Designing a website can seem like the biggest or the smallest task depending on what way you want to look at it. Every designer will tell you that careful planning will most definitely work in your favour.
No doubt, you’ll be eager and excited to start designing your website and getting it live for everyone to see. Planning doesn’t have to be boring and mundane. It is the opportunity to experiment and show off all your creativity without making those classic design mistakes.
There really is no definition of the perfect website but with a few guidelines you can ensure that your website is perfect for both you and your user.
Organise Your Ideas
A good starting point for any design process is to collate all of your ideas in one place. How you go about this is entirely up to you – you could type them out, draw diagrams, create flowcharts etc. Pencil and paper are absolutely fine for this and have been found to be just as effective as online tools.
Don’t hesitate to take inspiration from other website that you have seen. If there is a certain style that you like then it’s worth bearing in mind so that you have a clearer idea of what you want when designing your own.
The usability of your website will determine whether your visitor stays on your site or not. This will all boil down to the design of your website navigation.
Your homepage is the landing page which will determine whether your visitor stays or leaves. The purpose of your website should be very clear. When your visitor lands on your page, it should be obvious from the first few seconds exactly what your website is about. This can be done by including a logo, slogan or image which clearly represents the purpose of your website.
Easy navigation will play a big part too. This can be mastered by keeping your layout consistent. The home button should be in the same place on each page and the toolbar should either remain at the top or the bottom throughout.
You’ll need to speak to your audience both visually and through your copy. It’s important that you address a specific target audience as this will really speak to your visitor and draw them in.
Your copy should be easy to read and scan. Format your information into bullet points and sub-categories if needed. You’ll be doing yourself no favours by having chunks of text so make sure you use appropriate spacing to break it up. This will make all the difference to the overall design of your page.
As well as considering your personal taste, you should also design for your user. Think about which colours appeal to human emotions. After all, it is humans that are going to be looking at your website and this is the best way to grab their attention. The colours you use will depend on the nature of your website.
Simplicity can also be extremely appealing in website design. You don’t want to bombard your visitors with over-the-top designs. This will prove distracting and means your visitor is more likely to leave your page.
Typography is something that often gets overlooked in the design of a website. Avoid using fonts that are hard to read. This also means considering the size of the font. Straining to read copy on a website is guaranteed to aggravate and frustrate your visitor. There are many web-safe fonts that you can use which include Arial and Helvetica.
Never underestimate the power of imagery. They can appeal to your visitor in under a second and leave a lasting impression. Your images should be in proportion with your text. They should also be relevant so that your visitor can make an easy connection.
Before you unleash your website into the World Wide Web, it’s worth testing it out on different browsers and screen sizes to test for compatibility. You’ll need to ensure that everything functions and looks great across a variety of devices. This includes mobile phones and iPads for visitors accessing your website on-the-go.