Whether you’re designing a car, a house, a piece of furniture, or a website, great design involves the careful consideration and application of basic design principles. The following is a set of website design tips to help you create an engaging site that is visually appealing, easy to navigate and accomplishes what you originally set out to achieve.
1) Understand The Basic Rules of Typography
Regardless of your website’s purpose; to inform, promote, sell, entertain and so on, everything is primarily communicated to your visitors through type. There are a number of key guidelines that should be observed when it comes to the size, spacing and placement of your text.
- Bold; headings must be easy to read and stand out from the body text
- Sans serif fonts are preferred as they’re commanding and direct, and legible at larger sizes
- Choose a font that reflects the overall character of your website
- Ensure a font size of 16 pixels or greater
- Aim for a line length of between 45 to 75 characters
- Line height should be around 1.2 ems (1.2 x the size of your body text)
2) Combining Multiple Typefaces
Selecting multiple fonts to use for headings and body text can be difficult. On one hand, you need the fonts to be compatible with each and have certain similarities but on the other hand, they must also be suitably distinct from each other, but not so distinct that they conflict. Choosing the right font pairings is an art form rather than a science, so experimenting with different fonts is the only real sure-fire way of guaranteeing success. The good news is, many sites now offer a list of suggested fonts to use with your chosen font, so the process of choosing multiple fonts that work well together is made easier for you.
3) Choosing The Right Colour Palette
Deciding on a suitable range of colours to use for your website can be challenging. Colour plays an important role in defining the mood and personality of a site and the right colour palette will help to better convey the purpose of your site.
Here’s a brief list of ways to ensure an optimal colour scheme for your site:
- Avoid using unnatural colours – refrain from using bright, fluoro colours or any other grotesque colour that is far too intense. Doing so will prompt visitors to leave
- Aim for bold colour contrasts – dark text on a light background ensures maximum legibility. It also common to see websites implement light shades of grey and other colours which help to create a calming effect while retaining the optimal font clarity
- Choose a narrow colour palette – opt for a smaller number of colours (five at most) and be sure that all colours are complementary to each other
There’s a number of useful online tools that can help you choose the right colours:
4) Size Your Images Correctly
Your website should project an air of professionalism and images that are too small, pixelated or blurry detract from the quality of your site. Always source images that are of a suitably high standard. Anything less should not be used.
5) Formatting Matters
The majority of visitors to your site aren’t fanatical readers who patiently sift through and digest each individual word of your written copy. They instead skim through your page, from top to bottom. One of the best ways to ensure that you secure their attention for that little bit longer is by dividing your written copy up with short, eye-catching subheadings, bulleted points and high quality images that are going to help fortify their interest.
6) Make It Easy for Visitors
When a visitor navigates your site, you must make it easy for them to locate what they’re looking for. A convoluted menu will only hinder their experience and increase the chances of them doing business elsewhere. It’s always a good idea to provide multiple methods of navigation, such as search boxes, internal links, breadcrumbs etc.
This whole ‘ease of use’ theme extends beyond navigation, as well. It’s important that all critical elements of the site such as ‘call to action’ buttons and other essential information is all clearly visible to users.
7) Plan for Success
Every website has its own unique purpose and it’s important that you identify the best ways to achieve your goals with a bit of planning. Contemplate the following:
- What’s the purpose of your website? Do prospective customers need to contact you to register their interest or is it an e-commerce site where they can make purchases directly through the website?
- Who are the visitors to your site and what are they searching for?
- How do you propose to transform these visitors into paying customers?
- How do you plan to market your website?
With a plan in place, it will be easier for you to ensure that your site fulfils its original purpose.
8) Always Test Your Checkout System
E-commerce websites rely on having fast and efficient checkout systems. If your website makes it difficult for customers to buy things, they’ll go elsewhere. It should be easy for them to add their items, select their payment method, enter their details and place their order. Be sure that your e-commerce site uses HTTPS as well, which provides encrypted data transferral, making it safer for consumers.
9) Optimise Your Website for Search Engines
A great looking website that is easy for visitors to navigate and make purchases with is of little value if you have next to no traffic heading to your site. These days, every search conducted by users online is done so through a search engine such as Google. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) provides a way of increasing traffic to your site by enabling your website to target search phrases that matter most to your business. SEO is essential for the growth of all businesses, especially new businesses who are looking to establish their brand.