5 Web Design Best Practices For A Great Website

5 Web Design Best Practices For A Great Website

Good web design, with its unique look, feel and functionality, is what brings a website to life. It’s what makes visitors want to click around and even bookmark the site for return visits. As our web designers and developers will tell you, there is a lot to consider when creating a website. For starters, there are factors like a company’s brand, usability considerations, appearance, color scheme, image compression, functionality, browser compatibility, screen resolution, mobile compatibility, navigation and website architecture. Then there are things like search engine optimization, e-commerce, hosting requirements, coding, content management and the like. All these factors must be brought together into one cohesive website design. But it is these five web design best practices that are essential for creating a great website.

1. Compelling Layout Design

An attractive layout design catches the attention of visitors and maintains it. It’s what keeps visitors exploring further into the website. A compelling website layout requires a good use of basic design principles, such as consistent header, logo and navigation elements among web pages; good contrast between text and background; a perfect alignment of elements; and a good balance between text, images and white space on each web page.

Website page layouts can use grids, blocks, columns, CSS designs, Flash, or CSS+JavaScript as their foundation, but the best layouts use a customized structure with features that attractively showcase the content. A page layout is also successful when it appeals to the target audience and uses interactive elements to engage the visitor.

In this example, an eye-catching layout is achieved by using a basic layout design and presenting it in a creative manner. Using CSS+JavaScript to create bold effects that really pop out on the home page motivates the visitor to explore interior web pages.

2. Balanced Use Color, Graphics, and Multimedia

Web design can go very wrong with too much color, mismatched color combinations and too many interactive features. A well-balanced web design uses three to four colors at most and has text colors that contrast well with the site’s background color. Graphics and animated images enhance the content rather than distract from it and are optimized so they don’t slow down the site. Multimedia is used judiciously to enhance the site and serve a defined purpose. Audio, video and Flash files clearly display download times and include captions. And if media plug-ins are needed, download links are provided on the site.

This website example, does an excellent job combining many types of visual components, including color, images, videos and slideshows in a clean, sophisticated manner.

3. Well Organized Content

Whereas the look of a website design welcomes visitors, it is the content that keeps them around. A web design can look great, but unless it presents content in an inviting manner, it is meaningless. Best practices for content in a web design include:

  • Using common fonts and limiting the type style to one or two
  • Consistent use of fonts, font colors, font sizes and hyperlink colors
  • Presenting text in a quick, readable fashion, such as big, catchy headings, brief paragraphs separated with subheadings and bullet points
  • An organized and consistent presentation of content
  • Content that is accessible with minimal clicks.

In this site example, content is succinctly presented in a consistent design that utilizes white space extremely well. The use of highlighted descriptive keywords provide visitors with fast access to the information they seek. The content presentation also enhances the site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

4. Easy, Error-Free Navigation

Without navigation and ease of its accessibility, a web design is just a pretty page. Navigation acts as a map, directing visitors through the site based on their interests. Best practices in web design navigation start with ensuring all navigation hyperlinks work properly and are not broken. Websites demonstrating good navigation practices also clearly label main navigation links, provide text links in the footer section when using images or Flash for main navigation and make use of navigation aids, such as a site map and breadcrumb navigation.

This e-commerce website has a defined pathway from page to page and a nice flow. It blends easy navigation with a stylish design by including links back to the checkout pages. The navigation also makes use of social networks by smartly utilizing links and widgets.

5. Good Overall Functionality

A great website encompasses all of the above four best practices plus sound functionality. At the most basic level, functionality means all internal and external hyperlinks work, there are no JavaScript errors and all forms function as they should. But functionality also applies to how the website functions across all browsers, computer operating systems and mobile devices. It must work perfectly and look great on older and current versions of browsers and be mobile-friendly.

In this example, overall functionality is brought to a higher level with a consistent design, good use of a branded color scheme and logo, functional pull-down menus under main navigation text to avoid page clutter, and sophisticated functionality in presenting feature overviews and services. All elements work seamlessly and it’s easy to move around the site.

Are you ready for us to apply our five web design best practices for a great website to your business? At Advia Internet, our web designers and developers are well versed in the essential ingredients necessary for creating the best website. Check out our portfolio to see their talent and expertise at work.