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What it takes to make your website ‘pop’
Less than a second. That is the amount of time you have to grab a surfer’s attention on the Internet. Your website can either pull them in or be just another tab that gets closed as soon as it is opened. In a tedious design process, it is easy to overlook some web design elements which are important and can make or break your online reputation. We have prepared a list of 10 elements that you simply shouldn’t ignore.
Managing your positive and negative spaces in a design is important – and in web design, all the more. Your web design should lead the users’ eyes directly to the information they want to read. Remember that people come to your website for one sole purpose – to read information. Don’t make it difficult for them. Keep your design according to your brand’s personality and give enough room for the eye to rest.
Your website should be customized for your target audiences. The interface should be friendly, easy-to-use and navigation links should be visible clearly. Your site should allow users to keep track of where they are and what they are doing. Keep putting yourself in your audience’s shoes to understand what they would need.
Just like a document, the headers and footers of a website are important. Don’t waste space at the top and the bottom – utilize it to further facilitate your customers. A footer consisting of copyright information only isn’t very useful to your user. Think more towards adding main navigation links, site map and contact information.
People are always curious to know what goes on behind the machine that makes your company work. When they see other “people” working for your company, they trust you more. Show the human side of your company throughout the website, but most importantly on the ‘About Us’ or ‘Our Team’ page.
Websites that play hide-and-seek with contact information tend to lose people’s faith. The more open you are about letting people get in touch with you, the more comfortable your customers will feel. Ensure that your contact information is clear and visible. If you’ve incorporated a contact form, it should be straightforward and simple and should only ask for the information that is required from the users.
Missing out on the search bar should be a crime on the interwebs! Sometimes people don’t have the time to navigate manually to a certain page. Users love the option to search through your website and get to the required information fast. Otherwise, they will have no choice but to close the tab and move on to Google.
When you’ve created a wonderful website, give some call-to-action for people who will love it. A subscription offer is the best way to keep your users connected to you for good. You can let them subscribe to newsletters or RSS feeds etc. The forms for these subscriptions should be short and smart. Gather only the important information that is required from them without making it a hassle.
Your links and buttons should have separate colours for default, hover, active, and visited. This may seem like a small thing but it really helps a user know where he’s been. The same should be done for any links on the website. Also bear in mind the colours of the website’s background, any images that the links may be appearing on and the default colour for your website’s body copy. Your links should stand out on all regions of the website and should appear differentiated from the other text, normally the links are displayed in blue.
Pictures can help you say a lot in a few pixels. Make sure that the visuals you choose for your website are crisp and vivid. But be careful! Nothing irritates a user more than the “loading” icon. Heavy images can increase page load times and lead to customer torture. All images should be optimized for the web.
Choose the right fonts for your website that depict your brand’s personality. But also bear in mind that the web has its own standards when it comes to fonts. The W3C revises web standard recommendations each year. Stay alert for compatible fonts that don’t have problems running on different browsers and are most importantly, legible.
In conclusion, you should keep in mind that the first and foremost use of a website is “information”. This information should be easily readable and accessible. There should be a contrast in foreground and background and links and navigation buttons should stand out to guide your user through the site. When you have barely a second to attract a user, search bars, site maps, headers and footers can facilitate your customers and save them precious time. Use visuals that are crisp and easy on the eyes but let nothing – absolutely nothing – compromise user experience. At the end of the day, it’s what your user gets to ‘feel’ about your website that counts.