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The 12 Ground Rules of Web Design

Developers, Web Design Tips No Comment

Whether you decide to create your website on your own or to collaborate with a web designer in the process, there are certain basic rules that your web design should follow in order for your site to be user-friendly and for the visitors to want to come back to it. This is especially vital for business websites, as the online visibility is one of the most crucial components of brand management in today’s world. Here we have listed out the twelve must-have components of every good web design.

  1. Take your target audience into account. You may be tempted to use a theme that you like, but you should first think of whether it is appropriate for the content you will be displaying and the way your audience is going to perceive it.
  2. Your website should look professional. Make sure there are no spelling and grammatical errors, poor quality graphics or broken links anywhere on the site. “Under construction” pages also look bad in the eyes of the viewers. With the tools you have at your disposal today, there is really no excuse for such issues on your site.
  3. Quick loading time – there is nothing more annoying for a visitor than waiting for a page to load forever. Your website should load almost instantly. Large graphics and flash presentations can really slow your site down and they don’t work well on iPhones and iPads anyway. Keep these things in mind and work on your site’s loading time, if you don’t want your visitors to lose interest and go elsewhere.
  4. Your website should be easily readable. Do not use light text on a light background or dark one on a dark background, or very tiny fonts, as that will only frustrate your visitors and make them leave your site more quickly.
  5. Use a standard and popular program or platform of a current version to design your site, like the WordPress platform. The more common program your web designer uses, the higher the chances that it will still look good when newer browser versions are released. That will also make your site easier to maintain and update as the people you entrust that task with will be more likely to have the necessary skills.
  6. It is best not to use flash intros, music, flashing banners or scrolling marquees unless absolutely necessary for communicating the core message of your website. Otherwise they will just annoy the visitors and waste their time. If you can add “audio on/off” or “skip intro” buttons this is the first sign that you can do without these elements.
  7. Go easy on the colors. Use them sparingly and make sure they harmonize well. The same rule applies to the fonts on your site – stick to a maximum of two or three fonts.
  8. Easy navigation – although you may be tempted to use unlabeled active areas, disappearing menus and buttons without any descriptive text on your website, as they may look cool, the chances are that your visitors will be frustrated by them and will lose interest in browsing your site further.

Test your site with a small audience representing your target visitors, before you publish it online. Check their feedback on the layout and design of the navigation and see if they had any difficulties in using it. Doing this in the course of the development of the site can spare you some tedious and costly changes afterwards.

  1. Use consistent navigation designs and page layouts throughout the entire site. Visitors tend to get really annoyed when they cannot find the navigation link on the same place where it was on the previous pages. And some may not be able to find the link at all.
  2. Make sure you have all the legal rights of the design, fonts and images you are about to use on your website. Copyright infringement is the last thing you would want to deal with – it may not only cause you to pay money but may also bring your site really bad publicity.
  3. There are currently numerous web browsers and platforms in use. While you may find it hard to get your website to look perfect on them all, you should focus on making it look good on the most commonly used ones that the majority of web users rely on, like the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc.

Also, keep in mind the rapidly growing trend of mobile device browsing and design a special mobile-friendly version of your site that will run well on Android, iOS and Windows devices with different screen resolutions. This involves a lot of hard labor but an experienced web design specialist should not have any problems in making your site compatible with multiple platforms.

  1. You should understand that the design of your site will never be over and done. In order to make visitors come back and check your site again and again, you should make sure that you provide them with information that is up-to-date and relevant and brings value to the readers. Outdated information, lack of any new content and broken links are a recipe for disaster as these will cause your visitors and perhaps potential customers to lose interest and maybe never come back to your site again. This issue can be addressed with a well structured blog and content marketing strategy, but that is a theme for another post altogether.

Web design is no child’s play. It involves a lot of expertise and requires you to factor in a lot of different aspects. You should address the process of creating your website seriously and professionally in order to get good results and proper visibility.