Web design tips are 2 a penny these days but there are a few simple rules that can help when designing a website. Firstly, ask yourself one simple question – What is design? Design, although it can be aesthetically pleasing, is created to fulfil a function or a need. Something purely artistic should illicit an emotional response but something designed for a purpose and a need should illicit a logical response.
Don’t clutter your design. Less is more really does work on the web so keep it simple and effective. Some designers still use ‘above the fold’ as a way to justify lots of content in the top part of the page and lots of clients still ask for all the important elements on the page to all be visible at the top. This just creates very cramped pages that confuse the user. The web has been around for a while now and is a part of every day life for the majority of people and user do know how to scroll and expect to scroll to see more content. Don’t be afraid to explain to your clients that above the fold is no longer really necessary. Keep it simple, space things out, and don’t overload a visitor with too much information all in the top half of the page!
If you are creating a small business web design, then remember it’s not about what you or the client thinks is important, it’s about what a user or prospective new customer wants to achieve on that site. For example, if it’s a web design for a garage then a user will want to see contact info, services offered, and current cars available to buy with new or second-hand prices.
Visitors to your website can be lazy. We’re all a bit lazy when it comes to surfing websites and we can all be a bit quick and ‘clicky’. Nobody wants to have to search around a website to find a link or button that will take them to the info they’re looking for. If it’s important info that’s crucial to the website and bringing in new customers then it needs to be found easily. Navigation should also be made consistent across the site so users know how to navigate around the site no matter what page they’re on. Also try and keep the navigation levels to 2 or 3 levels max. If it’s a large site with lots of content try to use pop out menus to allow the user to see all 3 levels by clicking or hovering over a top level menu item.
In the same way that navigation needs to be consistent, colours and other elements need to be consistent as well. If your homepage is red and black don’t make internal pages orange and black. It’s confusing for the user and it may detract from the brand colour scheme. Other elements such as important buttons and call to action points should also be kept consistent such as keeping important links to one side of all pages as a quick reference that users can use to access all important info in one click.
Creating a good web design for all sorts of different businesses isn’t an easy job but sticking to a few simple web design rules can help.