With so many sleek and beautiful websites out there, it can be tempting to look for interesting and innovative ways to make new sites stand out. However, over-thinking web design can be one of the first steps towards failure. In practice, site visitors are looking for readability and navigability when browsing its pages, and appreciate a degree of familiarity in terms of the site’s layout. Indeed, many websites, consciously or not, feature fairly similar layouts that internet users have become accustomed to, and it is imperative that web designers are mindful of this when drawing up a new site.
So how can this usability be achieved? According to Steve Krug, who wrote an endlessly helpful book entitled ‘Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability,’ the first law of usability is that the web page should be self-explanatory and obvious in its intentions. In other words, users should be able to glean the site’s main purpose and uses within seconds, and should almost automatically know which pages they would like to navigate to on the site. As such we’ve set out a few tips to think about when designing a new site:
To achieve a self-explanatory site, organise pages in the form of a top-down design with clearly marked sections, allowing visitors to browse at their leisure without getting frustrated.
With people’s schedules more hectic than ever before, it is crucial that your web page can be navigated within seconds. Do not add any fancy graphics or introductory videos that are likely to waste someone’s time.
Placing too much verbose, unnecessary content on a site can put people off before they’ve even started navigating your site. Make sure to include only the minimum amount necessary to get your point across.
It is important that visitors to a site can easily navigate their way back to a home page to avoid getting lost in a maze of pages. Most sites nowadays feature the home page icon in the top left hand corner of the site, and it may be a good idea to follow suit.
Users who are looking for a particular service or piece of information will automatically head for your site’s search bar. Make sure it will not take them long to find.
Including too many vibrant colours can make for an unpleasant and even painful browsing experience. Make sure you stick to a limited palette which features complementary colours.
If you need help designing your website, head to Monster Creative web design and development pages to check out what services we have to offer.
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