In spite of continual technological advancements such as augmented reality and AI, for example, web design fundamentals haven’t really changed so much over the previous decade or more.
In this article, we’re not talking about chatbots and artificial intelligence. Rather, it’s about getting back to the basics of good web design and what makes a web design good or bad.
What Makes Web Design Good?
User journey is clear cut
Before the web design is even considered, the site’s key purpose should be established. Is it to entertain? Is it to sell a product? To inform? To provide some kind of service?
Once the site’s purpose has been identified, it’s time to plan the user journey. Where do you want your customers to go? What should be their destination? What about the actions they’ll need to take to reach that destination?
Utilise calls to action so that your users know what steps they need to take.
Once these steps are identified it’s far easier to create a clear navigation menu so that they can reach their destination more quickly and easily.
Information that is easy to find
An obvious part of any web design process is making a decision about what your users will find once they come to your website. This should then be delivered cleanly and in an organised way.
Irrespective of the objective of your site, your users should be able to rapidly find all the information that they want.
The site’s navigation menu, the search bar, as well as the key calls to action ought to be placed above the fold of your website.
The footer? Depending on your target audience/ product offering, you may want to include links in the footer with respect to information about delivery and returns. The footer is also a good place to put contact details, social links, FAQs, as well as terms and conditions.
Generally, the majority of the components that are involved in good web design have remained fairly stagnant over a lengthy period of time. However, mobile browsing is a completely new phenomenon.
The popularity of smartphones and tablets necessitated the need for content to be accessible via mobile browsing.
So, rather than being more of an afterthought, your site’s design should start out with mobile.
A visually engaging website is one that finds a balance between excellent usability and great design.
Your website should always have a clean layout with fonts that are easy to read and without too much emphasis on text. The colour scheme shouldn’t distract from the content – it should complement it. Your design must be consistent and always remain on-brand throughout.
What Makes Bad Web Design?
Features like quizzes and filters to find the right product are lovely website quirks, but these should not represent the main way that you invite your users to shop.
By all means, provide your users with a way to refine their search. But the key is to allow your site user to reach checkout as quickly as possible, meaning in as few clicks as possible.
That said, don’t make the journey too complex by offering a large variety of subcategories or filters.
Lack of information
A huge barrier to making a purchase is a lack of information. So, when designing your site, include helpful links in places that make sense. As an example, if you don’t add delivery and returns information as links in your site’s footer section, you could lose many potential customers that do not wish to take the risk of making a purchase.
Even some of the best-known websites have a tendency to sacrifice ease of use in place of beautiful style.
If your choice of style has an impact on your users’ browsing experience, your web design is ‘off’ even though the site may look great.
Slow site speed
This is a very large conversion killer. Customers, on average, wait around for a mere couple of seconds for a webpage to load. If it takes longer, that customer is history.
Site speed issues are often dependent on site development, but some issues overlap with design.
One major factor involving slow site speed is when images and/ or video content is not optimised. For WordPress sites, there are many plugins available to optimise image and video content. Otherwise, it’s a matter of using JPEG images as opposed to PNGs and capping file sizes at less than 1MB.
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All of us have experienced bad web design, whether that be trawling through countless webpages to find what we want or overcoming numerous barriers that block the end goal.
But you really need to design with your user in mind if you want to achieve good web design.
To do that effectively, maintain a checklist of the key issues and prioritise those key issues well before thinking about adding anything fancy.