This week, I saw a LinkedIn discussion that asked “What do you think are top 10 considerations for web design?”
Interesting question. The first response I saw said “usability, usability, usability”. I agree with this response…but I think there are at least 10 things that make a site usable, usable, usable. So I’ll try to focus my list on what makes your site visitors want to use, use, and use your site again.
First your site has to be beautiful, or at least look professional, because if it’s not, people will leave it before you have a chance to show them all the other elements that make your site worthy of their time.
It must have logical navigation that is easy for users to follow. You must lead them through your site; help them find the nugget of information they seek, by providing clear, simple navigation.
3. Well-written content.
Never underestimate the power of a well-written phrase to draw people in, to coax them to delve deeper. Follow that phrase with clearly written content that’s organized and written to be understood by your site visitors. Write first for your visitors, not for your cronies or for search bots.
4. Match content to design.
Use the content to help define the design. A serious subject should look serious. A fun product should have a fun website.
Use a writing style that is conducive to online viewing, scanning and reading. Use short paragraphs with headings, bullets and graphics to draw the eye easily to specific ideas. And give the user’s eyes a break with a healthy dose of white space.
Know your market. Choose your colors, your styles, and your language depending on who will visit your site. Are they old, young, adventurous or sedate? Are they likely to be using a ten-year old home computer or the latest smartphone or IPad to browse your site? Use typography, color and design that will appeal to your users.
7. Style commitment.
Define your styles and stick with ’em. Maintain a cohesive design. Whether you use a jazzy heading font with a high contrast color scheme or a traditional type with monochromatic scheme. Commit to it.
Don’t discriminate. Make your site usable to all folks, bots and beings. Although it’s not always necessary to comply with Section 508 standards, it’s a good idea to understand what your web pages will sound like using a screen reader. And it’s wise to use text that the user can size to their preference — even if it does make your site design look a little funky. Validate your code so you won’t trip up miscellaneous bots, browsers and other beings who might be perusing the web.
9. Optimize for search engines.
Use best practices for SEO. Write code that doesn’t obstruct or deter the searchbots. Write unique and relevant keyword rich titles and headings for each and every page.
10. Create a call to action.
Understand the goal of the website. Is it to sell? To inform? To communicate? Define the goal and then make it easy and safe for people to complete that task.