The way it works, not the way it looks, determines the success of any website. Usability is the key word to consider when embarking on a new website design project in order to deliver business goals such as increased profitability and customer retention.
Website Design Dos
Smashing Magazine sets out the importance of being user-centred when designing any website. Be aware of how users behave and keep asking yourself how users think (instead of asking yourself what you think about it) whenever you are making decisions about what to do with your website.
Do keep things simple, especially when it comes to the design. Visitors are rarely coming to your site to experience the way it looks.
Do use the right language. Effective writing on websites is as short as possible, uses blocks of text that are broken up into digestible chunks with italics, bold or bullet points, and gets straight to the point using business language.
Visual communication is important as well. This means everything from the way a page is laid out (use an organized page structure) to the way fonts are used (a maximum of three fonts should be used across your site) and the types of images included (styled to focus visitors’ attention where you most want them to take action).
Do test your ideas as they are being developed. Keep testing and refining even after you’ve launched what you might think is the final version of your website.
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Website Design Don’ts
Don’t make users think. The navigation and structure of your website should be intuitive so that visitors can easily move between pages to find what they want and don’t have any barriers to taking action.
Don’t test their patience. Keep pages short, don’t ask for more information than you need in forms and don’t forget to be transparent about what you’ll do with personal data.
Don’t forget to analyse and evaluate everything you do and use this information to inform future design developments.
Finding the right website design partner will help you do all the right things and avoid the don’ts in your pursuit to improve the performance of your website for your business.