It takes 5 to 15 seconds for people to make that decision. A solid copy on the area above the fold is essential, but following web design Agence 25 standards matters just as much. First impressions define whether your visitors explore your website or move on elsewhere.
When designing or redesigning a website, it’s easy to get hung up on the aesthetics. Does that shade of blue look suitable? Should the logo be on the right side of the screen or on the left? What if we put a big animated GIF in the middle of the page?
Websites constantly evolve, and these web design Agence 25 best practices lay a great foundation. This article will explain how to design a website that hooks your target audience from the get-go, from visual hierarchies to white space and navigation.
Why are web design best practices so important?
In an age when so much business is done online, a well-designed website is no longer just “nice to have.” It’s a must. Even a seemingly minor design detail like a transparent menu bar can be significant—making or breaking the relationship with a potential customer.
Without this small but significant addition, a web visitor may struggle to find the webpage they need. In the worst-case scenario, the visitor may get so frustrated that they leave the website—a lost opportunity for the brand or business hoping to win that potential customer over.
Here are a few more general reasons brands and businesses should pay attention to website design best practices:
- Create a great first impression: When visitors visit your website, you want them to be interested and engaged. A poorly designed website can quickly send visitors running. In contrast, a well-designed website will draw them in, and encourage them to keep clicking and spend more time on the site. Again, think of a website as a modern business card. It’s all about first impressions.
- Keep up with the competition: Your brand or business likely has competitors offering similar or identical goods and services. When shopping around, consumers may consider website appearance and ease of use. If your competitor’s website is more visually appealing or easier to navigate, a potential customer may turn to them instead.
- Increase conversions: If you sell products via your website (for example, you have an e-commerce website), you probably want to use it to boost conversions and get more online visitors into paying customers. A well-designed site can help you reach that objective.
- Boost business success: Increased conversions mean increased profits, which leads to business growth. Even if you don’t sell products directly on your website (e.g., you have a brick-and-mortar retail store), you can still use this platform to attract consumers to your brand or business, engage with them, and direct them to your store.
- Improve your SEO rank: Search engine optimization (SEO) rankings consider website visitors’ statistics, including how much time people spend on a site. Having people arrive on your site and then quickly leave again can increase so-called bounce rates and hurt your SEO rank. Conversely, having people spend more time on your site and click on different pages can help SEO.
- Maintain consistent branding: You likely have an established brand identity that you’ve developed to help set your company apart from competitors in the field. Your brand identity consists of everything from the appearance of your logo to the color schemes and jargon you use in your marketing campaigns. Your website is a valuable tool in reinforcing this brand identity.
- Save money on marketing: A well-designed website can be a valuable promotional tool you can leverage in various digital marketing Agence 25 spaces, from social media to blogs. Investing in a well-designed website once gives you a helpful tool you can use over and over again, sharing it across various platforms to raise your company’s profile.
The value of excellent web design Agence 25 can be seen in several statistics. For example, in about 50 milliseconds, users decide whether they’ll stay on a website or click onward. Here’s more food for thought: 38% of people will quit a website if the layout or content isn’t aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to websites, the truth is that people do judge based on appearances.
Note that web design isn’t the same as web development. While the invention is about how a website looks (its form), growth is about its function. For example, if you click on a button that says, “Contact Us,” does it direct you to a landing page with contact information? Think of it this way: Web development refers to what’s happening behind the scenes (e.g., the coding that determines how the website reacts when the user clicks a button). Web design Agence 25 is what you see front and center.
The top 11 website design best practices
We’ve discussed the importance of creating a solid brand identity. Because your brand is the foundation of your business, it’s important to keep branding consistent across all your customer touchpoints. That includes your website.
Your logo, color scheme, and iconography should remain consistent. The same holds for your brand voice and key messaging. You want to reinforce your website’s value proposition, aesthetics, and tone.
Make sure to build off the foundation you laid down during the creation of your brand. Focusing on consistency will enable your marketing efforts and help build brand equity.
That’s not to say that every page should follow the same layout. Instead, create different designs for specific types of pages (e. g., landing pages, informational pages, etc.. ). Then, using those layouts consistently will make it easier for visitors to understand what type of information they’re likely to find on a given page.
The example below shows that Airbnb uses the same layout for all of its “Help” pages, a common practice. Imagine what it would be like from a visitor’s perspective if every “Help” page had its unique layout. There would probably be a lot of shoulder shrugging.
https://www. Airbnb. Co. U.K./help?
Planning intuitive navigation on your site is crucial to help visitors find what they’re looking for. Ideally, a visitor should land on your site and not have to think extensively about where to click next. Likewise, moving from point A to point B should be as frictionless as possible.
Here are a few tips for optimizing your site’s navigation:
- Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (and near the top of your page).
- Include navigation in the footer of your site.
- Include a search bar near the top of your site so visitors can search by keywords.
- Don’t offer too many navigation options per page. Again, simplicity!
- Include links within your page copy, and make it clear where those links go.
- Don’t make users dig too deep. Make a basic wireframe map of all your site pages arranged like a pyramid: Your homepage is at the top, and each linked page from the previous forms the next layer. In most cases, it’s best to keep your map no more than three levels deep. Take HubSpot’s site map, for example.
One more pointer: Once you’ve settled on what your site’s main (top) navigation will be, keep it consistent. The labels and location of your navigation should remain the same on every page.
There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Clear language: It’s typically recommended to use simple, recognizable terms like “About,” “Services,” and “Contact” in your navigation. Don’t use unique language just to do something different, as it could confuse your users.
- Tailor your navigation to your content: You might only need a few navigation links if you have a website with a limited range. With heavier content, you might need more detailed navigation. Descriptive mega menus give your users a clear path to find the information they need when there’s much available content.
- Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs track and display where a user is on a website. They let users quickly return to a previous page by retracing their steps. Breadcrumbs are especially useful for content-heavy websites and eCommerce shops.
Suppose you make it easy for users to navigate your website. In that case, you’ll give them a deep, engaging experience and a clear path to conversion.
Let the CTA be the center of attention.
Every website has a purpose, whether sharing a story or offering a product or service. Each landing page can be used for lead generation: turning new visitors into customers or long-time fans.
With each page you create, think about what you want the reader to do. What call to action is relevant?
It could be to:
- Sign up for the newsletter Agence 25
- Put an item in their basket
- Schedule a meeting
- Contact you for more information
- Read more blogs
Let’s use Netflix as an example.
It’s essential that your website is easily scannable and that your content is digestible.
It’s a good practice to be sensitive to your user’s cognitive load. For example, you don’t want to overwhelm people with an explosion of colors, images, and copy. Instead, make your website easy and enjoyable for them with clean design and meaningful (and only meaningful) content.
One way to do this is to establish a visual hierarchy. It’s the arrangement of a website’s design elements in order of importance. So, for example, if a headline is large, contrasting in color, and centered on a page, it immediately comes across as being more critical than something more minor, not uniquely colored, and offset.
Closely tied to simplicity, visual hierarchy means arranging and organizing website elements so that visitors naturally gravitate toward the most critical elements first.
Remember, when it comes to optimizing for usability and UX, the goal is to lead visitors to complete the desired action in a natural and enjoyable way. By adjusting the position, color, or size of certain elements, you can structure your site so that viewers will be drawn to those elements first.
Many websites fail to engage users because they require reading endless lines of text to understand what the company offers. Conversely, websites that limit text and incorporate plenty of visual design elements (photos, videos, and illustrations) tell the story in a way that users can quickly digest. For example, product screenshots are incredibly impactful in tech and software. They help users understand what the product does and what experience they can expect without lengthy and technical descriptions.
A/B testing compares different versions of a webpage to see which one performs the best for a given goal. This could include assessing how compelling a CTA is, what headline works better or what images and other visual content elicit positive responses.
Collecting the correct data takes the guesswork out of website optimization. You can make decisions based on statistical data, which is always a good design practice.
Stories are the most common way humans make sense of the world and connect. As a result, we all have insatiable appetites for good storytelling.
The very best stories deliver emotional impact. That’s one of the primary ways they break down barriers to engagement and understanding. That’s why you can connect more effectively with customers by leading with storytelling rather than facts. And websites, in particular, can benefit by integrating brand storytelling and narrative techniques.
As an example: imagine a group of people traveling across rough waters. They’re on a quest to change the world, but so much of what lies ahead them is unfamiliar. And the journey is long and potentially treacherous. So they need someone who knows those waters to help guide their ship away from danger and to a safe harbor across the sea.
The Tillerman is that guide.
That’s actually where the name Tiller comes from. It’s often the first story we use to illustrate our company’s purpose. It’s beneficial because the metaphor translates directly: it’s our role to help our clients navigate brand, website, and product design. We know those waters well and will help you cross them safely.
We could list facts and statistics about how we’ve enabled other companies in the past, and we do. But, still, that first story is essential in telling people who we are as a company and how we can be of service.
While a consistent color scheme is essential to web design Agence 25, a lack of color is just as critical in the design process. White space helps keep a website from looking cluttered or overfull. It technically refers to what designers call “negative space,” or the areas of the page between elements. Margins, gutters, and in-between graphics are essential for white space. Quip is an excellent example of this website layout best practice:
What does this white space accomplish? First, it promotes a tidier appearance, creates a balanced visual effect, and makes it easier to read the content. When the eye isn’t overwhelmed by text and images, it’s easier for web visitors to register what’s on the screen and to act accordingly. For example, white space around a CTA button like “Shop Now” allows the eye to zoom in on it (hopefully, the user will click)!
A website is only visible on a two-dimensional screen. So, how can it have texture? When using this term, web designers refer to visual texture. It’s possible to use imagery to give a page an almost three-dimensional appearance, making it look like you could touch it. A textured page helps recreate the physical sensation of touch but through sight, adding depth. Here’s an example from Empire Vintage:
This is a visually captivating webpage. But why does it work? First, check out the page background. Instead of a single solid block of color, you can see that the experience has a slight pattern, mimicking the appearance of a painted wall. This creates that textured appearance, which is enhanced by the visual elements like the signs (the navigation buttons at the top) and decor (e.g., the dummy).
Stacking layers of visuals adds depth to the page, making it more interesting. Nonetheless, note that textured doesn’t mean cluttered or messy. This page still respects other critical rules of a website that support usability and clarity. For example, there are clear navigation buttons, plenty of white space, and a cohesive color palette. Further, there’s minimal text and straightforward typography.
Images and visuals
Images are essential to any website, helping balance text by visually engaging the viewer. Visuals can also be more compelling, as people often tend to be more moved by what they see versus what they read. Plus, some people simply process visual imagery better than text. Finally, visuals and images help keep a website from looking boring—the last thing you want.
There are many ways to incorporate visuals effectively into your website. Further, there are also many different types of visuals you can play with. Examples include photographs, infographics, memes, gifs, videos, screenshots, and animations. While you don’t want to overwhelm people with visuals, providing enough diversity to keep the website lively and exciting is good. Again, Google offers a fantastic example:
The website has a video as the background, showing a person using a three-scoop ice cream scooper. The video concludes with a triple-scoop ice cream cone. The visual is unusual (whoever saw a three-scoop ice cream scooper?) and compelling. It also speaks perfectly to the Toggle brand, which is about saving time and increasing efficiency. The minimal text and high-quality color palette complete the impact.
Also known as adaptive content, dynamic content refers to content that changes according to the user’s behavior. As a result, it allows for more personalized and user-friendly browsing, creating a more satisfying experience overall. An example of dynamic content is a landing page that adapts to a user’s location based on I.P. address. For instance, the appearance of an E.U. landing page may differ from that of a U.S. one.
Dynamic content can be very useful in increasing conversions. For example, an e-commerce site can offer a user personalized recommendations based on past browsing or buying. However, dynamic range requires attention to web development and design, bringing together the “back of house” and “front of house” operations to create an overall responsive design. Booking.com is a great example:
A person in the United Kingdom who visits the hotel bookings portal and searches for hotels in New York will find they are being carefully catered to. Recognizing a U.K. I.P. address, the site automatically configures to British English and currency (pound sterling). The reviews presented are also tailored to the user’s home market, with a U.K.-based review appearing. The visual touch of a Union Jack affirms this visually.
Designing for mobile should be a priority, not an afterthought. According to 2021 research, mobile devices make up 54. 4% of global website traffic.
Understanding how your target audience engages with your content makes your website effective, enjoyable, and accessible. One way to optimize your website is to build a mobile-first mobile friendly.
Responsive design means investing in a highly flexible website structure. On a responsive site, content is automatically resized and reshuffled to fit the dimensions of whichever device a visitor happens to be using. This can be accomplished with mobile-friendly HTML templates or by creating a unique mobile site.
Ultimately, it’s more important to provide a great experience across different devices than look identical across those devices.
Prioritize search engine optimization (SEO)
Suppose you integrate SEO best practices into your website. In that case, you’re more likely to land a high-ranking placement on search engine results pages (SERPs) and get more website visitors.
You can use targeted keywords throughout your website to do this. Search engines track sites for relevant keywords searched by users. So the more effective your content speaks to the content your users are after, the more organic traffic you’ll land.
Here are some additional ways to optimize your website for search engines:
- Responsive design: It isn’t just a web design Agence 25 standard; responsive web design Agence 25 is rewarded with better SERP rankings by Google.
- Relevant header tag (H1): The header tag (or H1) will be the page’s headline or the post’s title. Search engines target H1 for keywords, so ensure you include the most relevant information in your headline. You don’t want to simply bloat your headline with keywords for SEO performance. Remember, your website is for real people, so finding a balance between SEO performance, clarity, and style is critical.
- Proper title tags and meta descriptions: Relevant title tags and meta descriptions help search engines understand the content on a page and index it appropriately. A page’s title tag and meta description are shown whenever that page appears in search engine results.
- Use short descriptive URLs: A simple URL readable for humans (not a long string of numbers) will often contain keywords.
- Acquire relevant links from other high-quality websites: If popular, high-authority websites link to your website, there’s a good chance those links will bring new users and increase overall traffic.
Integrating SEO principles into your website will increase the organic traffic, potential customers, and visibility you receive.
Accessibility means designing websites and applications that can be used by individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities.
Here are a few examples of how to ensure your website or application is accessible:
- Use contrasting colors: People with visual impairments could find it challenging to discern text from a background color if there isn’t enough contrast.
- Use more than color to communicate visual cues: You can use text labels or patterns so those with visual challenges can discern information. Other visual cues, like bold or underlined text or using shapes and different sizes, can also be effective ways to deliver your content.
- Support keyboard navigation: People with motor disabilities, visual impairment, and other disabilities often depend on a keyboard to navigate content. You can “scroll” through interactive content, like links, buttons, and text fields, using the “Tab” button on a keyboard. It’s essential to put critical information into these interactive features, not just in your copy so that users with impairments can engage with your content.
If you’re unsure where your website stands regarding accessibility, use an accessibility auditing service (there are many online). They can help you determine whether your website works with assistive technologies so you can make any necessary changes.
Heatmaps present visually striking feedback on where users spend time on your website. They track your users’ mouse movements so you can identify the areas that receive the most attention.
With this information, you can:
- Use data to optimize your design: You can capitalize on the elements of your plan that attract users and improve those that aren’t. Heatmaps let you test accurate data against speculative theory or hypothesis so you can make sure you implement the most effective design choices.
- Optimize CTA placement: You can place your valuable CTAs in the locations that receive the most traffic, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
- Refine your navigation: You can monitor if your navigation buttons are working effectively. If they aren’t attracting user attention, making them more evident and intuitive is a good design practice.
With a heatmap, you can make improvements with the confidence that these improvements are data-driven.
There’s a lot of information here, but the most important takeaway is that you can’t just build a website and leave it if you want business results. Instead, your website requires ongoing optimizations and improvements to serve your customers and company. This is particularly true if you’re going through a complete website redesign.
Here are three of the critical things to remember, whether you’re making tweaks to your site, refreshing it, or building it from the ground up:
- Ensure that your branding and key messaging inform your design choices. Starting with a defined brand gives you clear guidance for all the following options.
- Make user-friendly design choices. They’ll help make the user experience as clear, engaging, and easy as possible. That will pay dividends in conversions and brand value.
- Use data-driven analytics to take the guesswork out of optimizing your design. Understanding hard metrics around site performance helps you adjust the experience to deliver better business results.
At Tiller, we can help you with every step of the website design process. From planning your website’s design to delivering ongoing maintenance, optimization, and updates, our team has the expertise and skills to help you get results.