Smashing Guide To Good Website Design
It’s tempting to go for big and bold, using all the bells and whistles to grab the attention of visitors to your site. However, you’re more likely to increase your bounce rate with that strategy. A good design displays confidence in what you’re offering and your ability to offer it. Here’s what that looks like.
Be User Friendly
If no one can navigate your site there’s little point in having it. That’s not to say good website design follows the age-old adage of ‘less is more’. Rather than keeping it simple, strive to keep it intuitive. Don’t make it so any brain power has to go into navigating your UI. If you’re not sure how to do this you should take a look at websites that are similar to yours, preferably sites that you’ve never visited before. Do you intuitively know where to find important things that newcomers would want to see? Is it easy to locate the search bar and a link to their contact information? No two sites are alike, but if you look you’ll see that many of them share a similar structure.
Another way to look at it is to design it in a way that makes users feel like it was tailor-made for them, rather than just a really good website design. After all, you’re not looking to impress anyone with what they see. You want to impress them with what they can do on your site, and how easily they can do it.
Know the Perspective of the Visitor
If someone is coming to your site, chances are they’re doing so with intent. Clicking on a link just for fun is practically begging for malware. That intention might be to make a purchase, it might be to window shop, it might be to learn what you’re all about. But absolutely no one wants to walk face-first into a word wall. That’s what academic essays and arguments on social media are for. If they are expected to read blocks of text from the get-go, that’s their cue to get going.
This is where that intuitive nature really comes in handy. As we said, people are on your site for a reason. They’re going to have a one-track mind, feel a sense of urgency, and need instant gratification. If you can’t provide them with that, they’re going to look elsewhere. SMASHing good website design is conscientious of this unspoken, yet universally accepted truth.
Just because someone comes to your site with a specific goal in mind doesn’t mean they aren’t going to look at anything else you have to offer. Good website design will instill a subconscious interest, a sort of ‘Well, while I’m here, I might as well’ or ‘That looks interesting, I should see it before I leave. Give them a sense of control by not setting limits or expectations. The less they are required to do, the more likely they are to peruse.
One of the most common offenses is requiring people to make an account so they can access certain parts of the site. Another is a persistent popup asking for contact information so you can send them a newsletter they’ll never read. They are disruptive and can discourage additional browsing. We’ve been told time and time again that the harder it is to obtain something the more people will want it. But we’ve also been told that going cross-eyed can permanently damage our eyes. Both of these statements are blatantly false.
There is a field of psychology that focuses on shapes and colors. Some colors are known to evoke a specific emotional response or draw someone’s attention. Likewise, some shapes are known to keep someone’s attention. Others are an instant turnoff. No matter how easy your site is to navigate if it’s full of obnoxious zig-zags and a customized glitter cursor no one is going to bother navigating it. A strategic approach would take advantage of easily recognizable patterns, as the human mind is naturally drawn to them.
You want your visual content to be dynamic without being overwhelming. The use of graphic images is no different than using boldface in the text- it draws attention but the placement has to make sense. If the brain is struggling to synthesize the volume of visual stimuli it’s going to struggle even more with graphics that feel out of place. For example, if you have a banner or logo at the top of the pages of your website it’s unnecessary to include it at the bottom as well.
Go With a Pro
There’s more to web design than some may realize. There’s even more to good web design than many are capable of doing. You could spend time looking up tutorials and learning the lingo. Or you could manage your time wisely and leave that job to us. Prepare to have your mind blown and your expectations SMASHed!