Dos and Don’ts of Web Design

A website’s design is important to your business’s success, as it affects how quickly and easily a user can find the product or service they are looking for. If the design and the user-experience is poor, a user will seek what they are looking for elsewhere.

A compelling, well-structured layout that is easy to use, features concise copy and unobtrusive use of photos and videos will keep users engaged and coming back for more.

DO utilise common design conventions

For example, a consistent menu in the header, body and footer will allow users to easily browse your website without frustrating them by having important details hard to find.

DON’T make users wait for content

Most users have a limited attention span and will scan your site for what they are looking for before deciding whether or not to delve deeper into the page content. Avoid hiding information unnecessarily or using obtrusive elements such as pop-ups, as this will detract from your user experience and you will find them looking for information elsewhere.

DO create a logical order to your layout

Arrange your content to make it easier for visitors to use. Establish direction with clear ‘call to actions’ to help users find what they are looking for.

DON’T clutter your layout with excessive content, media and ads

A user shouldn’t have to search to find what they are looking for. This has a negative effect on the user experience and results in page visitors leaving your website.

DO utilise whitespace and minimalism for a clean look and feel

Design trends come and go, but minimalism is eternal. By keeping things simple you allow for a more consistent design across all device screen sizes and it prevents the really important content on your site from disappearing in clutter.

DON’T overdo it with too many colours

Too much colour can be overwhelming. Stick to a simple, easy to use colour palette and choose a background colour that won’t steal the focus from your main images and content.

DO design with mobile in mind

Gone are the days of building websites for a specific page width. Internet use on mobile devices and tablets continues to increase at an accelerated pace.

Talented web designers should focus on fitting the important web content within the limitations of a small mobile screen size and then add the design as the screen gets larger to ensure that the most important content is always available.

DON’T misuse font families and sizes

Serif fonts were designed for print media and tend to lose their legibility on the screen when used in small sizes. They clutter the body and make it difficult for the user to read. Overuse of all caps and italics is not recommended either. Using all caps takes longer to read, causing the user to spend more time with it.

DON’T use too many fonts

As a general rule of thumb, limit the number of fonts to two or three on your website. Use bold, italics, and different sizes of those fonts for headings, sub-headings and to emphasise your content.

Written by Andrew Hill