10 Must-know Key Factors To Effective Web Design In 2021October 20, 2021 No Comments
Featured article by Atreyee Chowdhury
Before we get into what leads to an effective web design experience, let’s consider the following questions.
Is your target audience able to determine what your company offers within five seconds of landing on your website?
Can they easily navigate from one page to another?
Is your pricing plan layout simple enough for them to understand?
If you have answered ‘no’ to one or all of these questions, it’s high time you take a look at how your website is designed and optimized.
When you design a website, there are several factors that contribute to how the design is perceived by the visitors.
Top 10 Factors to consider when designing a website
A good website design enables your visitors to trust you and take the subsequent actions. When you create a great user experience, it implies that your website has been optimized for functionality and aesthetics. Any one of them missing in the process can have an undesirable experience.
In this post, we will be digging deep into these 10 key factors that lead to an effective web design experience.
1. Purpose of the website
Your website should solve a purpose. If there is no purpose, there is no point in having a website. You need to have a simple yet clear intention behind all the pages that are designed and it will eventually help the user interact with what you have to offer.
Here are a few things you need to consider while deciding on the purpose for your website:
1. Are you creating this site to impart information?
2. Do you intend to sell a product or service that will help solve the problems of your target audience?
3. Is your website built solely for entertainment purposes — sports or movies?
There could be other purposes of designing a website but the purpose that is common to all websites are:
- Defining your expertise
- Building your image
- Generating qualified leads
- Offering sales and after care
2. Visual strategy and hierarchy
As a web designer, you must think that the images used in your web pages need to be relevant and catchy. However, there is much more to it than just making it relevant.
Images play a major role in determining the page load time and website optimization. Understand-people simply switch sites-when your webpage is demanding a high load time. Use only those absolutely necessary images in the right format and size.
Choose wisely between JPEGs, PNGs and GIF files such that they neither occupy too much storage space nor consume higher load time. Response time is a key contributor to customer retention and ensures you don’t take chances in that segment.
Another crucial factor to consider here is the visual hierarchy — how the elements on your website are arranged as per their order of importance. The most important reason for establishing a visual hierarchy is to establish a focal point, which also guides the users to understand where the most important information is located on the site.
As you might already know little things make a whole lot of difference. The navigation structure of your website can impact both:
- Traffic — how high you will rank in the search engines and how much traffic you can expect from search
- Conversions — how easy it is to use the site and what percentage of leads can convert into customers
Here are a few things to keep in mind while designing the navigation of your website design:
1. Be descriptive with your labels and use keyphrases
2. Avoid a navigation structure that is based on formats, for example, videos, photos, white papers, etc.
3. Avoid dropdown menus by all means as they are difficult for search engines to crawl and figure out
4. Pay attention to both the number and order of items in your website
4. Application Programing Interfaces (APIs)
APIs give you the opportunity to access third party data, without sharing your code.
Using an API, you can simply connect your website with an app to fetch data or utilise some of the unique services offered by that app. This saves precious man hours spent in creating new features or gathering user information-all by yourself. This is also a great way to boost your existing functionality by making use of new ideas from the repository.
If you have no idea of APIs, Google APIs are a good starting point. Let us consider the YouTube Analytics API for an example. This API allows you to access data that is fetched by YouTube Analytics. You can use this data to generate reports, understand market trends, to gather and save customer response and to better understand your audience.
In general, efficient usage of APIs will aid you to leverage the quality of your web design project.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool to add value to your website and to increase its visibility.A website is incomplete, unless supported with powerful words that speak of its features and functionalities. A customer-centric website content plays a major role in transforming website visitors into potential customers.
The website design should be structured in a way that it delivers the message to the target audience in a crisp and clear fashion. Appropriate use of anchor links and keywords help your website secure a good search engine ranking.
As a web designer, you need to be equipped with hands-on experience in HTML and CSS, it proves helpful in placing the right content at the right place to enhance site visibility.
6. Cross browser development
This is in fact the most struggling point for most designers.
Imagine you design a website that is customer-friendly, functional, and well-structured.
But what if it does not work on some browsers?
What if it is not compatible with mobile devices?
In other words, the effort spent is not proportional to the end result. What happens then?
This is exactly where cross browser compatibility matters the most. Always keep in mind, cross browser compatibility is a key requirement of a website.
As a web designer, you must always optimize your code in a way that there are no changes in the layout and functionality, in any browser of the customer’s choice.
Test your design and code repeatedly in different browsers and observe if they operate the same way while complying to the web design and usability standards.
A well-structured layout, with accurate detailing, makes it easier to visualize the deliverable at any phase of the project. For that you need to provide attention to each and every element that constitutes your web page.
- a) Font
Always use a font that is clear, readable and visually pleasant. It is ok to go with stylish fonts to add richness to your design-at the end of the day-readability is more important than the looks. Simple, properly spaced fonts add a tint of elegance to your site and induce the visitor to read its contents.
- b) Color combination
Colors are personal choices. You can make your website look colorful, subtle, flashy or plain-it’s your choice. But remember, your target audience may not have similar preferences. Though it is impossible to satisfy a large group, you can make choices based on general characteristics of the target audience-colorful for kids’ site, pattern for a clothing website, mild colors for aged peoples’ healthcare site and so on.
- c) Site elements
Ensure each and every element in your web page serves a purpose. Cut out those elements which are included just for the sake of grandeur or attraction. A simple web page with concise content and easy-to-use features is more than enough to draw in and retain customers.
8. Content strategy
An effective website design comes with both great layout design and content. In fact content is what gives meaning to a website. It attracts the people to understand the purpose and the message of the website. Further, it also answers the potential challenges and questions of the customer.
To design an effective content strategy for a website, you may want to consider the following points:
- Why do you want to do this web design project?
- What is your intended message for the target audience?
- Where do you expect the message to be read (context, location, or device)?
- How should you present the content or better say, structure the content?
- When do you plan to create and publish the content?
9. Web design contract
It is essential to establish a win-win situation for you and your client as well. Bonsai’s web design contract offers a free web design contract template that can be customized according to your specific requirements. Bonsai also offers contracts, invoices, proposals, tTime tracking, and task tracking templates that can simply be repurposed and reused as and when needed.
Wondering why you should include a web design contract? Here are a few reasons you may want to consider:
- a) Sets expectations
An agreement clearly defines the scope of work, deadlines, project support duration, enhancements and other terms of the contract to avoid any dispute in the future.
- b) Offers payment protection
An agreement clearly answers the questions like when, which, what, and how much in terms of payment — when a payment has to be made, at which stage of the project, what is the mode of payment, and how much is the amount. This clearly avoids most of the payment related issues between you and the client.
- c) Saves your time
As this domain involves handling different clients from diverse backgrounds, you might not have the knowledge of all the terms that you should conciliate before commencing the project. Also, devising an agreement for each client, keeping in mind their unique requirements, is undoubtedly a daunting task.
10. Project Management
You might wonder why a designer needs to care about Project Management.
A perfect design contributes only to one fourth of a project. Front end development, eack end development, server-side coding, and database management — unitedly constitute a successful website.
You need to understand how other factors contribute to your work flow and how your design impacts the entire project and the user experience.
Taking the above points and implementing them in your website design can bring about a dramatic change as well as enhance the experience, performance, and conversions of your website.
Although a few of them may initially seem to be quite intimidating to conquer, once you have carefully thought through the factors and implemented them, you will be able to provide your customers with a seamless website experience.
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as an Instructional Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and parents. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org for any content writing/marketing requirements.