Between kerning, layering, pixel pushing, and all the other components that create a great site, creatives know that design is in the details.
But what if your website isn’t quite where you want it to be, and mentally, you’re buffering when it comes to solutions? Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to optimize your website’s design, and we’re sharing the details.
Designer, content creator, and design educator Brandon Groce has worked with clients like LG, Disney, and Adobe, and now leads a series of web design tutorials on the Wix Studio discord channel. We picked his brain to find out what he looks for in a great website, how and where to use particular features, and how you can take your website to the next level. Here are the top 5 takeaways.
1. Get inspired by your competitors with more skills
"If someone isn’t happy with their skillset, they should try to find something that they are inspired by and emulate that. The number one rule I follow is to look for whose shoes I want to be in.
Use competitors who are in the top 1% of the industry you’re in as an indicator of the direction you’re supposed to be going. If you're in their sector, say e-commerce, and they’re producing the utmost returns in that arena, you should probably be taking notes from their book.
It’s important that we realize we have a goal to be better than we were yesterday in a particular area, and understand there are people in front of us and people behind us. If we are trying to meet and compete with the people who are in front of us, we need to look at what they’re doing to get closer to where they are. Researching those people is imperative to understanding what is going to elevate the look of our website and what we should have on it." (Don't forget to look beyond the obvious competitors, too. Here's why the best web experiences won’t look anything like what Big Tech built.)
2. Don’t over-complicate things
"What is it that I like in website design? To me it's about visual aesthetics. Is the website clear in regard to me knowing and understanding what I've come to the site for? Is it easy for me to access what I've come to the site for? Is the website easy to use? Is it flattering?
I don't think we necessarily need to be fancy for fancy’s sake. I’d rather have a static website than having a website that has a whole bunch of flair that makes it super difficult to use and get what it is I came to the website for. "
3. Your site’s aesthetic should attract your target audience first (even if that might not be you)
"The aesthetic of your website depends on your craft and who you are tailoring your brand or your website effort toward. If you're a brand that wants to do highly aesthetic projects and that's what you’re trying to go for, I would present my website in that very way to attract the people that I’m trying to hire me. If I’m trying to get hired to produce trends, then I would use trends.
So how do you make your website stand out? Make websites the people you want to hire you are attracted to. It’s as simple as that. And it takes research into understanding your customer base and understanding what they want to see from you."
4. Make it easy: the user journey should be clear, simple, and intuitive
"Look at why people are coming to your site. Do you make it easy for them to navigate? Don't have a 15 second video pop up before users can get on the journey to getting what they wanted from your site in the first place. Make the flairs in the areas that don't impact or keep your audience away from what they came for."
5. Choose interactive elements sparingly
"Interactive elements can be best in areas where we want to incentivize our users to take action. For example, on YouTube, the like button is highly incentivized, so when you click the like button there’s an interactive explosion. When I press that like button, I'm like, “damn, that's actually pretty hot!” I’m more likely to click that button as I watch more videos. So add interactive elements to incentivize the type of user behavior we want on our platforms."