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Essential Web Design Tips... From A Web Design Professional

Web Design Tips from a web design professional
Essential Web Design Tips... From A Web Design Professional

This is a guest post by Jennifer Scott, read more about Jennifer at the end of the article.

Let’s face it; there are a seemingly infinite number of websites currently hosted on the internet. At a current count, there’s actually around 1.3 billion, meaning that it’s safe to say that competition is fierce when it comes to making your website stand out from the crowd. So, when was the last time you consider the effectiveness of the design of your website?

Are users coming to your website able to tell exactly what your website is all about as soon as they land? Are users able to find the content or products they are looking for quickly and easily? Are you profiting or succeeding in the purpose that your website sets out to achieve?

If not, the chances are that you’re going to need to make some adjustments to your website’s design. Nowadays, there’s more and more emphasis on the User Experience of a website, a term that that is becoming increasingly common.

This is mainly because Google, the biggest search engine giant, has the sole purpose of giving their users the best online experience they possibly can, hence contributing to their success. However, if you’re not giving your users the best user experience possible, not only will Google lower your SEO ranking, your users will also take their business and online activity to one of your competitors.

Today, I’m going to talk you through everything you need to know about website design and share with you some of the best tips and tricks of the trade that I’ve discovered throughout my many years in the website design industry. This will help you address any design problems you may be facing, assisting in getting your website off the ground and helping you to boost your user experience and, therefore, your overall success.


#1 - Get Organised

Despite the creative nature of web design, organisation is still one of the most key skills

Perhaps the most important point to kickstart my list is telling you to get yourself organised. Design a website plan and research your target market. Instead of jumping straight into designing your website, take the time to check out your existing competition to see what they are doing and how their buyer journey works.

With that in mind, how is your buyer journey going to compete? All this takes is getting several bits of paper and literally mapping the journey of a user from your homepage to the final page where they’ll make their purchase or find the content that they want to read.

Planning your steps and web pages in this way can help you streamline and enhance your customer’s journey and your user experience.


#2 - Aim Only for the Highest Quality

I see too many websites on my internet travels that fail to address or meet the standard expectations that typical internet users today expect. There are many elements that either used to be popular on websites and aren’t anymore, or simply shortcuts that designers have taken and now directly affect the quality of the website.

For example, using complicated and slow-loading page transitions or animations only harms the user’s experience on your website. Sometimes you might find that your content is too wordy and therefore boring your user, forcing them to leave your website. Another popular problem I see all the time is websites using poorly implemented stock imagery.

Statistically, an internet user logs onto a website and has an attention span of around 8 seconds. If your website is slow loading or screams poor quality using the factors above, they’ll simply leave, and you’ll have missed out on a potential lead.


#3 - Mastering the Art of Content Writing

web design content writing
Content is king. Design is great but at the end of it all good content is key.

While the graphical and functional side of your websites is extremely important, it’s vital that you never overlook the importance of the content itself. Whether you’re designing a website for yourself or a client, the copywriting on every single page needs to be perfect in order to provide the best user experience.

For example, having poor grammar in your content can lead to your text becoming illegible, a sure-fire way to send users in the opposite direction. In this case, you can use online tools and grammar checkers, much like Via Writing, State of Writing, Academadvisor and Grammarix to check your content to ensure it’s perfect.

As a website designer, it could be safe to say that your writing skills are not your best trait, but it’s important you realise this in order to avoid these problems. If this is the case, never fear. There is a tonne of professional copywriting services out there that can help you write your content while you focus your energy on the design. Some of the leading copywriting you could use include UpWork, Best British Essays and UK Top Writers.


#4 - Using the Right Visuals

As I briefly mentioned above, it’s important that you avoid low-quality ‘stock’ images on your website because it gives a kind-of ‘tacky’ appeal to it. To elaborate on this point, the images are just as important as the functions, features and written content of your website, in some cases, even more so.

When choosing which images to use on your website, you first need to find the right balance between high-quality/resolution images but also that load quickly. While it might be tempting to upload a stunning 4K picture, this will take ages to load on a mobile device, making it pointless.

You also need to make sure that you’re using images that are relevant to the content and page of the website that the user is on. Relevant images help to add a new visual layer of understanding and communication to your web pages, rather than just being an element that tries to look nice.
“If you want to really stand out from the crowd, and the rest of your competition, I found it was a highly effective method to produce your own photos in-house as this has a much more personal feel and you can use the exact style of image that you’re after,”
explains Damian D. Montalto, a web designer for Best Australian Writers.


#5 - Don’t Hide White Space

white space in graphic design
White Space is key in all forms of design.

As a website designer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to make every single aspect of your website attractive and engaging to your users. However, it’s important that you never underestimate the power of white space, more commonly referred to as ‘negative space’.

Using white space on your website allows you to professionally and cleanly divide up certain sections of your website, making it clear and easy to follow, understand and, of course, navigate. Although it may seem like you’re wasting precious pixels, especially when it comes to your homepage and the first things that your user sees, but a cleaner and easier to digest web page provides a far better user experience.


#6 - MOBILE OPTIMISATION

This is one tip I simply cannot stress enough, and it still shocks me how today there are so many active websites only that haven’t been optimised for mobile devices. It’s actually shocking. Here are the facts;
  • 80% of all internet users own a smartphone 
  • 61% of all users say they would never return to a website that wasn’t mobile optimised 
  • Over 50% of all internet traffic comes from a mobile device 
  • The average time spend on a mobile device per day is 7 hours 
These statistics speak for themselves. If you’ve ever been on a website from your own mobile device where you’ve had to pinch and zoom to access different features while trying to find the perfect balance so you can read the text clearly, you’ll know what a poor experience this is and why you’d never go back.

What’s more, failing to optimise your website for mobile devices is a no-no in Google’s SEO rulebook, and it will damage your SEO ranking, pushing you down the search engine results page.


#7 - Test, Optimise, Repeat

Just because you’ve finished designing your website, that unfortunately doesn’t mean that your job as a web designer is complete. After you’ve finished your website and before you launch, it’s important that you rigorously test your website to ensure all the features and pages are working perfectly. Of course, you don’t want people to come to your site only to find that it isn’t working properly.

After you’ve launched, however, it’s important that you keep checking back to your website to see what people like and don’t like. Are people reacting to your features in the way that you wanted them too or are they getting stuck and lost on some of the pages, potentially costing your business?
“About a year after we launched, we implemented heatmap software that showed each page and how long a user was spending on each page and where they were looking on the page. This allowed us to see exactly where users were stopping on a page and how we could tweak things to provide a better user experience,”
shares Ben Taylor, a web designer for Top Canadian Writers.

Keep refining and researching you make sure everything is in order and make small tweaks to make sure everything runs perfectly. Even years after your website has launched, it’s important to keep checking back regularly and to keep everything updated.

About The Author:

Jennifer works as online editor at UK Service Reviews. Also, she is a business developer that works in different areas of education, technology, security and various types of online marketing. Prior to business developing Jennifer was consultant at Deloitte, and managed security services provider and developer of a wide range of security solutions.