Any creative area has its own rules and so does good web design. The content present in a website, its visual elements and navigation methods must be in sync in order to convey the right message to the user. A well designed website can convert visitors to take the desired action. Good web design ensures that the website is intelligently optimised for its functionality and usability.
Let’s find out what it takes to come up with a good web design that serves all the factors as mentioned above.
Needs of user:
A good web design should always serve the needs of the user visiting the website. The purpose of your website should be clearly conveyed by the assimilated elements within it. Each page should convey the distinct message for which it has been created, in the most effective manner. This will help in the user having an interaction with the services or products which you want to offer. As a follow up, the user is then able to identify with the vision you have in mind while creating this website. This forms the foundation over which the client gradually builds a relationship with the brand which is one of the main purposes of good web design. All websites cater to their own target audience and specific needs but the elements which are common to all of them can be summarised as:
- Specification of area of expertise
- Reputation building
- Lead generation
- Post sales services
Help users find their way around:
Good web design ensures the ease of use for visitors to find what they are looking for. Have you not visited sites where you had to almost go through the entire content to find that the information you wanted was either missing or inadequate. So that such things do not happen, it is important to spend enough time on the design table while structuring the website. The structuring should be done so that a user spends the bare minimum time to find his way around and the entire content appears to be presented in a sensible manner. There should be consistency and simplicity for users to be able to access information. This can be done by intelligent use of internal linking procedures, menus and labels. Most importantly if you want to end up with a good web design, you have to remember that web users lack patience and will leave your site if their needs are not immediately fulfilled. You can have a look here to see what all goes behind the scenes of coming up with a good web design.
Content shall always remain the king:
The content presented by you is one of the most important elements of your website. You cannot afford to have just good content, good web design principles seek great content. This calls for careful planning and behind the scenes action as it is the content which steers your target audience towards making judgemental decisions. Detailed plans should be made for skillful SEO implementation which includes execution of keywords but at the same time does not deviate from the core message the website is supposed to convey. Ideally, the content planning should begin parallely with the website design process, which ensures that adjustments, if required can be made while the website design and development activity is in process and not at the end phase.
Having a good visual imagery which catches eyeballs is an important element of good web design. The visuals should look exceedingly good and be of high quality. You must ensure the pictures have the right balance of colours, good resolution and be of the appropriate size. If your pictures or graphics are not good enough, rest assured; the entire effort of the designer who has struggled to come up with the best designs, has gone to waste. Actually, images do not exist just to fill up vacant spaces but serve the purpose of balancing out the quantity of text and assisting users in forming impressions from the given visuals. Good web design ensures the intelligent use of pictures and graphics to communicate the identity of the brand.
Complementary elements of design process:
Experienced designers who are familiar with the nuances of a good web design process know the importance of elements which make websites user friendly and attractive. A good designer is very aware of the fonts, visuals and color palettes which add consistency and hold the design elements together. All these together combine to give a good user experience. If by chance, you see your rankings in Google slipping down, a major reason might be bad user experiences which causes users to bounce off your website. There has to be a right balance between all the elements on the website, if you cram too many elements together, then the message which the site is supposed to convey gets lost. A harmonious balance of all design elements goes a long way in conveying the best possible image of a brand. The methodologies involved in a judicious UI/UX design process can be seen here.
Hierarchical structure of content:
An important ingredient of good web design is the arrangement of content in an hierarchical structure. If your content is structured in a hierarchical manner, it ensures logical and meaningful placement of content. This makes sure that due emphasis is laid on the most important part of your content, meaning that your USP makes its most profound impact on the user. Visual hierarchy makes it easy to access content in the least possible number of steps. Now, practitioners of good web design practices ensure achieving this hierarchical structure by use of various visual techniques, use of color, white spaces and alignment. In short, a hierarchical content structure helps users absorb information better and in the most simplistic manner.
Reading in F shaped pattern:
There have been studies conducted to find the pattern in which users scan text on a website. It has been found that the most common manner by which visitors scan text on a website is in the F pattern. Users follow the conventional manner of reading from the left to right and from top to bottom. Accordingly, it has been the most natural thing for website designers to design web pages where the reading pattern is aligned with the natural reading pattern of users. Thus, good web design standards ensure that the most important information is displayed on the top left corner and the bottom right corner. This helps draw the attention of maximum users to the displayed elements.
Have you ever noticed that there are times when you feel comfortable and familiar with a website, even though you are visiting for the first time. You automatically move from page to page, finding the necessary information at exactly the place where you were looking for in the first place. This happens because good web design practices ask for adherence to certain standardised industry practices. These website designing conventions are followed by almost all website designers and it ensures clarity in web designs. Imagine, if every time you visited a new website, there was a new system in place, then first you would have to give your effort to first understand the system and then hunt for the information you are looking for. Too tiresome for everyone, and with the number of websites being developed each day, it would have been an impossible task. Adherence to standardised practices has made the job much easier for everyone. Innovation is good but cannot be compromised with giving users a bad experience while navigating the web site.
A good web design has a process in place where user activities like sign up, purchase etc are done in the smoothest way possible. All websites are designed in a manner so as to encourage users into taking some actions which are in tune with the services on offer. Now, it is the skill of the designer who creates a design method which makes executing this step in the easiest of ways. Creation of this ease of use mechanism remains a top priority for design professionals. If you happen to have friction points here, which may be confusing visuals or asking irrelevant information, then you run the risk of losing a potential customer. Thus, good web design encourages conversion processes which have the least friction. This might mean removing confusing labels and adding elements like clear calls-to-action, asking only relevant information etc.
We go back to the archaic tenet of honesty as a pillar of good web design. Now you might be thinking, what in the world has honesty got to do with web design. Well, an honest design is the most powerful tool as it displays things as they really are and does not feed fake gibberish to a potential customer. It never tries to manipulate users with promises which are never going to be kept. Customers these days are very intelligent and can make out shallow marketing gimmicks. They want brands to convey their real content and be authentic in terms of their services. If you think you will be able to connect with your target audience using cliches, you have got it all wrong. The most important factor while communicating with your audience is trust. You have to create an environment where you and your brand sound credible. This can be achieved if you provide information which is clear cut, consistent and without any ambiguity. Furthermore, you shall help your cause better if you can show attention to minor details. Lastly, if your site is such that pricing issues are involved, it is always advisable to be upfront about fees and the terms of payment. While collecting personal data, you must clearly convey to the customer the valid reasons for doing so. If there are testimonials or client reviews on your website, you must ensure that they are genuine and not fake. In the end, all of these individual elements are part of the jigsaw puzzle which when put together makes a customer confident about going ahead and associating with your brand. They inspire feelings of trust within the customer which translates into business for your organization. Honest designs are really more powerful than they appear to be while coming up with a good web design.