What do you need to think about before anything else when designing and building a web site?
Make your web site intuitive
Good navigation and intelligent site architecture will help and encourage users to move around your web site. Ensure that your users are able to get straight to the information they require on your web site – and quickly. Important information should be no more than one or two clicks away from the home page.
Design appropriately for your target audience
Think of your target audience and select presentation styles accordingly. Simplify. Limit your colour palette. Set out your objectives clearly before you begin and stick with them when designing your web pages.
Keep up to date with the latest trends
Social networking is here to stay so include links to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Consider whether you should use Flash or not. Many similar effects can now be achieved with HTML5. For more information on this particular topic take a look at our blog post Flash vs HTML5 in web design
Value users’ patience
A web site should load quickly so make sure that all your images and movies are optimised. When you’re writing for the web get straight to the point. Only delve into greater detail once you’re sure you have captured the viewers’ attention.
Check spelling and grammar
Obvious I know, but so often overlooked. That’s why we decided to put it in our top 10 web design tips.
Keep links current
Make sure all website links are correct and up to date. Broken links will leave a poor impression on your visitors.
Limit the amount of content on your web site
Think about what is the most important thing you want to tell the visitor about on each page. If a web site has too much information on a page, it ends up being confusing to the user.
An optimal solution for effective writing is to use short and concise phrases and to categorise your content using multiple heading levels combined with visual elements and bulleted lists to break up the page.
Keep SEO in mind
Search engine optimisation is critical to draw traffic to your web site. Make sure your web site is optimised so that search engines can index your content. Make sure to do your keyword research before you start building your site. After discovering what users are searching, you should then choose 6 to 10 phrases you want to rank for and try to incorporate them naturally into your page titles and headlines. View our advice on how to get more traffic to your web site.
Follow web site conventions
Accommodate users expectations driven by their experiences of other web sites. For example, using underline text when linking and make your logo link back to your homepage. Be aware of certain web site conventions and don’t deviate from them without good reason.
Keep it consistent
Make sure your pages appear consistent. It’s a good idea to make sure that your logo and menu remains in the same position throughout. Content may vary from page to page but remember that users like to know where they are within a website and if the style of a page changes dramatically or somehow feels different this could put them off.
Article written and provided by Reactive Graphics – Web design London – established 2003