A great looking website allows a company to present itself to clients and visitors in a clear and precise way, showing their professionalism, and what ever idea they wish to portray. Having a good looking website is one thing but making sure it looks good across all platforms is another. In this article I will touch on a few key ideas in webdesign and usability.
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Simply, Effective, User-friendly Designs
Websites can often fail by being too complex. Too many add-ons, too many gadgets, too much of anything is likely to bring the whole website tumbling down into a mess of words, pictures and effects. You need the message you are trying to portray to stand out, you need it to be clear what you are about and what you want to show.
If you are getting traffic and nobody goes past the home page then perhaps it is time to make some changes?
We have complied a few thoughts and ways for you to go about changing this.
Logo & Menu Placement
One of the most basic questions is where do you place your logo and menu. Most successful websites place the logo on the left at the top and the menu bar on the right. The logo goes on the left as that is where the eye generally looks first and from the the menu bar is in a highly usable place. There are websites doing this differently but not so many and this is generally a rule of web design.
Contact information on your website should be easy to find, this is generally positioned in the footer or through an obvious link in your menu. People will not spend a long time searching through pages to find a link.
If your business relies on being contacted be sure it is easy to find. By not including this information it can create an atmosphere of mistrust which isn’t what you need as a site.
Make Things Easy
To learn about a company or website people will often read about them through their ‘About Us‘ pages, their FAQs, Terms & conditions etc. These should be easily located and often placing them in the footer is a good idea, this is a commonplace and also one that allows them to be viewed on every webpage.
Being Artistic is great, but if you want people to find things then don’t be too fancy. Keep things simple and logical, you don’t want people searching every where for a link that is in front of them but just labelled under an obscure name.
Don’t let the menu get too crowded, too many things to choose from. Sub-menus are great but ensuring things are buried at the bottom is also important.
Make Your Identity Clear
Make your identity clear on every page. People often have many browser windows open and flick back and forth. Letting people know where they are can help to keep them engaged.
Consistency can help a lot in this area, using colour schemes with your logo on the menu bar is a good way to go about this.
Easy To Search
If people are looking for something they won’t keep looking for an indefinite period of time to find it especially when it comes to ecommerce. Add a search box to help them out. Linking directly to relevant results can help cut down the time needed and increase efficiency and positive image.
Make Links Clear
Having clear and clickable links can help people to navigate around. They should be a different colour and relevant to the text they are in so users don’t get confused. Also make sure they go to the right place… Links to external sites can be particularly troublesome as they may change giving no notice. Our links look like this
Consistency is key. Be familiar and reinforce the site identity. Consistent fonts, consistent format, if every page looks like a different website then not only will it look confusing then it will probably increase load times as the browser send off for new items every time.
Use Headlines, Lists & Images
A long block of text is terrible to read especially on a website. People do not read websites especially the first time and they will often just skim titles, headers, graphics and icons until the see something they relate to. This means people won’t see exactly what you want them to. Keep interest by using headings, graphics and lists. Bullet points are especially easy to read as they keep it separated through out.
Make Purchasing Simple
It is all well and good having a fancy website that looks fantastic but if purchasing your goods or services is hard people won’t do it. A successful e-Commerce store makes itself as user-friendly as possible and as simple to check out as it can. Websites such as Amazon no longer require you to fill in your name, address etc and you can purchase things with one click. Minimising speed bumps and obstacles is important.