Best Design Practices for Websites Part 1

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We all have had the experience of going to a website and you cannot find what you are looking for. Or, even worse it’s so badly designed that you want to leave immediately. To have a successful website you need to have a good design plan in place long before the first code is written. To design a great website you have to look beyond what just looks good and focus on what the end consumer is looking for. Here are some of the best design practices for websites part 1:

Purpose

The first thing your designer needs to know is what you want your website to do. An intention is paramount when it comes to your designers’ ability to generate the results you are looking for. An online store has a different set of needs than a dentist’s office. While both need a website a dentist should be providing information, the ability to book an appointment and customer reviews. On the other hand, an online store should have its products visible and easy for customers to find.

Make It Readable

Fonts are a funny thing. So many that look great are difficult to read and look horrible on mobile. We’ve all seen those fonts styled to look like a signature or artistic and while they have a time and place a website full of hard to read font makes it impossible for customers to stay on your website for long. 

Think F or Z

 We as consumers have trained ourselves to read websites in a pattern. These typically go in either an F or Z pattern. From a Nielson study, we know that customers believe the important information goes from left to right across the top of the page and goes down along the left side of the page. This is one of the best practices for landing pages or anywhere conversion is the ultimate goal. While the F design is a common principle it is not the only one. Designs using a Z pattern are also useful for many types of pages. Most notably where the call to action is the main focus of attention. The reader’s eye will follow the horizontal line from left to right in a straight line . Then follow a diagonal line down to another horizontal line from left to right where the call to action is. 

White Space

Whether you call it negative, white or blank space this is the space surrounding the object, text space or graphic. Having the right balance of negative space is important. Giving your customer’s eyes a chance to break up large spaces of text enhancing both their experience and their retention. 

Design For More Than Just Desktop

According to a recent Hitwise report, they took the top 11 categories and broke down exactly how much searches were on mobile. The results below show that nearly 60% of all searches are now on mobile. 

So what does this mean for your company? If your design is not able to go from desktop to mobile seamlessly you are losing out on up to 72% of your customers. Your design has to be able to automatically condense for mobile screens as well as rearrange icons and menus to look great on a smaller screen. 

While this list is enough to get you started there is still a lot to cover when it comes to the best design practices for websites. This is only the first of a three-part series coming soon!