Understanding effective web design

Your website is an important marketing asset and is the primary way customers learn about your company. It should fulfill its intended purpose by clearly conveying the unique value of your business and being easy to use.

Effective website design can be the difference between converting a visitor into a customer or losing them to the competition. Well-designed web design that takes user experience into account can build trust and guide visitors to take action while a poorly made site can often have the opposite effect.

There are many important factors that contribute to the quality of your website. Below are some best practices for creating an effective website design.

1. Simplicity

When it comes to website design, less is more. Simplicity improves the user experience and increases the chances of converting your visitors.

The more options you give people, the easier it is for them to choose nothing at all. Having too many choices on your website will overwhelm visitors and significantly increase the amount of time they need to make a decision.

Users come to your website for a purpose. That purpose is rarely ever to admire your design skills. Fancy layouts may be visually appealing, but you don’t want the design of your website to distract visitors from finding what they came to your site for.

Instead, use a clean and simple design that makes it easy to navigate your site and doesn’t distract users. Here are some ways you can achieve simplicity through design:

  • Whitespace: This includes the space between images and text blocks, the space between letters and words, and the blank areas in the margins of each page. Websites without enough whitespace on their pages appear cluttered and confusing while those with ample whitespace look clean and professional.
  • Color: Color has the ability to communicate messages and evoke emotional responses. Using colors that fit your brand can help reinforce your brand identity to customers. Keep the color palette for your website to less than five colors.
  • Imagery: Imagery consists of every visual element used on your website, including photography, video, illustrations, and graphics. Images should express the personality of your brand. There should also be a consistent theme and style to your imagery as it helps create a unified experience across your website.
  • Typography: Typography serves as a visual representation of your brand’s voice. Typefaces should be easily legible and you should only use a maximum of three different fonts on your website.

2. Visual hierarchy

Visual hierarchy involves arranging elements in order of importance. It looks to establish a focal point for visitors and can be done by organizing elements based on:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Imagery
  • Texture
  • Style
  • Whitespace

Your website should be arranged so that visitors naturally gravitate towards the most important elements first.

3. F-shaped reading pattern 

Most visitors scan the text on a website using an F-shaped pattern. Eye-tracking studies have shown that people see more content in the top left area of the screen. This is because the F shaped layout matches our natural reading pattern of left to right and top to bottom.

An effective website design will match visitors’ natural reading pattern by organizing text in an F-shaped layout, placing the most important content in the top left corner.

4. Grid-based layout

Grids add structure to your design and help you keep your content organized. This is done by arranging content into columns and sections with equal dimensions so that all content lines up with each other, creating a feeling of balance and order.

A helpful way to improve the user experience of your website is to use more narrow columns. If your blog’s grid width is too large, it can create readability issues for your users. Imagine trying to read lines of text that stretch all the way across your screen. Not only will it be easy to lose your place, but it also makes the content look shorter.

By using narrow columns you make your content easier to read and provide a quality user experience across all devices.

5. Consistency

A great way to build trust with your visitors is to use consistent design elements across your website. Here are some ways to maintain a consistent design:

  • Keeping the same color schemes and font on each page
  • Using the same navigation menu at the top of each page
  • Keeping a consistent style for images

Pages can have slightly different layouts to keep your site visually interesting but they should follow a central theme that is present throughout your website.

6. Navigation

Navigation is the way visitors are able to move through the pages on your site to find what they are looking for. If your navigation is confusing you’ll make it difficult to find important information and visitors will be more likely to leave your site before taking action.

Effective website design keeps navigation simple and consistent on every page. It’s good practice to use a header menu that clearly labels all important pages such as your services, about me, and contact pages.

7. Mobile friendliness

Today, more people use their smartphones to browse the web than ever before. It’s important to design your website so that it looks great and performs well on these devices.

Implementing a responsive web design will help ensure that you are providing a great experience to your mobile users. With this design, your pages will automatically adjust to fit the user’s screen size.

Wrapping Up

For expert assistance with custom web design informed by quality user experience research and comprehensive support for your branding strategy, contact us.

Every Seedling Digital site is completely custom built from scratch, to suit each business, to showcase each proof point, to connect and land with your target market. Not sure if we’re a good fit? Not sure what your business needs? I understand it’s a lot to think through! Sometimes it’s better to jump on a Zoom call and talk it out. Book a call and let’s figure it out!

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