What Makes Good Web Design

2019-01-10

Web DesignUI/UX DesignDesign

Web design is often the deciding factor on whether users buy your products and services on your platform and how likely they are to return to your website.

For most of us the importance of web design is an obvious one, but just how important? Before we jump into what are the elements that make up good web design, let’s first take a look at just how important web design can affect your business. Here are some key statistics to consider when affirming the importance of web design:

· People form an opinion about a web page in the first 50 milliseconds.

· 46% of consumers assessed credibility of websites based on appeal of overall visual design.

· First impressions of a website are 94% design-related.

· Design-centric companies showed a 211% return over the S&P 500.

It’s impossible to go through all the elements attributed to good web design in a single blog, but here are some considerations that should apply to all websites.

1. Cater to your audience

Good web design is subjective and although you may have an idea of what is most visually appealing, it may not suit your audience. It’s important to understand your target users and cater accordingly. For example, in most cases users prefer viewing images as opposed to text. However, certain audiences may require in-depth information due to the nature of the product/service, warranting more verbose descriptions. In this case, there should be more consideration on how to organize and format your website for easier reading (e.g. more spacing, serif fonts, etc).

2. Functionality trumps aesthetics

For many of us, when we think of good web design, we automatically think of beautiful and creative visuals. And while there is a time and place for such aesthetics (usually when showcasing design / art portfolios), in majority of the cases functionality should have higher priority. It doesn’t matter how pretty your website is if your users cannot navigate the website or obtain the information they need. A bad first impression significantly reduces the user’s likelihood of coming back to your website.

This is not to say we shouldn’t strive for aesthetics – we definitely should. But not at the cost of functionality.

3. Designing for the user’s journey

As a continuation of the previous point, good web design should focus on the user’s navigation experience. This means more than just a site map (although this is also important). Navigation should be simple and intuitive. This often boils down to a few key considerations:

· Consistency – Consistency between different web pages will make it a lot easier for your users to predict and therefore navigate your site. This doesn’t mean that each layout needs to be the same, but at least should have the same visual cues to direct the user, which leads us to our next point.

· Visual Hierarchy and Flow – Studies performed indicate that humans typically read left-right and downwards, which is commonly referred to as the F-pattern or Z-pattern. In order to facilitate a smooth experience, your website’s layout design should adhere to these visual hierarchies.

· Simplicity – Information overload is an easy deterrence for users and can often lead them to click the back-button. Interfaces should be simple and avoid being bogged down with too many visuals or text. While different websites will have varying complexities in the information, we should strive to simplify the information to the extent possible. If dense information cannot be avoided, at least give the user the option to avoid such information. In many cases this is implemented by displaying information on two levels – the first page showing the basic, simplified information with an optional link to the second page, revealing details.

4. Accessibility

Nowadays, most people are viewing websites using their mobile devices – cellphones and tablets. This adds an extra complexity to make sure that your website doesn’t just work on these other devices, but maintains its ease to navigate. Design for mobile devices becomes even more important as users viewing your website through a cellphone will usually have less tolerance for poor design – resolution can be scarce and they will likely be on the move, requiring access to information quickly.

The solution to this is simple, albeit not an easy one. Making your content to be easily accessible and navigable on a wide range of platforms and systems is inevitable if you want to effectively reach the masses.

Web design is a concept that is simple to grasp, yet difficult to practically apply. Workeroom offers a platform to connect businesses with the professional services they need, including web designers. For more details, you can start your search here.

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