Eight Helpful Web Design Guidelines To Follow
Aesthetics often bogs down web designers. Thoughts on the colour palettes, the size of the logo, etc., are frequently running around their minds. But if you are trying to develop a design for your website, you will have to realise that it’s not just about the looks.
There are millions of websites that people can choose from today. Your website should have more than just pleasing aesthetics if you want users to engage. People look for websites that are easy to use and enjoyable to interact with.
As a website designer, you should know that people are not visiting the site to assess how polished the design is. They are primarily looking for specific information. A web designer’s job is to present this information and help users accomplish the task they set out to do.
Now, there are thousands of courses and tutorials on improving your website design. Here in this article, we have compiled a list of basic web design guidelines to make your job easier.
Read on to know more.
In most design aspects, simplicity can be your best friend. Design elements that serve no functional purpose tend to overwhelm visitors. The key here is to present all the necessary information without cluttering your design.
You can apply this principle by making judicious use of colours. According to the ‘Handbook of Computer-Human Interaction’, the maximum number of colours to use in a design is five. Just make sure you select colours that are complementary to each other.
While choosing typefaces, you should also ensure that they are legible and not too artsy. Experts recommend that not more than three different typefaces are used in one design. If you include graphics, remember to keep it simple. Don’t include them if they are not relevant to the content.
Visitors to your website should not have to wonder where to click next. This is why planning an intuitive navigation option is crucial.
Keep the navigation interface simple and accessible. It would help if you also considered using markers so that users can easily navigate back to their starting point. A dedicated search button can also prove to be extremely useful.
Plan out the navigation options carefully. Once you’ve chosen where to place the navigation options, keep them consistent in all the pages.
Your website must remain consistent. Aspects like colour schemes, typefaces, backgrounds, and the tone of messaging should have consistency to make an impact.
However, not every page needs to have the same layout. You can create unique designs for specific pages like help pages, landing pages, etc. A particular format for a particular type of page will help your visitors form an idea of what to expect when they click on it.
Likewise, the tone of messaging should also remain consistent. You cannot have one page with casually worded content while the next page is relatively formal.
An emerging trend in browsing is the surge in the use of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Several researchers also point out that most users do not interact with websites that are not compatible with their mobile devices.
Your website needs to have a responsive design if you want users to have a good experience. In simple terms, it should be compatible with a vast range of devices.
Content in responsive websites automatically resizes itself to fit the screens of the user’s device. Web designers usually create mobile sites or use HTML templates that are mobile-friendly to achieve this.
Along with being mobile-friendly, you should also check if your site is compatible with the different types of browsers. Test it out by opening your site on multiple browsers and assess how they appear on each browser.
Typically, there won’t be much variance in presentation, but it is always better to be on the safe side.
Accessibility is a vital component of user experience. Anyone, including people with disabilities, should be able to use the website conveniently. Your primary role as a web designer is to include this aspect in your design.
Accessibility applies to the structure, page format, visuals, and textual content of your website. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), websites must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
One of the significant challenges that web designers face is balancing originality with established conventions. These conventions include placement of logos, usage of certain symbols and badges, etc.
In recent times, many web designers have thrown out these conventions in the name of exclusivity. However, there is ample space for creativity even within the framework of established conventions.
If we consider architectural design, specific building codes are framed so that people can safely and conveniently inhabit them. Architects follow these codes to ensure the comfort and safety of the building’s inhabitants. Even if the building looks impressive, no one will live in them if it has no evacuation mechanism for emergencies.
Similarly, it is possible to create a great website without breaking conventions. If you can create one, that’s a notable breakthrough. However, in most cases, it is always better to give visitors what they expect.
It is always a good idea to establish your credibility no matter what your field of work is. In terms of websites, adhering to established conventions is one strategy.
Another good strategy is, to be honest about your products or services. Keep all information easily accessible and transparent. Make sure that you don’t oversell your products. Some experts recommend that websites also explain the company’s value proposition and its products or services.
If you are selling products or services, it is also good to list your prices on the website. People tend to get turned off if they have to contact someone to find out the prices. Listing them up-front will give your business more legitimacy.
As all London web designers know, you are designing for users. This should be reflected in every aspect of web design.
After you’ve designed your website, it is recommended that you conduct a user test. You can collect feedback from the end-users and them. Of course, you don’t have to act on every input you get. But the exercise allows you to see the site from the user’s point of view. Who knows, you might spot a few flaws that you overlooked and fix them. It’s a win-win situation.
Try not to do the user test yourself. Considering that you’re the one who created the site, you might have your own biases. We would recommend finding testers who are entirely new to the site.
We hope that these basic guidelines have been helpful for you. If you think you’ve been doing it wrong, don’t worry. No one gets it right on the first try. Besides, there’s always room to try again.