Remember the websites of ten years ago, when everything had to have flashing animations and a plethora of colours? Today’s approach to web design is very different. We take a look at what constitutes good web design in the current context. It may not be what you think.
Firstly, why does the site exist? Unless you know the purpose of your site, it will never be successful. For some businesses, their website is simply an online brochure. Others will have a campaign site that encourages a user to carry out a call to action and allows the company to collect data for marketing purposes. For other firms, their website is a wholly integrated e-commerce website with advanced functionalities such as customer diagnostics, account management and self-service facilities.
A website is another marketing channel or route to market. This means that messaging must be clear and concise and back up your other marketing messages. Customers who understand the purpose of a website and can navigate around it simply and easily are more likely to use it. A good copywriter is a great asset for getting your website right.
Functionality and easy customer journeys are at the heart of a good website. A site can look utterly beautiful from an aesthetics perspective, but if it doesn’t allow for easy navigation, customers will be put off. Journey mapping is a fundamental activity pre-design.
Good websites are clean, attractive and on-brand. Most firms will use a design agency to help achieve this – very often a full-service digital agency with capabilities in both design and development (Such as SEO). For a Web Design Gloucester agency, http://digi-tel.co.uk/gloucestershire-website-design/wordpress-web-design/ is a useful resource. Design considerations will also include colour palettes, which will be carefully considered and used effectively across the site for an attractive finish.
The Right Typeface
Modern sites tend to use clean sans serif fonts which are optimised for digital reading. They are visible for readers with impaired vision and allow the user to read text quickly and easily. Avoid italics, serif fonts and overly complex fonts. Verdana and Arial are good choices and16px is the ideal size for online reading.
A Good Template
Most modern websites are based on templates that are widely available on platforms such as WordPress and Umbraco. These tend to be based on grid formations which allow for easy layout. This avoids the random placing approach of earlier years, which could result in a messy and unorganised site that was hard to navigate. Studies into user eye tracking suggest that customers scan digital screens according to an ‘F’ pattern. They tend to look at the left and top of the screen – at least in the West – and tend to ignore the right. A good designer will work with this principle and structure content accordingly.
M-commerce is growing rapidly and today’s best websites will be optimised and responsive for mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets. The content will also be fast to load, allowing users to access and interact with the website when they are on the go.
These are certainly some of the most important factors when it comes to creating your online presence. What other elements would you say constitute good web design?