The first impression in branding matters a lot to the audience. It guides their judgment about the business within the first seconds of visiting the website. Therefore, a website and its design is a very important aspect of a brand that should not be ignored.
What the audience sees first makes them stick around or leave the web page. The web page should communicate what the brand is offering. It should also impact people when they interact with it through navigation, content reading or even taking actions to make purchases.
Therefore, website design and its associated practices are important for the overall digital marketing strategy and brand success. A great web design should align with the overarching brand strategy.
Besides good aesthetics, it should also help the visitor understand the company products, the visuals, texts and even interactions. The web design should work towards a given goal i.e. it should be designed to make the user experience memorable and enjoyable.
Maintaining focus in web design is key in order to help customers and not just make the brand look cool. A good web design should bear usability, readability, build brand trust and improve search engine optimization. The following are some of the practices that web designers should embrace when designing websites.
Understanding why you are creating the website and who it is for is very important. The end goal of the website’s design must be understood and the expectations clearly defined as to what the website is going to achieve. This guides how to design the website to fit accordingly to the industry in which it is operating.
Defining the goal can be done by identifying the audience persona, creating briefs, conducting a competitor analysis, and assessing brand attributes. Goals should be clearly defined and measurable so that the web design is established towards that. The website should convey the brand message to the audience.
Visuals are an important element of website design practices. They help improve the audience’s engagement with the website. Studies show that people interact with videos or images faster than texts. Therefore, images and videos should be used moderately and in balance with the text on the website to enhance readability and capture the audience’s attention.
Overused images make the site feel overwhelming and cluttered. Therefore purposeful image use is important to strengthen the relevance of the message being conveyed. Videos and images should be used as add-ons or explanations to some text. Additionally, stock photos should be avoided to demonstrate the authenticity of the message.
The visual elements should be organized and arranged hierarchically i.e. the most important appears first while the least important appears last. The hierarchy should lead customers to the desired actions.
Other brand elements such as colour choice, logos and typography should be applied accordingly and be appealing to the eye. Additionally, typefaces should be legible and nothing fancy or artsy should be used to avoid distraction. Graphics should also be used if they’re helping in achieving a particular goal.
Simplicity is key in website design. Web designers should make it easier for the users to quickly find information on the website. The information obtained will guide their decision-making and make them likely to convert into becoming customers. Site navigation should be organized hierarchically to enable easy access to information.
Create a horizontal navigation bar across the top of the page and add the sub-categories. These subcategories should have simple sub-headings like the product type, services, about, partners, location, etc. in the form of drop-down menus.
Consider using bread crumbs to help in the site navigation. Further, include a search bar tab to enhance the searching of information and keywords by the user. Add links within your pages that clearly demonstrate what it is all about. Remember, consistency is also important when navigating through a site and the most important information should come at the top.
Readability or Typography
Readers should not have trouble reading information on the site. Understand brand typography and correctly select the fonts to be used on the website. There should be a contrast between the text and the background colours i.e. the text colour should stand out and clean font used.
The simplicity of the fonts should be considered, especially the body aspect of the website. The font used should be legible and the right size. Short sentences should be embraced to make it easy for the users to read the content.
Further, have short paragraphs and each should contain new information so that users can feel it is important and should read it. Discard unnecessary text on your page.
The website should be flexible and compatible with different devices used by the users. A responsive site resizes and reshuffles accordingly to fit the user’s device whether a desktop, tablet or mobile phone as well as the browser used.
Web designers should test the website cross-browser compatibility to check and evaluate how the website appears on different browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc.
Additionally, navigability on the different devices should be smooth. Website designers should think about the mobile-first since most users use mobile phones to access information on the internet daily. Therefore, the experience provided by the website should be the same and great.
Strong Call to Actions (CTAs)
CTAs should align with a user’s interests and should direct and determine the next steps they take into becoming customers. They should be clearly defined and relevant to inform their next steps, lead them to another page or have them sign-up for an email or contact you.
This gives you the power to lead your business in the right direction. Additionally, CTAs direct them to other pages which increases the time spent on your website which increases the search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.
Web designers should be creative when developing CTA buttons. They should be bold, powerful and stand out when one visits the page. They should also be readable and clear and the colours used should trigger the emotions of the users into taking actions of purchase or conversion.