High-quality web design is essential to the success of any business’s website. Your visitors can perceive trust, authority, security and more just from the look and feel of your website. If it is slow to load, complex to navigate, or hard to read, you may lose valuable visitors and potential customers.
Today’s consumers don’t waste time on poor quality websites. There is so much information, and so many websites popping up every day – if your website isn’t up to scratch, your visitors are just a few clicks away from other competitors.
Web designers have the considerable task of combining beautiful designs, with functionality and authority, while helping site visitors easily find the information that they need.
So how can this be done? And what separates a poor website from a winning one?
It begins with nailing the most fundamental aspects of website design – but these aspects are often the ones that are botched the most.
The Most Important Elements of Web Design are:
- White Space
- Colour Scheme
- Unique Typography
- Content Hierarchy
- Simple Navigation
- Mobile-friendly Design
- User-friendly Experience
- Engaging Calls-to-Action
- Stunning Visuals
- SEO Boosting Elements
In this article, we’ll cover the most important elements of web design that will help you make the most out of your online presence.
Your design should be simple, clean and accessible. White space, or the area between design elements, gives your site room to breathe and makes elements easier to find for readers. White space is not always white, it’s just the name for spaces between elements or content.
White space is being used more and more as websites evolve. The use of big spaces and line spacing in the text helps each button and each word stand out better. Space can also be used to increase the feeling of the importance of an item, creating a focal point for the user’s attention.
In general, similar elements should have consistency in spacing. Start with elements such as the navigation and move on to develop your content on the page. Using grid-based layouts keeps your designs tidy and maintains balance and consistency across the pages.
The colour palette on your website will directly influence your visitor’s opinions of your site. When choosing a colour scheme, you should pay attention to your industry and brand, and discern the colours that best represent your business.
For example, while a healthcare company might want to use shades of blue or green to signal health and wellness, a local florist may choose black and white to contrast with the vibrant colours of their products.
Once you’ve chosen a dominant colour, you should consider how your colour palette should look. You could choose an analogous colour palette, with a few colours that are closely related, or complementary [contrasting?] colours, say, for when you want to draw the audience attention to a particular button or piece of content.
When choosing typography for your website, the same considerations of industry and branding should be made as for colour schemes. The font you choose will help communicate your message to your consumers.
You’ll want to strike the right balance between professionalism and freshness. Whether you’re picking between serif or sans serif fonts, find something a little different that can distinguish your site from others.
It should be easily readable, on both desktop and mobile. Generally, this means at least 16 pixels. You can also pick a complementary font to identify headings and accents, but don’t go crazy on sizing adjustments, or you’ll overwhelm the body text.
Finally, you should use a colour scheme that contrasts your text and your background – pair light tones with dark ones, and avoid combining two very bright colours.
There’s no denying the importance of a page’s content – it is one of the driving factors of how people reach your site via search engines. Creating high-quality content is of the utmost importance for successful websites, but where you place content on a landing page is equally important for turning your users into conversions.
When deciding on content hierarchy, you’ll want to put the most relevant information to the user’s search at the top. You should immediately establish a connection with the customer, providing a solution to a problem.
Next should be an explanation of your service offering and any unique features that set you apart. Any content around why your business is better than competitors, or how you can offer them something different should be added next.
And finally, you should answer any additional questions they might have about the service, before concluding with a summary.
Complex site navigation can be frustrating to users, and make finding information too difficult. Simple navigation should be easy to identify, easy to use, intuitive, and shouldn’t overwhelm users with a variety of routes to similar information.
Use simple navigation as the framework for your website build and content. Your navigation should provide users with a few things: knowledge of where they are on the site, knowledge of what else is on the site, a way to go back, and directions elsewhere.
Simple navigation also includes how users scroll. For example, sites with parallax scrolling usually include arrows that make the site more user friendly. The easier it is to navigate a site, the longer people are likely to engage with it.
Mobile-first. Mobile-first. Mobile-first. Repeat that seven times and never forget it.
In this increasingly mobile world, a site that isn’t mobile-friendly is already falling behind. Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic and shows no signs of slowing.
Your web design should perform equally well on different platforms. While most WordPress templates are mobile-ready, a custom design will need to be either on a responsive template that will adapt to various screen sizes or will need a mobile-only site that is used when a non-desktop user accesses your site.
While a great user experience isn’t always on your visitor’s radar, bad usability on a site is immediately recognisable. Your website should be beautifully designed, and easily usable.
User experience (UX) design is less about the visual design and more about how the site is used. UX design is about optimising the interaction between your users and your website, whether this is through animation, navigation, easy-to-digest content, or responsiveness.
You’ll want to leave your user with a pleasant taste of your brand after their interaction. With so many options on the web, this is more important than ever. After all, one bad experience could cause users not to return.
Getting a customer to take action on your site is the main role of most websites, whether the action is to purchase a product, get information, or provide contact info. To ensure this, calls to action should be placed throughout the page, and they should be obvious.
The landing page design should lead users to that action. Using techniques such as contrasting colours, spacing, and the content will guide your users to the right action. The calls-to-action themselves should be highly engaging, and say exactly what you want them to do, whether that be “Buy Now”, “Contact Us” or “Sign Up Free”.
If you have a variety of actions that you’d like to target, consider the most important one that a customer could take, and use that CTA the most prominently.
Customers love to see visual cues. They’re more engaging and will help draw your users’ attention. Whether you use high-quality images or illustrations, the visuals you use should give your users a feel of your product and style.
Visuals can also be used to draw attention to a particular area of the page, and help visitors focus on what you want them to, without them even realising it. A visually striking banner will immediately draw attention, while custom images throughout the page can help users more easily find the information they’re looking for.
P.S. Bespoke images are important, and beware of using too many stock photos, or else your site could lose its authenticity.
Search engine optimisation should be considered from the beginning of web design, as a lot of the goals go work in tandem. Search engines consider many aspects of user experience as ranking factors.
Elements such as website speeds, site navigation, mobile-friendliness, and easily scannable text all contribute to how users interact with your site. If your site isn’t providing a satisfactory experience, this usually leads to high bounce rates and low dwell times, which are signals to Google of bad user experience, and in turn, results in lost rankings.
It’s crucial to any website’s performance to consider how design elements will affect SEO, as the two have a great influence on each other.
If you’re looking for a team of experienced web designers to improve your website, find out more about our web design and web development services. Or if you just want to have a chat about web design, get in touch.