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What are the principles of effective web design?
94% of adults in the UK see web design regularly. 8.4% have never used the internet. Year-on-year, the number of regular users increases. Adults in the UK spend on average 21.6 hours a week using the internet. Mobile internet use in the UK will grow to 84.55% by 2021. This is already an increase of over 10% from the 2016 figures. This will reach an estimated total of 54.21 million users by 2022. And that’s just in the UK!
RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN
Greater accessibility means that global Web site usage continues to rise. This accessibility means the importance of good web design also continues to rise. The availability of high speed connections and Wi-Fi means that people can access the Internet across a multitude of devices almost anywhere and at anytime.
The vast majority of people in the UK have access to computers, laptops, mobile phones or tablets. Therefore the first and foremost consideration with web design is to ensure it is responsive. A responsive web design automatically reformats the best browsing experience dependent on the device or orientation.
The user can navigate the site with minimal scrolling and text is automatically displayed at a readable size without the need for zooming. Responsive websites give the user an tailored experience for their device.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO)
Another benefit of a responsive website is that Google will reward you. A responsive website helps towards its Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) score and thus increases its visibility on search engines.
A responsive website will perform better in search results and means it will rank above a non-responsive website. Responsive websites are therefore able to reach a much wider audience/client/customer base. They also load faster which also helps the site’s search engine rankings and reduces the bounce rate. Bounce rate is the number of visitors that click straight off the site.
All of these things increase the chance of users staying on your site and visiting again.
FUNCTIONALITY OF WEB DESIGN
Functionality is another important aspect of web design. The purpose of the site should be clearly documented. Purpose shapes the form and functionality of the site and will be the catalyst for design process. Understanding the purpose of the site and what it sets out to achieve is the starting point. Determining the way this function is best achieved is part of the design process.
Whether the site requires shopping/ecommerce, payment processing, forms, tables, maps, social media feeds or reviews, it’s important to keep it simple as possible. By keeping it simple it makes these things easy to access, navigate and use. Creating a wireframe is a good way of mapping a visitor experience. Visitors want to find what they’re looking for quickly and use them with minimal hassle.
Optimising images improves your website’s performance. A file size that is too low can dramatically affect the quality of your image and a crystal clear image straight out of the camera will produce a very large file size. This means we ensure that your pictures are big enough to display a great image but aren’t too big so they slow the website down. Search engines and users like this.
It’s essential to find the right balance to give visitors an engaging, fast experience and to improve SEO rankings. Use JPEGs for photos. PNG files allow for a transparent background. Use GIF files for animations, they produce small file sizes.
AESTHETICS OF WEB DESIGN
Amongst all of the technical considerations we cannot forget about the aesthetics of the site and how it will appear to visitors. Having a website design that is clear, crisp and remains consistent to your brand and its voice is the key (See or page Brand design is just a logo isn’t it? for further insights). Working with a branding agency such as ourselves to create your web design is always an advantage.
Structured content that is relevant and organised will give your visitors a fantastic first and lasting impression. Pair these elements with a balance of clear space and great imagery and you’ll have a site that looks great, is easy to navigate, Google will like and therefore users will visit again and again.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS)
CMS is a software application that facilitates creating, editing, organising, and publishing digital content. An example of CMS software, which you may have heard of, is WordPress.
Here at topright we predominantly use WordPress when dealing with website creation for clients. One vital component of CMS is a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This allows the user to control the creation, modification and removal of content from a website without having the technical know-how in regards to Coding – HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
The advantages of CMS
CMS is brilliant because it gives you control. You can make changes to your website quickly and easily without having to go back to your web developer. Control who has ‘back-end’ access to the site, whether you’d like it to be one or two members of your team or everyone. You can also restrict who can access different parts of the site, or whole site, as appropriate. An example of a commonly used area of CMS would be the news/blog page.
However it is still important to remember that there are certain elements that will need a web developers help. The overall design and functionality of your website will be beyond the CMS. Making changes to these areas without technical knowledge can be tricky and if mistakes are made can be difficult to rectify.
CMS helps with SEO by having fresh, updated content on your website. This is vital in driving traffic to the site and having visitors return again and again.
It’s clear that web design is not just about the visuals, but is about how it works and how it’s found. Lacking any of the technical aspects mentioned above can have a damaging influence on your brands impact and may cause reductions of internet traffic and a loss of business. An effective website’s design should fulfil its intended function by conveying a message but at the same time engage with its visitors, building trust through great user interaction and experience. Building on the company’s logo design and being a important edition to the brand design. This is all achieved by writing a rock solid website brief and using professional graphic design.