August 16, 2012
A well designed website is a pleasure to use. It captures the attention of users, conveys the information that they might need and convinces them to connect with the service. A website also reflects the attitude the company has towards its customers and whether they are able to keep up with the times.
In this article, we will look at 10 principles that are required for making a website good from the design perspective.
1. Reduce User’s Cognitive Effort
Make the webpage obvious. It should not require detailed explanations for it to work. Keep the navigation structure of the website intuitive and visible.
2. Don’t Waste User’s Time With Trifles
When you need a user to sign up for a service, keep the process as simple as possible. 3-4 steps on a single page is usually the limit in terms of the number of steps a user is willing to put up with to sign up for your service. In case more steps are required, arrange them sequentially in one page itself.
3. Attempt to Focus a Visitor’s Attention
If your website is selling a product on sale for a limited period, use the design of the webpage to focus the user’s attention to it. Do not use a pop-up style banner to convey the message.
4. Showcase the Website’s Features Effectively
If your site offers 9 divisions that provide access to other pages, make sure that all 9 major headers are easily visible. By doing this you will be able to effectively showcase all that you have to offer.
5. Write Effective Content
Try to write the content on your website in simple language that is broken down category-wise and which has headers that are easy for a user to scan through.
6. Don’t Complicate Things
Users typically visit a website to access information and not for the design. In fact they search for the information despite the design. Try to simplify this process by keeping things as simple as possible.
7. Use Your White Space Effectively
Making use of the space on your website doesn’t mean cluttering it with things. In most cases it is a battle to keep things as simple as possible. Using the white space in your website to differentiate categories is an effective design strategy.
8. Communicate Effectively
When using your website as a visual communication tool, remember to check the content and design for the essentials that need to be communicated and the clarity with which it is communicated. Further, keep the visual cues to the point to enhance distinctiveness and to provide emphasis.
9. Use Familiar Formats
Little things like placing the search box in places where users would expect it, using familiar terms like sign-up and log-in and placing the major links in familiar places will help in reducing the user’s learning curve for your website.
This stands for Test Early, Test Often. This is an oft overlooked aspect of the website development lifecycle. Testing early with users makes the difference in sticking to schedule and delivering the product that satisfies your client’s requirements.