Jan 31, 2017
The true mark of a great website design is not only in the designer and the client being happy with their new pride and joy but a big percentage lies with the users themselves, ultimately they will dictate if the website is successful or not. With this feedback close at hand through tools like Google analytics, we as designers have to continually evolve to meet the changing needs of the user while maintaining a great design. That being said there are some key things we can keep in mind when working on a website that could be criminal to miss.
The key to any great website design is the happy marriage between the striking design itself and the simple usability, finding the balance of these two is crucial. If you over work the design you can run the risk of presenting the user with a piece of art, worthy of the walls of the Tate but with no information as to what you're actually trying to offer them. Now don't get me wrong friends, you will still keep the geeks like me on your site looking at how awesome it is but you may very well lose the majority.
This ones a dozy, I have seen some fantastic pages with a brilliant design and all the content that I needed to make me want to take the next step, but then I actually didn't know what the next step was. A web page is, at its essence, telling a story to the user about its subject and at the end of the story we want them to do something, whether that's get in touch for a consultation, or to buy the product online. Without a clear call to action for these next steps many users can find themselves frustrated and looking elsewhere. We have done all the hard work of getting these guys to the page, lets not lose them at the last hurdle.
Bad navigation, the thorn in the side of any website user that has come across it. You get a few pages into a website looking through products, reading reviews and then boom like a slap to the back of the head you have no idea where you are, you cant find your way back, you tap your red shoes together but you are not getting back to Kansas. I may have taken that one a bit far but you get the idea. When I’m building navigation I always try to think of it as a face to face experience, if you were an estate agent you wouldn’t be showing someone around their potential new home and then start shutting doors on them half way through the tour.
Inconsistency can be a killer when a user is jumping gleefully around your website, especially when it comes to things like comparing products or reading blog posts. We are all creatures of habit after all. When we have a user engaged on our website the last thing we want to do is disorientate them half way through so they no longer know which way is up - they can't share your post because the buttons have moved or compare your business class level of service to your enterprise level of service because the features and benefits are no where to be found.
Responsive design my friends - it's a must online today. Our users are now browsing the web on what could be an unlimited amount of devices, phones, watches, tablets, TVs. The list is huge so if your website isn’t there to greet them with a smile and a nice cup of tea on all of those devices then the harsh fact is that someone else will be.
Obviously every website design project is different. Depending on the business itself, the products they offer can all present their own challenges in how we present these to users online. You could encounter absolutely none of these points and think I'm talking complete rubbish or you could be the unlucky one that has a list three times as big as this, if that is you my friend my heart goes out to you. But hey, lets remember for every one of these problems we encounter and in turn solve, we are not only super awesome but are on our way to building a better web for everyone.