Your website is often the first impression that a potential customer or client has of your business. A cluttered, difficult to navigate site can cost you thousands of dollars in business because if customers can’t easily find what they need they will become frustrated and continue browsing your competition—not what you want to happen!
A good web site provides necessary information in a way that is both visually appealing and user-friendly. It easily identifies and establishes your brand leaving no doubt as to what it is that you offer. Sure there are plenty of DIY templates out there for building a website, but a template is only as good as the content you put on it. So how do you know where to begin? Here are a few basic elements of good web design that can make your clients stop scrolling in their tracks!
Know Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? Is it millennials? Stay-at-home moms? Corporate executives? Do your homework and identify what appeals to the demographic you are trying to engage. Don’t be afraid to check out your competition and see how other businesses in your field are trying to reach the same target market.
Establish Or Identify Branding Guidelines
When creating a site for an established brand, consistency is key. The branding elements that have already been established should carry over to the website and digital platforms for a seamless, easily identified connection. If your business is brand new, or you are going through a rebranding, you can establish (or re-establish) the look and feel from the ground up, selecting design elements and color palettes that are in keeping with the company profile. For example a site with bold colors and “artsy” graphics might be ideal for an advertising agency, but not so much for a financial institution where cleaner lines and a neutral palette might be better suited.
Design For Mobile First
That breathtakingly beautiful photo or eye popping graphic might look fabulous on your desktop screen, but if it gets cut off on someone’s mobile device you lose the effect. Most people browse the web from their phones and tablets in today’s world so you have to make sure that all the information and images on your website translate to the small screen. That’s why you should always design to for the mobile version first. It’s always easier to scale up for the desktop version.
Stay On Top Of Trends
Trends come and go in every industry, and the world of web design is no different. In fact, given the fast pace and which the digital world works, it seems like there is something new coming out almost daily. Staying up to date is imperative if you want to maintain a fresh look and feel to your web design. Browse sites like Pinterest, Awwwards and Designspiration to see what’s trending and get ideas. How are other designers treating headers, images etc? That doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your site every year, but you can add elements like purposeful animation, micro interactions and vibrant color palettes (currently a hot trend) to keep it current.