You’ve seen what makes a good website. You learned the basics of web design, and what it takes to start on a good basis. Now, it’s time to dive deeper into web design, and find out some web design tips you can successfully use for making a good website… better.
There’s a list of 8 tips you need to consider before you actually proceed to building the website.
1. Minimalist web design
According to minimalist web design principles, you should limit the number of elements to what’s necessary.
- The menu should contain only the needed items to cover all the information in the website, without being redundant.
- Content sections should be relevant for the topic of that page itself, and not involve other topics that are dedicated to different pages.
- It’s better both for users and for SEO to limit the number of links to what’s really important for that page.
- Links to social media accounts: only link to those social media accounts where you’re active. Do not include redundant social media icons.
- Images: make sure to provide images that are relevant for your company. Don’t use stock images, as they decrease the website efficiency.
Example of minimalist website:
Balance minimalist web design with tall pages design. These pages have to integrate all necessary content, so people are completely informed about your offering. They don’t have to be left behind, in terms of information. They don’t have to be partially informed, in terms of product/service offerings.
All necessary content includes a complete set of arguments in favour of a product/service or company.
2. White space (aka negative space)
White space/negative space is the amount of free space around a design element. This space has the role to bring forward what you have to present to users.
White space is much appreciated in minimalist web design. Good web designers put a stress onto negative space, as it makes website items more precious and effective.
- Reduces eye strain. It makes users browse at leisure your website pages, without much concentration or supplemental effort.
- Limits the concentration needed to decipher a page information. As stated above, people don’t need to put too much effort in reading about your offers (products or services). Instead, they have to simply scroll down a page and keep in mind what is of interest to them, effortlessly.
Example of website where they successfully used negative space:
3. Show one element at a time
Don’t oblige readers to divide their attention towards multiple items. Instead, make that item fully transmit its message to readers. This way, you make the most out of an item presentation.
This is especially true of tall pages, that require much scrolling down and present a succession of elements.
The principle of showing one item at a time helps users focus their attention on that element and fully understand its meaning.
Here is an example of a one-page website that makes good use of such web design tips, namely the one-item-at-a-time principle:
Images alternate with text, in different sections, each bringing forward another part of the page message.
This principle works best for one-page websites, as well as tall pages within multiple-pages websites.
4. Make content original, but keep design within standards
Between going creative and maintaining standards, it’s best to choose the second option.
Don’t force users into discovering how the site functions. Rather, you should impress them through content. Or else, if you put originality into your design, identify spots where content captures users’ whole attention. Thus, users are put into a discovery mindset, and the rewards should be all the more enticing.
However, the surest way to build a successful website is to keep the design within standards. Content has the highest degree of originality, hence it has to be content that impresses users, and not the mere design.
5. Explicit menu labels (even if it needs doubling the initial menu)
Explicit menu labels mean they reflect a clear understanding of what each link sends to, and what the target pages are about.
Such labels are good because they:
- Show what the offers of the company are
- Reflect what the website is about
- Are more relevant for the website architecture and how the pages are organized into the website.
Example of website with explicit menu labels:
6. Content sections
The content sections are probably the most important items in a website/page design. They are the core of that page, and communicate the message of the website overall. Also, they contain most of the text/images/videos that are meaningful for that website.
Best practices for content sections in web pages:
- Alternate content sections that are different from each other. This means a section with text should alternate with a section containing images, etc. A section with text and images should alternate with another section with images and text (the order of text and images changes).
- Use a color scheme where colors don’t contrast too much with each other; otherwise, they will give the impression of “false bottoms”. These false bottoms indicate users they reached the end of the page, when it’s not the case.
- Use adequate dividers that signal the passage from one section to another. Top dividers should be in accordance with bottom dividers and create a coherence in design.
- Pay attention to backgrounds – and how you make the passage from the background of a section to that of another.
- Don’t use jargon. Keep language clear and simple, so users easily understand it.
- Add testimonials and social proof. These are important for gaining leads and closing sales. People tend to buy products/services based on what others say about those products or services.
This is an example of successfully alternating content sections in a design website:
7. Effective footer
An effective footer signals the end of a page where that page has to end. Therefore, web designers use a contrasting, usually darker color for the footer.
Also, a well-designed website footer contains social media buttons. You shouldn’t include social media icons in the menu or in the upper part of the website. The reason is you should avoid distractions from those parts of the website.
The website footer has to include:
- Short menu (optional)
- Contact details or link to contact page
- A link to the sitemap (optional).
Example from RootStudio:
8. Include visual cues
Visual cues are elements that guide users’ attention towards certain parts of the website.
These items are:
- Implicit visual cues (such as color contrast, white space)
- Explicit visual cues (such as arrows, magnifying circles, lines, pointing fingers, human line of sight).
As explicit visual cues, we suggest photos of real people in the company. Also, pay attention to use photos that are original, as you should avoid using stock photos for your company website.
Also, one can use arrows. For suggesting there’s more content down the page, web designers include bounce arrows. Therefore, they urge visitors to scroll down the page and find out what the website is about.
Example of music demo website made with ColibriWP:
9. Web Accessibility
Now, you’ve probably heard about ADA (the federal Americans with Disabilities Act). It is often associated with physical locations, accommodations, and certain businesses that must be made accessible for people with disabilities. This compliance is starting to move to the digital world as well, and it’s becoming important to include accessibility techniques in your web design. This clearly is the moral choice, but it helps those with disability accommodations have access to your web content. There are several clear design choices that you can make to tailor your website to as many potential consumers as possible. A few examples can be found below:
– Large and easily distinguishable fonts;
– High visual contrast;
– Design compatibility with phones, tablets, and computers;
– Easy to use with or without a mouse;
– Easy to use contact forms so that you can receive feedback on something that is inaccessible.
These 9 web design tips will surely make a good website… better. You don’t have to tick them all, but if you do, make sure there’s coherence among all elements and that they work well together. Also, in case you can use all the above-mentioned web design tips in your website, you’ll see they work wonders for that site. They really increase the chances you have a highly converting, beautiful website!