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Top 5 Website Design Best Practices

Posted by Selena Lawson on May 7, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Website Design Best PracticesThese days, your website needs to show that you're friendly, popular, informative and engaging. In other words, your website must look good, load quickly and be responsive on any device. How do you pull this off? Start with the following 5 website design best practices.

Skimmable Web Pages

Research reported at GlobalMaxer has shown that most people skim Web pages looking for content that stands out instead of actually reading every word. Use highlighted or hypertext for your key topics, simple and concise subheadings and bulleted lists that break your content down into easily digestible, skimmable chunks. These tactics will also help your skimmability:

  • Lead with the conclusion; get to the point.
  • Cut your word use in half; stay focused.
  • Introduce one idea per paragraph because users skip over content that's not introduced up front.

User-Friendly Layout

Making a visitor click multiple times to find content creates one of the most frustrating website experiences a user can have. Make your navigation system user-friendly so that your customer can find anything with one click.

Don't forget hyperlinks. Using the title attribute in hyperlinks will give your users an idea of where they're going. Incorporating visited-link CSS language will keep them informed of where they've been.

Strategic Visuals

Effective use of images can enhance the readability of your website. According to Trap!t, users scroll through 60 percent of a Web page. This increased to 100 percent when video and graphics were included. This means that choosing visuals relevant to your audience will increase your users' engagement considerably. Relevance is key; there's no point using a graph if you're marketing home decor - use photos instead. You can also use images to boost your credibility by providing information about your product or showing the face of the expert providing services.

In addition to images used on the website, proper use of whitespace is key. Don't forget that spacing your visuals and text content is important to overall readability. Make sure your CSS design allows for good typography and margins.

Increase Your Credibility

Eliminate the hard sell from your pages, and establish credibility instead. Users want to know that you're an authority and your products or services can be trusted. Use high quality graphics. Include links to other sites to show that you're not afraid customers will go elsewhere. Avoid exaggeration in your content, such as "our product is the greatest!" Respect your customer's discernment and intelligence.

Responsive Design

According to data from Who Is Hosting This?, 45 percent of American adults own smartphones. Seventy-four percent of smartphone owners will exit your site if it takes more than five seconds to load. This means you need to ditch clunky images, complex navigation and resolutions that look lovely only on a desktop. Use a fluid layout that is responsive to your user's screen size, and remember to put important content at the top of the page to save your customer the trouble of clicking or scrolling about.

When you adopt website design best practices, don't forget to include icon links to your blog and social media sites at the top of the page. These days, being pretty isn't enough; you also need to be smart and popular.

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Topics: Website Design & Development

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