Here is a list of tips to remember when you are designing your website.
1. Design for your market not for yourself
This is one thing a lot of people can have issues with, many times when designing a website you can fall into the trap of designing the website for yourself instead of who you want to see the site.
For example your site might be selling flowers, but you have a thing for black and red colour scheme and want to include flash and animations, because you think it looks really cool. But is that what your customers want to see? Most likely not, think about who is going to be visiting your site, what age group, what type of people are they, these are important things to think about when designing your website.
2. Simple Colour Scheme
I have almost always found that a simple colour scheme is the best way to go, meaning about 2-4 colours used consistently throughout the site. For example if your colour scheme is green, black and blue, you might use blue for all links, green for all headings etc.
3. Clear & Logical Navigation System
A really important point, if you don’t have a clear & logical navigation system i.e. clear links to the pages in your site as well as a home link, you will make it very difficult for users to navigate throughout your site.
Before even designing your site, think about the navigational flow of the site, how are the pages going to connect, how do you envisage your users journey through your site.
4. Good Site Content
It is important to make sure that your content is relevant & spell checked, and as I mentioned in my last post, I always find it much easier to design a site that the content has already been completed.
Reading on screen is completely different to reading on paper, for example in a paper you might use times font, but on a website you might use Arial or Verdana as these fonts are much easier on the eye when reading on screen.
It is also important to remember to format your text correctly, for example 500 words bunched up together without any paragraphs is going to be hard to read for anyone.
Lastly, please don’t use light grey text on a very light grey background, it might look really stylish, but it is so hard to read.
6. Header & Logo
I find that a good header and logo sets the tone for the website, and as it is generally the first thing users see it is good to get it right.
Your header and logo is useful for saying what your company is and what is does, many times I have left a site because it simply not clear what they do.
7. High Quality Images
Images can make a site beautiful, but they can also make it a pain and slow. It’s really important to optimise your images to make sure that they aren’t giants which will be excruciatingly slow to load and cause your users to go insane.
8. Above the fold
Above the fold – a graphic design concept that refers to the location of an important news story or a visually appealing photograph on the upper half of the front page of a newspaper.
By ‘above the fold’ I don’t mean that you need to have short pages with everything bunched up at the top of the screen, so everyone will see it without having to scroll, but I do feel generally that ensuring that your most important content is at the top of the page and your call to action is a good principle to follow.
9. Make it fast
10. Use a professional website designer
I know I’m biased, but unless you are a website designer yourself, getting a website designer to design your website will ensure that you end up with a professional result.