"96% of people notice design first, 6% of people notice content first."
Agreeing that website design is important, let us get straight into it.
Here are three important design elements to keep in mind when designing a website:
When designing your website, it is important to keep the design flat. This means you won't have flashing content that will frustrate the visitor and encourage them to leave your website. Flat design is very attractive when the right mix of imagery, colours and fonts are used together. You are able to guide the visitors eyes to the important aspect of your website, engaging them and starting that conversation with them. Since we have covered brand elements such as colours and fonts, lets move on to imagery.
Upfront, invest in professional photography. People want to see what is on offer and because they notice imagery first, make sure it looks good. We have seen the success in websites that have great photography. If your business is product driven, images can be taken in your home or work space. The perception is more credible and the product becomes more desirable.
When placing images on your website, be strategic and not scarce or overwhelming. Support text with imagery and be sure that the image relates to the text. Don't just use an image you think is 'nice', rather use images that are relevant to your brand and is within the right colour palette. If your brand is neat and nature driven, an image of a messy burger won't necessarily work for your brand.
Imagery is not limited to pictures for banners, support pictures to text or a background. They can also be info graphics that are created to represent services/categories throughout your website. This will help guide the visitor to your website to go exactly where they want to be.
You may think that this is an obvious point, yet visitors on your website may not know that the hamburger icon (three lines horizontally under one another) is actually a drop down menu. However, these only come up on mobile versions of a website, or if you have too many headings on your navigation menu for the width of your computer screen.
The first thing to consider are the naming of the headings for your navigation menu. You may have great services to help people but what you name it or where you place it may not make sense to your website visitor. Don't have more than 6 headings on your navigation menu, as it can become confusing with too many options and visitors will struggle to go directly to where they need to be. If you have many pages around a similar topic and all the info is too long for one page, make a folder for all the relating pages.
Placement of the navigation menu is important too. The font needs to be legible and a good reading size. For most websites, you will find the navigation menu is at the top of the page with the logo either above, below, to the left, or to the right. Each designer and brand has their preference. Ensure that your placement enhances the logo and that the navigation menu is easy to use and see throughout the website, not just on the home page.
Navigation is not only the navigation menu on the website, it is also the way that the visitors manoeuvre through your website. Don't be afraid to use links within your text to direct the visitor to where they need to be or give them extra information. You could also use this as an advantage and make a link for visitors to directly email you.
Ensure that there is a flow through your website and that there are links and/or buttons at the bottom of each page so that visitors don't need to scroll all the way up again to go to the next page. This will create a distraction and they could possibly just leave your website as it is as extra effort.