Websites that are not designed properly tend to perform poorly and have sub-optimal metrics in Google Analytics (e.g. high abandonment rates, low time on site, few pages per visit and low conversions). Below we look at the top 10 web design principles that will make your website aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and effective.
α. Purpose in web design
Good web design always serves the needs of the user. Are your web visitors looking for information, entertainment, some kind of interaction, or to transact with your business? Each page of your website should have a clear purpose and fulfill a specific need for your website users in the most effective way possible.
b. Communication and web design
People on the internet tend to want information quickly, so it is important that they find your information easily. Some effective tactics to include in your web design include: organizing information using headings and subtitles, using numbering and bullet points instead of long paragraphs.
In general, Sans Serif, Arial and Verdana fonts are easier to read on the web (Sans Serif fonts are modern fonts without decorative trim). The ideal font size for easy reading on the web is 16px with a maximum of 3 different fonts.
A well-designed color palette can greatly improve the user experience. Complementary colors create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colors for text and background will make reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colours create emotion and should be used sparingly (e.g. for buttons and calls to action). Last but not least, white space is very effective in giving your website a modern and clean look.
A picture is worth a thousand words and choosing the right images for your website can help you get closer and connect with your audience. If you don't have high quality professional photos, consider buying photos from stock photo libraries (istockphoto.com, 123rf.com). Also, you can use, videos and graphics, as these can be much more effective in communicating than even the most well-written piece of text.
Navigation is about how easy it is for your site visitors to take action and move around your site. Some tactics for effective navigation include a logical page hierarchy, using bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons, and following the three-click rule which means users can find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
g. Grid based layouts
Placing content randomly on your website can result in a random look which is the worst. Grid based layouts arrange content into sections, columns and boxes that are aligned and balanced, which leads to a better website design.
h. Design according to the "F" rule
Eye-tracking studies have identified that people scan computer screens in an "F" pattern. Most of what people see is at the top and left side of the screen and the right side of the screen is rarely seen. Instead of trying to force the viewer's gaze, effectively designed websites will work with the natural behavior of the reader and display information in order of importance (left to right and top to bottom).
j. Loading time and web page design
Everyone hates a website that takes a long time to load. Our tips for more efficient page loading include optimizing images (size and scale) improving the code and css of your website.