Good Website Design Is …

Great web design is...

Uncomplicated

Ask yourself why you want to have popups on your website. Do you really need them? Could you add an attractive ‘Sign up for our Newsletter’ box or do you need something to popup in someone’s face and irritate them. You probably know how it feels when you go on a website and you have to keep closing boxes to even see the main content. The main content is why you visited the website and if hurdles keeping getting in your way you will give up and leave. You don’t want people to feel like that about your website.

Equally, do you really need that image gallery? Are you showcasing a portfolio of beautiful items or are you having it just for the sake of having something that moves? Maybe you want to feel you are getting the most out of your website designer! They could probably give you other functionality that would have more value to you, just ask the question. At the end of the day if it doesn’t benefit the client and showcase your products you probably don’t need it.

Consistent

The same fonts should be used throughout to ensure the credibility of the brand is maintained. Italic text should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

Uniform font colours will keep the professional image of the business. I have seen a few sites over the years where people imagine red and yellow text will add to their appeal – not so! Colours should be used to indicate links and always the same colour, people will get used the colour and easily be able to identify links as they navigate through your site. You can also use the link colour to indicate the current page in a navigation bar.

Naturally you can use colours in buttons and calls to action but again, keep it consistent and use the same colours for buttons throughout.

Heading text can be in different font to the main body font but the same consistency should apply. The main page headings should be the same size on every page.

Easy to Read

On the subject of typography, website text should be well spaced and easy to read. Good body fonts tend to be the Sans-Serif fonts, these are the less fancy fonts; examples of which would be Arial, Myriad Pro and Lato.

I like to use the more fancy fonts for headings, known as Serif fonts; examples of these include Georgia, Times New Roman and Baskerville.

Choose fonts that have good spacing between letters and words. Also ensure that line height is set to give a good amount of space between lines, it is so much easier to read. Paragraphs should always have a double space between.

Mobile Compatible

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I think this goes without saying these days. A website must be as appealing on a small screen as it is on a big desktop display. There are more things to consider for mobile, for example buttons need to be big enough to accommodate the biggest fingers, navigation menus need to fold away neatly when not in use and images need to shrink to fit the space.

On that subject the whole website should scale down in size to exactly fit the screen size and display perfectly. It needs to do all of this and continue to be readable.

Some things that work on desktops just don’t work so well on mobiles. It might be that a rotating image gallery has no place on a mobile or a large Google map doesn’t perform well.

At the end of the day everything should be tested twice and tested again on every single screen size.

Easy on the eye

Beautiful photos make a beautiful website. If you are an excellent photographer you should use your own images. Alternatively you can buy high quality images on line from stock photo companies like Shutterstock. They are usually not very expensive. Be careful to steer clear of the cliched ‘catalogue’ shots or the widely used pen and computer images and you will be good to go. Good quality images equal a good quality website.

Colours should be attractive and easy to look at. Nobody wants to see bright red and yellow together, attractive muted tones are sure not to offend anyone and at the end of the day you are looking to gain interest from the widest possible audience.

Fast Loading

Websites need to be well structured in terms of coding and optimised for all devices. Smaller images should automatically be rendered on smaller screens.

Equally, good web design relies on good hosting. I am like a stuck record when it comes to this. You can have the best coded website in the world with images optimised for every screensize and ready to battle the slowest mobile network but if you are on cheap shared hosting it will all be a complete waste of time.

Good hosting will also give you great caching, you should still optimse your images for the web but if you have good caching and good servers your website will load superfast. That will satisfy the Google speed test and give you better rankings for SEO.

Easy to Navigate

Navigation should be straightforward and in the same place on every page. Acres of dropdown menus are a pain for visitors, it’s better to direct them through the site with landing pages, each linking out to relevant content.

Mobile navigation needs to fold away and not be a never-ending scrolling experience. Simple and effective.

Good Communication

Great calls to action (CTAs) remind the visitor of what he needs to do. A bold visual button to ask the visitor to contact you, buy now, sign up for a newsletter are essential for a successful website. Visitors need to be guided to take the action that you want them to take. Ultimately we need to convert as many visitors as possible to sales.

Calls to action buttons

Clear telephone numbers, email links and links to your contact page are essential.

Don’t forget your social media button links. Those links that go to your social media pages and enable people to follow you. Add social media sharing buttons to the bottom of blog posts and products. Visitors love to share good content.

Easy to Use

I design and build websites with WordPress and I don’t forget the importance of making the website easy to edit and update for my clients. WordPress is pretty intuitive and it is easy to create blog posts and upload images. More complex pages will have lots of layout options in the backend and I make sure this is as streamlined and simple as possible for the guys who run your website.

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