or service, providing valuable information, building trust or getting across the benefits and USPs of your organisation.
More than 50% of online traffic now comes from users on mobile devices – and high-quality websites look fantastic and work perfectly on every screen. In 2017, mobile-friendly, responsive design isn’t an option, it’s a necessity for a great web design that performs in the real world.
Loading times are important
It doesn’t matter how fantastic your site looks, how strong your calls to action are, or how clear your purpose is – if your site doesn’t load quickly (under 3 seconds!), you may alienate visitors, and lose out on traffic.