Map out the user journey
- Do create a sitemap
The whole purpose of your website is to navigate the user to your service or product. Before you design a website you need to understand how you can effectively achieve this. Designing a sitemap of your website is vital and understanding how to get the user from point A to point B is what will separate a good website from a bad one.
- Don’t create clutter
When designing a website you want it to be as easy-to-use as possible. This can be achieved by making things simple. When it comes to the top-level navigation links – limiting these to as few as possible is beneficial to the user journey.
The ideal number of links to have in the navigation would be about 7 links (yes, the lucky number 7). It is understandable that this may be difficult, as you don’t want to make it hard for the user to find critical information. This is where a strong sitemap comes into play, ensuring all critical pages are easily accessible, such as your about page or contact page. However, not everything needs to be in the top-level navigation – this can be reduced by adding links in the footer.
- Do keep it consistent
Throughout the entire website, one of the top tips to remember is to ensure the design is consistent overall. The look a feel should be consistent across the sites pages. This includes colour schemes, typefaces and the style of imagery. Following these rules will visually satisfy the user and ensure their experience on your website is a good one.
- Don’t use too many typefaces or colours.
When you start to design a website it’s always good to limit yourself to how many typefaces you use. Limiting yourself to a maximum of 2 to 3 typefaces is the recommended amount. Including more than the recommended amount will make the website become distracting and confusing for the user.
Similar to typefaces, it’s always good to avoid using too many colours in your design. Colour has meaning and conveys emotions and feelings. Usually, the colours chosen for a brand have a deeper meaning and message. Using too many colours in your design would be like trying to portray a million feelings and mixed messages all at once. This can become very confusing to the user and it is best to keep your colour pallet limited throughout your website.
Make it responsive
- Do optimise for mobile
In today’s society more and more people are browsing and shopping on mobile devices, and expect websites to be fully responsive for the mobile experience. The biggest principle when optimising your website for mobile is ensuring that when the user is on your website, that all critical information is displayed correctly and easily accessible to the user.
- Don’t forget to test the functionality
Ensuring your website looks good on desktop, tablet and mobile is not enough. Testing the functionality of your design is vital. Just because your website is designed for a mobile-responsive platform doesn’t mean it’s going to look great on every phone or tablet. Test the website on your mobile devices and double-check the look and feel on the overall design. Sometimes websites need to be tweaked on mobile to improve the user experience.
The importance of SEO
- Do optimise your website for search engines
Your web design is important but so is your copy. Ensuring you are using enough keywords in your titles, meta descriptions and content is important in driving traffic to your website.
However, overwhelming your pages with too many keywords can affect the readability of your content and have a negative impact. Websites that don’t follow these rules don’t rank well on Google and other search engines. There are so many web pages being added every day that some websites suffer and find it difficult breaking through the noise.
- Don’t forget about you’re the speed and performance
The speed and performance of your website are vital to keeping the user on your website. If the user has to wait for your website to load then chances are they will click off your page before it has loaded. The amount of time it takes your website to load has a huge impact on SEO and conversion rate.
This is why it is very important to ensure that the images you use across your website are resized and compressed to the smallest size without affecting the quality. This will speed up the loading time of your website and evidentially keep the user on your page for longer.
Test your website
- Don’t forget to test, test, test
Once everything has been completed on your website the next stage is to take it for a test drive. Making sure everything is working properly is critical before you launched your new website. When testing your web site think like a user or customer. Imagine different scenarios the user will take on your website to ensure you don’t miss any critical bugs or performance issues. It is also good to remember to test your website on different platforms and devices.
- Do always have the user in mind
It’s all about the user journey and experience. A successful website is one that is easy-to-use and clearly mapped out for the visitor. Ensuring this is the main focal point when designing your website is essential.