In today’s digital world, the first interaction we have with clients or potential clients is via our websites. Once a person hears your company’s name, chances are they will Google you immediately to see if you even have a website. While owning a website might mean that your company is legit, it does not guarantee that clients will continue to interact with you. If you’re looking to drive up interaction on your website, and attract a fair amount of new followers, you need to ensure that you have a user-friendly website design.
Over the internet, people prefer websites that are easy to navigate. They want to be able to find what they are looking for with minimum clicks. Unfortunately, while creating our websites, we tend to get stuck up on the aesthetics, rather than spending time worrying about the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI). We spend hours arguing over the exact shade of green or blue that we want, and end up ignoring the UX and UI design aspects that could actually help our business in the long run.
If you’re looking to redesign your website, then here are a few website design guidelines for you to keep in mind:
1. Keep it Simple:
Often, people come to your website because they are looking for some specific piece of information, or because they need to complete some action – they aren’t just looking to see how beautiful the colours are, or how great your design is. It’s important that you get rid of any unnecessary elements on your page. If something doesn’t serve a functional purpose, it needs to go because it makes it harder for visitors to complete what they’re trying to accomplish on your site.
If you want to simplify your website design, follow these great user interface design guidelines:
- Colours – Your website shouldn’t look like a rainbow. Keep the colours to a minimum, and never use more than five colours on your website’s design.
- Graphics – Exercise caution when it comes to using graphics. If a graphic doesn’t help a user perform or complete a task, then it isn’t necessary and should be avoided.
- Typefaces – First things first, the typeface you use should be legible. If it isn’t easy to read, you need to rethink your choice. Here again, don’t use too many variations – a maximum of three typefaces in a maximum of three sizes across your website should be more than enough.
2. Visual Hierarchy:
Similar to the concept of keeping it simple, you need to arrange your website content so that users automatically move towards the most important content first. The goal of your website should be to lead visitors to complete an action, but you should also make the journey enjoyable for them. Adjust the position, size and colour of certain elements to draw visitors to those elements instantly.
3. Easy Navigation:
Your website’s navigation should be intuitive. Visitors shouldn’t have to think about what their next step should be. Your website’s design should automatically lead them to where they want to go.
These user interface guidelines will help you make their journey smooth and simple:
- Your primary navigation structure should be simple and at the top of your page.
- Navigation should be included in your website’s footer as well.
- Allow people to easily track their navigation by using breadcrumbs on every page except the homepage.
- Put in a search box at the top of your site, so users can easily find what they’re looking for using keywords.
- Keep your navigation simple and to three levels or less.
- Your navigation should be kept consistent across your site.
While this may seem like an obvious suggestion, it’s an important one that any website design guide will highlight. Every page of your website should look similar. Everything from your colour scheme, to your background images, typefaces and tone of content should be consistent over all your website pages. However, to avoid everything looking exactly the same; play around with the layouts so that even though your pages are similar, there is still some amount of difference to keep your website interesting.
Tablet consumption went up by 30% from 2013 to 2015. This means that you need to ensure your website design functions well not only on a laptop or desktop, but on a tablet or mobile device as well. To make the most of your website, it needs to be responsive and also highly-flexible. If somebody wants to visit your website while they are travelling, the fact that they are using a mobile device shouldn’t take away from their overall website experience.
While these tips to design a user-friendly website will help set you on the right path, they are by no means a comprehensive set of web design guidelines. Keeping these tips in mind while overhauling your website may allow you to encourage users to interact with you more often, but at the end of the day, you need to do what you think is best for your website and your users.