We all think we know what it takes to effectively design a website. But how many times have you been to a website and left because the design is too complicated, the information isn’t readily available, so the navigation is clearly lackluster? Below, I’ll talk about my tips and tricks to delivering a client a well performing and user friendly website!
1. Don’t make it hard or complicated to use– this may be easier said than done when you have a really cool concept for a site or want to take your user on a special journey. But remember more often than not, your user wants to find information fast (within a few seconds), they don’t have ten or fifteen minutes to try and find the product or information they are looking for.
This is a problem we often see with big global fashion brands websites (we’re not naming any names) but some of their sites are extremely hard to navigate, take ages to load and are super frustrating to use. Remember this when you are designing your site. What did you find annoying on a website that made you give up and go elsewhere? Remember this and make sure not to repeat the same mistakes on your own site.
The best sites are simple, easy to navigate and user friendly. They should also load quickly no matter where you are or what device you are using. When I was training to be a journalist we were taught the K.I.S.S. (“keep it simple stupid!”) method when learning writing style and actually it applies to web design too.
2. Don’t use every color in the rainbow– it may be tempting to add lots of color to your site, and there is nothing wrong with a colorful website, but try to stick to a color palette of between 3-5 colors or complimenting hues/shades. The less colors you use, the more impact it actually has on your site. Also, remember to make sure the color you use for your body text is easy to read no matter what size the font is. Yellow for example is not a good color for body text as can be very hard to read in different lights, if you want to use yellow, consider using a dark yellow, a green shade or black or grey for body text within your color palette.
3. Don’t make your homepage too text heavy, it shouldn’t look like an open book (unless you’re a writer/author and that’s the aesthetic you are going for). A good rule of thumb is to always consider your homepage as your shop window, it should entice your customer to come into your website and look around, just like a shop window. So make sure to have lots of images, videos, a couple of product galleries with latest products or sale products on the homepage and try to not have reams of text. A few short paragraphs with a link to find out more on your about page or other relevant pages is fine.
4. Don’t forget to add navigation – if you have a lot of content on your homepage and find it is quite long, make sure you add a back to top of the page functionality. You should also use anchors and links to help visitors navigate around your site, and of course ALWAYS make sure to have some kind of menu navigation either at the top of the page, as a floating menu, or a pop-up lightbox type menu.
5. Don’t have buttons or links that don’t work. Nothing is more frustrating as a website user than going to a website and clicking on a button or a link that doesn’t work or takes you to the wrong place. Always check that all your buttons and link work correctly and go to the correct place they are meant to.