10 Helpful Web Design Tips
Originally found on https://www.allbusiness.com/10-best-kept-web-design-secrets-109605-1.html
If you have made the decision to redesign your website, you know that you’re in for a long process. A redesign also has important consequences on your relationship with your customers, your brand identity, and the financial well-being of your company.
The principles behind effective web design are complex, but not necessarily complicated. They follow a logical progression and are based on fundamental concepts related to human behavior, aesthetics, and testing.
1. Psychology plays a more important role than you think
Behavioral psychology, specifically as it relates to consumers, is really the concept at the heart of effective web design. Human beings have specific and detailed responses to colors, shapes, fonts, imagery, and every single visual element on the page. The best designs guide users through a range of emotional states, always understanding that the ultimate goal is not aesthetic beauty for its own sake, but rather the ability to influence the actions and reactions of the user.
2. Plan the redesign around the users’ goals
While users may appreciate evocative imagery and sophisticated layouts, their goals for visiting the website generally lie elsewhere. They have come to your site because they want something, whether it is to find information, to subscribe or register for an account, to make a purchase, and so forth. Effective designers understand this concept explicitly and they build sites that frame the narrative around delivering the value that users are looking for.
3. Quality web design does not have to be expensive
For some time, the prevailing wisdom has been that high-quality web pages can only be designed by people who charge accordingly high prices. This has led many business owners to make do with substandard websites for fear they do not have the budgets to invest in high-caliber design work. In reality, web designers who create compelling sites that convert sales can be found across a variety of price levels. Ask your professional contacts for referrals for reputable web design shops, research designers, and developers who have won awards in the past, or check Yelp to find a highly recommended digital branding agency near you.
4. You can test almost everything
For people who love the clarity and data-driven results yielded by A/B testing, web design is fertile ground indeed. Almost any element of a web page that is part of the user’s experience can be tested in multiple variations. This includes details such as font color and style to the size of a call-to-action button. This testing can have serious implications for the performance of your site, as even small increases in clickthroughs or conversions can add up to something significant once every element has been properly optimized.
5. Utilize project hosting services to keep track of version updates
While you are performing your various tests, it is helpful to have easy access to previous versions of your site so that you can revert in a matter of minutes if necessary. With project hosting services such as GitHub, you can manage changes, improvements, and updates to your website, and take corrective action if your new design underperforms. You can diligently track and test every change that is made to the site, and you will always be able to view previous versions without using excessive internal server space.
6. Branding and design are two separate skills
Just because someone is expertly skilled at web design does not mean they will be able to analyze, interpret, and communicate a brand identity on their own. Branding and web design are unique skill sets, and it is important for company leadership to work with web designers to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of the brand identity that is meant to be conveyed through the site. This includes concepts such as core values, market segmentation, and various aspects of the marketing messaging.
7. Load times can affect your site rankings
We have all felt the frustration of trying to navigate a site with lurching load times, but many people do not know that the drawbacks of slow loading go beyond being a nuisance for users. Several years ago Google made the decision to factor the speed of a page’s load time into its ranking algorithm, and while it is not as important as search relevance, it can still have an impact on performance. In one instance, a study found that a delay of just half a second in page load time led to a 20% reduction in traffic and ad revenue. Therefore, it is important to remember that well-designed websites look good aesthetically and function well behind-the-scenes.
8. Whitespace and visual cues can direct viewers’ attention to other design elements
Whitespace on a web page creates a powerful psychological response, as it automatically draws the reader to the identifiable design elements elsewhere on the web page. Additionally, you can use instinctive visual cues such as faces to direct the audience to pay attention to a particular spot on the screen. If you have ever wondered why so many companies utilize images of babies looking at elements on the page, their effectiveness is explained in this study that says natural parental instinct leads us to focus on unfamiliar infant faces longer than adult ones.
Finally, to craft a website that is both engaging and usable, consider applying principles of minimalism to avoid overwhelming audiences with unnecessary stimuli.
9. A common website can still be a high-performing website
Most companies want their website to feature elements that are completely unique, as they believe this aligns with brand attributes like innovation and creativity. It is an understandable goal, but they are mistaken if they believe uniqueness in features is a necessary component of effective web design. Conventional wisdom about web design exists for a reason, and it is much better to have a familiar but logical experience than one that breaks all the molds yet confuses the audience.
10. The design elements might not be the issue
If you are feverishly testing every element of your web design and finding that all of your modifications have little to no effect, it might be time to look past the aesthetic elements as the source of the breakdown. It could be that your messaging is not being deployed effectively or that your content does not reward the 79% of audiences who are more prone to scanning web pages.
Written by Danny Wong
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