When it comes to web design, there are bound to be lots of opinions about what is considered aesthetically pleasing, what’s functional, and so much more. And while design trends will come and go, some will have a greater impact on your site and its visitors than others. Whether you’re about to start your site or have already created one, we’ve come up with a tough love checklist to make sure that you abide by the laws of good web design.
Don’t worry- this is a safe web design space.
Let’s jump right in with an example: the titles of a website’s menu are all in capital letters, but one or two titles are in lowercase letters (see the image below for more detail). This disrupts the flow and even people with no web design knowledge can find the clash jarring. It’s an all too frequent mistake but luckily, an easy fix.
The remedy: Keep an eagle eye on the consistency factor throughout your site. If you have an all caps theme, stick with it. This doesn’t just apply to your menu either – your entire site will benefit from keeping your cases consistent.
The text on your website can serve so many different purposes, but no matter what message you’re trying to get across, nothing will get through if the words just aren’t easily visible. Take a good look at your site: does it require special lighting and a magnifying glass for you to read the text? If yes, it’s time to fold – the good readability card trumps all others.
The remedy: Scour your site for any and all text that may be hard to read due to tiny or too huge size, color on color no-nos (like light cream letters on a white background), and fonts that may be pretty but are just impossible to decipher. Find the trouble areas (if any) and fix ‘em! Have a friend look over your site and give you a second opinion just to be safe.
Almost all websites will include links – and should – but sometimes links send the clicker to a place they don’t anticipate. This can really frustrate site visitors and can give your website an unhappy bounce rate. When someone clicks on a link or button (that should include a link) that leads to a dead end or somewhere else entirely, you’re committing a web design crime.
The remedy: Make sure every link on your site, including buttons and call to actions, link to where they should! Be mindful to go over links that may have been placed there from the template version (like the social icons), and assign the right URLs. If you don’t have the right URL to link to, simply delete the link.
Ladies and gentlemen: please mind the gap! When you reach the bottom of your page and its content, the footer shouldn’t be far behind. When there’s a huge gap between the two it leaves an awkward space that simply isn’t necessary.
The remedy: Go over each and every one of your pages and eyeball it – if the distance is more than your pinky’s length, you need to make some edits.
If that something is your images, it’s time for some tough love. Adding anything but high resolution or top quality photos will only make your site’s professional factor plummet.
So whether it’s a pic for your ‘about me’ section or images of your products (especially if it’s images of your products) – just don’t put up images that aren’t top notch and sharp.
The remedy: Take a look at all the images on your site for their quality. If you come across some that aren’t as high res as they should be, consider what you can replace them with, or if you can reshoot them. Believe us, it’s worth the effort.
If you’ve got an eCommerce website to sell your products, you’ve got a cart. But if that cart of yours is hard to find, it might as well not exist. Don’t let your customers throw their hands up and decide to buy elsewhere when they get frustrated that they can’t finalize their purchase.
The remedy: Make that cart visible! A good practice is to keep it as a fixed element at the top of all of your pages.
There’s no easy way to say this. Music that autoplays as soon as a visitor arrives on your site will, more often than not, just be a nuisance. You can’t know where people will be accessing your site, but if it’s in a public place or at their office it’s likely to startle and make them exit your site as quickly as possible.
The remedy: If you really want to add it, make sure the pause button is within quick reach and easy to find.
Good navigation is all about finding the right balance for the content on your site. If you have tons of content, going with a long scrolling, one pager website is simply not the right route to take. If on the other hand you don’t have a lot of content, having a website with 50 different pages that each contain almost no content is equally just as frustrating for your visitors.
The remedy: Generally speaking, less is more. Provide all the info and content your site visitors will want and need, but don’t go overboard. Once you’ve figured out what you want on your site, choose a navigation layout that suits it best. You can get ideas and inspiration by browsing other sites and how they manage their navigation.
Let us just start by saying: this is an amazing feature to add to your site, and can really produce that ‘wow’ factor. But like anything this awesome, it’s easy to get a little trigger happy and overdo it.
The remedy: If your site has gone overboard with this feature, mending it is still possible. Decide which items on your site you think deserve the animated spotlight the most and unanimate the rest. Slowing down the speed of your animations can also help.
When in doubt – ask your friends! The Get Feedback feature is a fantastic tool that will help you find the trouble areas of your site with the help of your friends and family.
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