Web site usability and presentation is perhaps most important factor in any web design. This is driving factor that gives your visitors a positive, professional impression of your company and keeps them coming back to your website. This issue focuses on “12 Essential Web Site Design Tips” that anyone wishing to promote their products or services on Internet should benefit from.
1. What’s purpose? The most fundamental thing to do before designing your web site is to define its purpose. Do you want to sell products directly to your customer through your web site, or collect contact details to develop future relationships? A lot of this will depend on products or services you sell, those with a larger price tag will require more relationship building than those that would count as an “impulse” purchase. People also use web sites to research products as well as purchase them so a company selling fridges for example may not be able to sell them through their web site (people don’t often buy fridges online!) but they may well be able to direct them to their nearest store where item they are interested in is in stock.
Identify purpose of your web site and make sure all actions you ask customer to take leads them to final outcome you have identified.
2. Define structure Once you have decided final outcome you want to achieve, whether it’s a sale, an enquiry, etc. work out a logical progression through process your customer would need to go through and structure your web site around it. Give customer information they will be looking for and help them find it easily and quickly. If you offer a large range of products, use a search facility, if your products carry a detailed specification, add a “click for spec” button which links to further information on an additional page, this way you will not slow those who are ready to buy, but offer additional info required by those still undecided.
Above all, keep structure and progression as simple and logical as possible.
3. Decide on an overall design layout. Most web sites have navigation down left hand of page, company logo graphic across top and content of page below and to right. Another common layout is to have both logo and navigation menu along top of page and page content across page beneath it. As these are most familiar layouts to users, it would be wise to stick with them as last thing you want to do is make your web site confusing to your customers.
Avoid too many moving graphics, as they are distracting, avoid large logo-only entrance pages (click here to enter site…) as they only delay user and avoid anything “cute” that may undermine your professional look.
4. Be careful with colours. Use contrasting colours for your text, black or blue on a white background is ideal. Don’t forget to check colours of your text links both before and after they’ve been visited, you don’t want them to disappear. Patterned backgrounds look dated and unprofessional and make your text harder to read, try to avoid them. If you have them, use your corporate colours in your logos, buttons, etc. and keep overall colour scheme inoffensive, clean and simple.
5. Be consistent. Put your links or buttons in a prominent place and keep them in same place on every page. Make sure your colours, navigation, typeface and text size are consistent on every page. Make sure user knows which page they are currently viewing and provide direct links to contact and home page on every page of your web site.
6. Don’t get creative with your typeface. Make sure that your text is easy to read. It’s very tempting to use an unusual typeface but your customers will appreciate text that’s easy on eye. They want to read your information and not be challenged in doing so. Also remember, when it comes to overall design layout, white space is beautiful. Break up your text into short paragraphs, bullet points, etc. For more detailed advice on designing a professional web site that will achieve high search engine listings and increase customer conversion rates, download our ebook “Start at Beginning”. Click here for an excerpt: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html