Think of something you need more information on, search for it in Google and click on a link that looks like it will have the answers for you. On that website, how long does it take you to find the information you’re looking for? Is it quick and easy or is it difficult? Is it obvious how to navigate the site and move from section to section? If you can find what you’re looking for quickly and easily, it means the website has been designed well, with usability in mind.
The design of a website is important because it affects how quickly visitors can find what they are looking for. If it is difficult or frustrating, the visitor will leave and try on another site – and that is a lost opportunity. A good design will be easy to understand and navigate, helping potential customers find what they need and taking you one step closer to making a sale or getting in touch.
If you feel that your design isn’t quite what it should be, think about the following aspects to see how your website can be improved:
One thing is clear – a website has to look good. But it’s extremely important to keep usability in mind and not sacrifice it just for the sake of appearance. The design should lead the eye from what’s most important to secondary items; this can be done with space and typography. Images and colors can be used for calls to action. And a professional, modern look can immediately build trust. The possibilities are endless but a good design will create trust and guide visitors to take action.
Just like your house, everything in a website needs to have a logical place, helping site visitors easily find what they are looking for. The site navigation needs to be in a logical and consistent place on every single page. It should be apparent what is the main content on a page and what is secondary, based on size and location. Everything on a page needs to have a purpose. We have seconds to make an impression and if the organization doesn’t make sense, the visitor will leave.
You need to have a spark on your website that appeals to people, something that catches their eye. The internet is a visual medium and it’s important to use images or video without overdoing it. Possibilities include slideshows, photo galleries and and YouTube videos (which also appear in search results as part of YouTube.com).
Putting it all together
A website’s design will make the site visitor decide whether to stay and take action or leave – it’s as simple as that. It will need to create trust, make sense and allow people to find what they need quickly and easily – while doing what you want them to do. Of course, there’s more to a website than looks – like coding standards and cross-platform compatibility – but those are things that site visitors don’t see that a web developer like myself takes care of. Chew on these ideas and take a few minutes to review your website and consider if its design is doing what you need it to do. If not, it may be a good time to get in touch with us.