Improving your website with five simple tips
In a digital age your website is your shopfront. It is how you sell yourself and your services to potential customers, so you want to make sure that it looks the best that it can. However, the world of web design can be daunting, so we would like to give you some of our top tips to help make the experience as fun as possible, and hopefully help you improve your website too!
- Do your research.
Whether you are redesigning your website or starting from scratch one of the most important things is to do your research. Exploring other websites provides guidance for your design as you can understand what is possible, what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to web design.
As with any project, to begin with, you need inspiration. By looking at other websites you can see what colours work well together, what layouts you enjoy and what styles you like. Once you have found a few websites you enjoy you can add these to a mood board so that you always have inspirational references to help you guide your design.
User experience (UX) is a foundational aspect of web design, so make sure you are always aware of this when you are researching sites. As a user yourself you know what makes a site easy to use, so trust your instincts. For example, you may often leave a site if you can’t find what you were looking for on it. Typically if a site is difficult to use it is due to bad design, and if you can spot them on other sites, then you will know what to avoid on your own. When you are researching designs and styles, make sure you take note of what works or what doesn’t work so you know what to include on your own site.
Only through research can you understand the next steps you need to take in your design: what calls to action are effective in directing users around your site; understand the best way to layout a website in terms of how easy it is to navigate; be exposed to the new developments in website design and what you can achieve with the right designers and imagination. So, always keep an eye out, and don’t be afraid to explore.
Pro Tip: Remember to always be aware of the latest trends and designs to stay relevant and get inspiration. To do this use platforms such as www.awwwards.com which showcase award-winning website designs to see the most up-to-date and cutting edge designs for inspiration, or look at websites on Wix.com or squarespace.com which showcase site templates designed by professional designers.
2. Easy to Navigate
One primary aspect of web design is navigation. Users will navigate around a site by using the navigation bar, which signposts the pages that they can visit on the site. Without clear navigation users will struggle to find anything on the site, get frustrated and leave, with 40% of users doing so! By having an intuitive, easy to use and well-organised navigation bar, users are more likely to stay on your site and enjoy their experience.
When you are designing your navigation bar make sure it is prominent and easy to find. Having a clean and simple design, which stands out against the rest of the site will make it easy to find. Also, you can pin the navigation bar to the top of the screen, so as a user scrolls down the page the menu bar stays at the top. This means that they will always be able to navigate your site, no matter where they are on it.
Once the users have found the navigation bar they must be able to easily find the pages they are looking for on it. Ordering pages in a logical structure, such as in the order of importance, can help users navigate the site in an intuitive way. You can look at other websites to see how they have ordered their navigation bars, as there is usually a standard order. Additionally, once you have ordered your pages, why not give them to a few friends or colleagues to see if it is logical to them too, as what is logical to you may not be logical to someone else.
3. Simple, clean layout
Less is more when it comes to websites. By removing noise and having a simple design, users will find it far easier to navigate your site, and understand what you are trying to communicate, and more importantly, sell through it.
While using exciting and elaborate designs can be tempting, they are not always effective in communicating a clear message. It is hard to understand what the purpose of a site is, or what it is offering when you have to cut through the noise (i.e images, videos, jargon). You want users to instantly get your brand’s message after a few seconds of visiting your site, and a simple, clean layout is the best way to do this. To limit noise you can sort through the content you want to include on your website, and prioritise only the essential information and graphics that you will include.
It is also important to remember that simple doesn’t mean boring! You can still use images, videos, colour, and innovative designs, but with a minimalist focus. If you still want to use a lot of these features you can do so while using large amounts of whitespace to help focus the user’s eye on the important content without removing the fun.
Having a clean and clear layout has a number of benefits such as making sites easier to navigate, load, and use on different devices, therefore, it is always something to bear in mind when designing a website.
4. Use images and videos
A picture speaks a thousand words. So, what better way to communicate your message than with images or videos. Multimedia visuals can help break up the text on your website, making it not only easier for a user to navigate as they are not overwhelmed with text, but it also makes the site more engaging and enjoyable for them.
Visuals can help illustrate your message in a fast and effective way. Over 90% of information processed by the brain is visual, and you are four times more likely to remember what you have seen than what you have read. Therefore, it would make sense to prioritise the kind of information your brain remembers for your site.
When you are selecting the images and videos for your site you need to be specific. You should only use professional quality videos, as the quality of your visuals can indicate the quality of your services to your customer. You must also select a limited amount of visuals as otherwise it will create too much noise on your site and overwhelm your users. Therefore, pick the visuals which convey your message best, and that you feel are most YOU.
If a customer is scrolling through a website all day, what makes yours different? All of these factors previously mentioned will make you stand out, but one thing that could really make it memorable is how personal your site is. You may have come across sites that spotlight their employees or share a lot of information to do with the company’s ethos and office life. This is what makes a site personal and shows your users that you are different to other brands, as they know who is behind the brand.
You can be as personal as you like with the content on your site, whether it is sharing pictures of employee’s pets, or just sharing what your customers have said about you. This will give your users an insight into your business that will make them remember you, and want to work with you.
If you manage to show your company’s personality, as well as your employees, this is a sure way to stand out.
These are just tips on how to enhance your web design, but it only takes a few to improve your site. We hope these help!