Make it as easy as possible for users to navigate around your site. Some strategies for effective navigation include listing related pages underneath each other (page hierarchy), use bread crumbs (showing a user’s location in the site), design clickable buttons and link related pages (either through hyperlinked text or images). Also follow the x3 click rule: users should find the information they want within three clicks.
7) Follow a page layout – try a grid
In the last year or so, grid based layouts have become more popular. A grid layout is a series of intersecting lines that serve as guides for design elements.
Have a look at the fashion website Reserved (image above). There home pages is a simple grid layout that displays their entire collection in a neat and efficient way.
Avoid placing content randomly on your web page. This can end up with a haphazard look that will turn users away. Instead, use the same layout across all pages. A simple yet effective layout is the grid. Grid based layouts arrange content into sections, rows and columns that align. This creates a balanced look, leading to a better looking website overall.
8) “F” Pattern design
Studies of eye movement across a screen reveal that people scan computer screens in using an “F” pattern. This means a person focuses left to right and top to bottom.
9) Load time
Everybody hates a slow website. Google now ranks faster loading websites higher than their slow loading counterparts. Consider the following tips to ensure your site loads fast:
- Optimising image sizes (50kb for small images and around 100kb for larger images
10) Mobile friendly – mobile is everything today
More than half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. These devices have varying screen sizes, so it is essential to design your site both for desktop screens and mobile devices.
If you have an older website that is not mobile friendly, your site may be penalized by Google. You have two options:
1. You can redesign your site in a responsive layout. This means your site will adjust to varying screen widths
2. You can invest in a dedicated mobile site. This is a separate website designed specifically for users on mobile devices.
I hope these 10 website design principles will help you to have success online. Each of these points addresses specific user pain points and they can’t be skipped. Your website is the digital equivalent of a physical shop front or ‘bricks and mortar’ store. It takes time and resources to get this right.
If you need help with your website, checkout our website design services and portfolio of great sites we have worked on.