Web Design - Keep it Simple
In the bold world of web design, companies often experiment with new ideas and ways of engaging with their audience - and that's a good thing. In the end, though, simple and strategic site design is often the key to success.
Here are five successful web design items that you should include. Some may seem obvious, others surprising, but they all count.
1) Put your menu where people can find it
Menus are a fundamental navigational tool in web design, especially when people want to move between categories without going all the way back to your home page. It should be simple and obvious . At the top of the page, directly under your header, is generally the best place to put it.
Some websites also include a secondary menu at the very bottom of the page for the convenience of anyone who reaches that point.
Don't hide the menu behind buttons or something people need to move their mouse or finger over - it's best to keep the menu right where people can find it.
Ease of use is an important part of creating a good user experience - and people will just skip past the menu if they're not currently interested in it.
2) Add breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are another important part of web design. If you're not familiar with these, breadcrumbs are links somewhere on a page (usually towards the top) that tell visitors where on the site they are and what categories a given page falls under.
This is useful for several reasons. Most notably:
- Breadcrumbs make it easier to get to a higher-level page that isn't the home page. For example, a blog might have entries sorted by subject, allowing people to quickly find other posts on the same topic without having to navigate through the main part of the blog.
- Breadcrumbs provide a useful degree of context for visitors, especially those who aren't familiar with the site's layout yet. This is particularly useful on landing pages, which often have layouts that are very different from the rest of the site.
- Breadcrumbs help to improve a page's ranking in search engine results. The trail on each page is easy for search engines to understand, and by looking at the trails, search engines can get a better sense for how the site is designed and whether or not it's built in a user-friendly way.
Breadcrumbs are so important that Google actually mentions them when explaining how to improve a site's attributes. This may seem like a small matter, but the most helpful things often are, and it's best to optimize your site for SEO from the very start.
3) A search box
Some people like to browse websites - others like to search for the content. Every good website should have a search box, preferably across the top or in the upper right section of each page. These are the two places people expect a search box to be, and if they don't find one, there's a good chance they'll simply leave and go visit one of your competitors instead.
Remember, visitors want good content - but they don't want to have to work to find that content.
Successful web design is all about giving visitors what they want as soon as they want it, and search boxes are an important part of that.
4) Website speed
The design of your website impacts its speed - generally speaking, the more content a page has, the longer it takes to load. If your website takes too long to load - HubSpot suggests less than 1.5 seconds is an acceptable speed - then visitors are probably going to leave your site and, again, head to a competitor whose site will actually load for them. Ways to improve the speed of your site include:
- Make sure the site's coding is optimized
- Don't overuse visuals and sliders
- Videos that are properly loaded are fine, but keep them from the home page as they can be distracting and not as helpful as a clean, easy-to-read page.
5) Use simple, easy-to-read fonts
Every font you use should be easy to read and based around smart color design. Calls to action should be a separate color from the rest of the page, and stand out as an important part of the site even if you squint through narrowed eyes.
When considering a font its just as important to consider the style as to how pervasive the font is. If you use a font for your website that is not supported by a major web browser (i.e. Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Edge, etc.) then the browser will use a font it chooses, potentially having a negative impact on your site.
What about you? Have you found any must-have elements that have improved your website's function or usability? Please leave me a note in the comments.
Breezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont Web Design company. We work closely with our clients both in Vermont and the United States to create professional, responsive, well-designed, and successful websites for their business.