Are you a web designer who wants to streamline the designing process? It can be a challenge for creative people to smoothly develop designs for websites, even if you’re not new in the field. Our recommendation? Put together a checklist of the most important site elements so you have a starting point for every job.
As you work on your next web design project, make sure you’re hitting each of these aspects of the user experience (UX):
- Every visitor to your website is going to need a fast, easy way to get around. That’s where your chosen navigation system comes into play. Think of it as a roadmap for the entire site. Getting from point to point should be almost ridiculously logical and take little effort on the part of the user. Remember, if you get too creative with your navigation, it can result in lost customers and unhappy site visitors. Use your innovative side judiciously if you’re going to stray from accepted navigation styles.
- You may not write the content you include in your web design, but that doesn’t make it any less important. It’s going to be your job to highlight the text in the best way possible. That means making it readable and easy to skim. People have changed their reading habits since the Internet took hold. They want easily digestible bullet points — not long, tedious sentences and paragraphs. As a web designer, you must keep this in mind as you’re incorporating text into your framework.
- Color plays a huge role in the way users respond to a site. They need to feel that the colors they see are appropriate for what the website is saying, selling, or doing. This requires you to choose colors that will resonate with your target audience, as well as reflect the culture of the business behind the website. Not sure what to suggest or where to start? Check out the competitions’ sites and see which colors they are using. If they all seem to follow a certain color structure, find out why before choosing a contrasting color scheme.
- Call to Action. Every page needs at least one call to action (CTA). This is a step that tells readers what to do. For instance, a CTA might be a button that takes them to a sign-up for a newsletter. It could also be a link that delivers them immediately to an ecommerce store so they can shop. Webpages without CTAs are really wasting space because CTAs are important cues for users.
- Social Icons. Don’t make the mistake of having your social media icons too large, but do be sure they are visible. Many people head to a website, notice the social icons, and eventually head over to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ pages.
- A great image can say more than a headline or paragraph, but only if it’s used in the right context. For instance, the website for Tria, a restaurant, demonstrates the allure of high-quality images. Imagery should always follow the storyline of your website, rather than be added as a purely aesthetic element. If your web design client doesn’t have professional photos and you’re relegated to getting stock photography, be cautious. Popular stock photography images are used frequently, and they may even be on your client’s competitors’ sites!
- A cool font is a fine way to make a website stand out, but you should make sure it looks appropriate. Check it out when it’s blown up as well as when it’s small. Be certain all the characters you need in your text work with the font package you choose, especially if you have unusual symbols or foreign letters. Some font packages don’t have special characters, and certain ones may not transfer to mobile website devices.
- Search Bar. As websites grow older, they typically get more webpages. Plenty of websites are designed and developed to have hundreds or thousands of pages from day one. A search bar can help visitors find what they need very quickly. In fact, you’ll probably start to see more search bars in the future as it becomes an expected element, not just something that’s nice to have.
You don’t have to look far to find each of these aspects of web design in use on the Internet. Take a trip to some of your favorite personal and professional sites. Make notes of what you like and what you don’t like. This will help you design a stronger, more user-friendly site that appeals to the right audiences for your client.