Congratulations on creating your website! Before you launch it, it’s essential to review its design to ensure it’s effective and meets your business goals.
Design is often seen as a matter of personal taste, but fundamental principles should be followed to create a well-designed website. A good design should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and relevant to your target audience. It should also be optimised for search engines so potential customers can easily find your site.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the crucial elements that define an outstanding web design, providing you with a roadmap to assess and elevate your website’s effectiveness. Whether you’re a seasoned web designer, a business owner, or simply someone passionate about the digital realm, this checklist will serve as your invaluable companion in creating a web presence that truly stands out in the vast digital landscape.
So, let’s dive in and uncover the key ingredients that make a website not just good but extraordinary.
#1 Convey the Right Message:
Clarity and conciseness are essential. Visitors should be able to grasp the purpose or theme of your website within the first few seconds. Use a clear and concise headline or tagline that communicates what your website is about. Avoid jargon or vague language that might confuse visitors.
#2 Provide Clear Next Steps:
Once visitors land on your homepage, they should know where to go. Ensure your homepage provides intuitive navigation, guiding users to relevant sections, products, or content. Use prominent and well-labelled buttons or links to direct them to critical pages, such as product listings, services, or contact information.
#3 Use an Effective Hero Visual:
The hero visual is the central, eye-catching element of your homepage. It’s often the first thing visitors notice. Choose visuals, whether images, animations, or videos, that align with your website’s theme or message. The visual should capture attention and reinforce your brand identity or convey a specific message.
#4 Include Compelling Calls to Action:
A call to action (CTA) is a prompt that encourages visitors to take a specific action, such as “Sign Up,” “Learn More,” or “Buy Now.” Depending on your website’s goals, place CTAs on the homepage. For example, an e-commerce site might have a “Shop Now” CTA, while a blog might encourage readers to “Read More.” Ensure each CTA corresponds to a clear and desirable action for your visitors.
#5 Evoke Emotions:
Websites have the power to evoke emotions in visitors. Consider the emotional response you want to trigger and ensure your homepage design and content align with that goal. For example, a charity website might evoke empathy and compassion, while an entertainment site might aim to spark excitement or joy. Use visuals, colours, and messaging that resonate with the desired emotional experience.
#6 Streamlined Roadmap:
Your website’s main menu should serve as a clear roadmap for visitors. It should categorise your content into distinct sections or topics, making it easy for users to find what they want. Research suggests that having no more than 5-6 top-level categories is ideal, as people can only remember a limited number of options in their short-term memory.
#7 Limit Levels of Hierarchy:
Visitors prefer straightforward navigation that doesn’t involve diving too deep into layers of subfolders. Avoid complex navigation structures where users must open many subfolders to access content. If you have a wide range of categories that cannot be grouped, consider using an extended drop-down menu to keep navigation more intuitive and user-friendly.
#8 Display Current Location:
It’s crucial to provide users with clear indications of where they are on your website and how they arrived at their current location. Breadcrumbs, a hierarchical trail of links, are an effective way to achieve this. They show users the path they’ve taken within your site and help them navigate back if needed.
#9 Consistency Across Pages:
Consistency in placing vital elements like the header, footer, and logo across all website pages is essential. This ensures users have a familiar experience as they move through different sections. You can vary the design on the main page if you want a unique visual elements impact, but maintaining consistency elsewhere promotes a cohesive user experience.
#10 Help User Search:
Even with a well-structured navigation menu, some users prefer to search for specific content using keywords. To accommodate them, include a search box on your website. An integrated search function allows users to input their queries and access the information they seek.
#11 Distinguish Buttons from Links
These elements on your website represent actions that users can take. Examples include “Submit,” “Buy Now,” or “Sign Up.” When visitors see a button, it should be immediately apparent what will happen when they click it. Buttons lead to a specific action.
Users navigate to different pages or sections of your website using links. The text used for a link should provide a hint of where it will take the user. For example, a “Remember Me” option might use a checkbox on a login form. Confusing buttons and links can frustrate users and hinder their ability to interact effectively with your site.
#12 Organise Forms Effectively
Forms are crucial for various website functions, such as user registration, contact forms, or subscription sign-ups. Effective form design involves arranging form elements (fields, checkboxes, buttons, etc.) in a logical and user-friendly manner. Consider factors like grouping related fields, using clear labels, and providing helpful instructions. Users should be able to complete forms efficiently and without confusion.
#13 Reiterate Primary Actions
When you want users to take a specific action on your website, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, providing multiple access points to that action is beneficial. For instance, you can have a prominent “Buy Now” button at the bottom of a product page and include a quick link or button on the side or top for added convenience. This redundancy makes it easier for users to engage with your site and complete desired actions, regardless of where they are on your website.
#15 Avoid Low-Quality Images
When using images on your website, they must serve a purpose and enhance the content. Low-quality or irrelevant images can detract from the user experience. Assess your images to ensure they add value and are relevant to their accompanying information. Use original images that are specific to your website’s content.
#16 Optimise Image Sizes
Balancing image quality and load times is essential. While high-resolution images look fantastic, they should not be so large that they slow down your website’s loading speed. Users are less likely to stay on a site that loads too long. Use image compression and optimization techniques to ensure your images are appealing and responsive.
#17 Place the Logo in the Top Left Corner
The placement of your website’s logo is a crucial aspect of user experience. Studies have shown that positioning the logo in the top left corner is the most user-friendly choice. This placement is intuitive, and users expect to find it there. It also helps maintain consistency across different pages of your website.
#18 Avoid Flash Animations
Most modern web browsers no longer support Flash technology, which makes it a poor choice for website animations. If your website relies on Flash, visitors may encounter compatibility issues or be required to download more plugins. This inconvenience can drive users away. Using more modern and widely supported animation technologies, such as HTML5 or CSS animations, is advisable.
#19 Maintain a Consistent Icon Style
Consistency in icon and graphic styles is essential for a cohesive and polished website design. Icons that appear mismatched or unrelated can disrupt the visual harmony of your site. Use consistent icons throughout your website to ensure they align with your design theme. Customising default social share buttons to match your site’s style can enhance visual coherence.
#20 Enable Click-to-Play for Videos
Videos can be valuable for conveying information or enhancing user engagement but should not be intrusive. By default, videos on your website should not play automatically unless designed to run in the background. Enabling click-to-play functionality ensures that users control when and how videos start, preventing unexpected playback that might disrupt their browsing experience.
#21 Utilise Three Levels of Headers:
Headers are fundamental for structuring the content on your website and guiding visitors through it. Incorporating three levels of headers can help create a well-organised and easy-to-navigate layout.
- Header 1 (H1) is reserved for the main title of the page or the most significant section. It serves as the anchor for the primary theme.
- Header 2 (H2) headers are smaller and are perfect for breaking down content into distinct subsections or significant topics. They provide a clear hierarchy within the range.
- Header 3 (H3) headers, smaller than H2 but more significant than the regular body text, further divide H2 sections into subtopics or critical points.
This hierarchical structure aids users in comprehending and engaging with your content more effectively.
#22 Limit Font Families to Two:
Consistency in typography plays a crucial role in maintaining a cohesive visual identity for your website. Using the greatest of two font families throughout your site is advisable to achieve this. Your choice of title font should align with your website’s design and branding.
Consistency in title fonts reinforces your site’s visual identity and helps users recognize your brand. Meanwhile, select a font that complements your title font for body text. While it can differ from the title font, it should harmonise with it to maintain visual consistency and readability.
#23 Identify In-Text Links:
In-text links are valuable for navigation and content exploration but must be identifiable to users. Several methods can achieve this. One common approach is using distinct colours for links that contrast with the surrounding text. Underlining links remains a recognised convention as a traditional indicator of clickability.
Highlighting, such as background colour or text style changes like bold or italics, can make linked text stand out. Ensuring that links are visibly and not broken links that different from regular readers aids users in understanding which elements are interactive and leads to more content.
#24 Install a Show-Hide Feature for Lengthy Text:
Lengthy textual content can overwhelm users and hinder their reading experience. To address this issue and maintain a user-friendly presentation, consider incorporating a “Show More” and “Show Less” feature where applicable.
These interactive elements enable users to expand or collapse long sections of text, giving them control over the amount of content they view at once. Or, you can use accordion-style sections to organise and condense content. Users can expand the sections they’re interested in and collapse others, ensuring the page remains clean, organised, and accessible.
#25 Responsive Mouse-Overs:
Responsive mouse-overs are a dynamic way to engage users on your website. These interactions involve elements changing or providing good website design feedback when a user hovers their mouse cursor over them.
For example, buttons may change colour or appearance, menu sections could expand or highlight, and links might underline or display tooltips. These visual cues offer instant web design feedback to users, guiding them through your website. This responsiveness enhances user experience and makes your site more interactive and user-friendly.
#26 Responsive Scrolling:
Responsive scrolling transforms the traditional scroll wheel into a valuable interactive website feedback tool. Rather than navigating the page, scrolling can trigger animations, transitions, or transformations in web elements. For instance, background images may parallax as users scroll down, text might fade in or out, or sections can slide into view. This level of interactivity makes scrolling an engaging and appealing experience, captivating users as they explore your content.
#27 Thoughtful Pop-Ups:
Pop-up windows, when used, can convey important information or encourage specific actions. But the key is to install them. Timely and relevant pop-ups that appear are more likely to be well-received by users. For example, a subtle subscription form that appears after users have read an article or a shopping cart update on an e-commerce site can enhance user experience. Avoid aggressive pop-ups that disrupt the user’s flow, as these can lead to frustration and immediate closure of your site.
#28 Smart Active Corners:
Menus or navigation elements that slide out from screen corners or sides can add a modern touch to your website’s design. Yet, it’s crucial to ensure they’re user-friendly. These sliding elements should activate when users intend them to, and they should not interfere with nearby links or buttons. By making these elements responsive and unobtrusive, you create a seamless and intuitive navigation experience, preventing user frustration and ensuring ease of interaction.
#29 Swift Loading on All Devices:
Swift page loading is a fundamental need across all devices. Users expect websites to load regardless of their device. Slow-loading pages can lead visitors to switch to alternative ser. Optimise your website’s performance for various devices and network conditions to prevent users from abandoning your site due to loading delays.
#30 Cut Finger Scrolling Obstacles:
On mobile devices and tablets, users navigate by scrolling with their fingers. They prefer a seamless scrolling experience that doesn’t trigger clicks on buttons or links. Ensure your site has ample central space to prevent users from clicking on interactive elements while scrolling. This user-friendly approach enhances the browsing experience on touch-based devices.
Unlock Your Website’s Potential with iMarketing: Contact Us Today!
In the digital age, a website is often the first user interaction with your brand or business. The virtual storefront, the digital ambassador, and the platform can captivate or repel visitors within seconds.
A well-designed website isn’t a work of art; it’s a strategic design feedback tool such as Google Analytics that conveys your brand message, engages users, and drives your business objectives. It’s an ecosystem and content management system where aesthetics and functionality unite to create a seamless user experience. As you embark on your website design review journey, remember that the ultimate goal is to establish trust, captivate your audience, and lead them on a journey of discovery.
As you venture to enhance your website’s design, consider partnering with experts who understand the intricacies of web designs and SEO. At iMarketing, we craft stunning and functional websites that attract and convert visitors into loyal customers. Our SEO Malaysia expertise ensures that your website looks exceptional and ranks in search engine results, driving organic traffic and expanding your online presence.
Take the next step towards a captivating website design and search engine success. Contact iMarketing today to elevate your online presence and engage your audience like never before. Let’s embark on this journey together, turning your website into a powerful asset for your business.