It is not that easy to build a good website and it’s much more complicated to make it usable. Modern Internet users are very fastidious, they know what they want and will abandon a website in 3 seconds if don’t find what they need. When your clients order a website for their needs, forget these needs, they are secondary, the needs of their clients are primary and you should constantly keep that in mind.
Below are the musts you should keep in mind when designing a website :
1. Website must be readable
§ Website content should be legible and readable. There have to be not more than 3 font sizes at a page in main content (header, subheader, body). Sizes of fonts are used to differentiate sections, important parts of your content and in case of overuse you can simply confuse the website visitors. Also use bullets to mark lists and space out paragraphs for each logical block of the text.
§ Use the right contrast between the text and website background. If the contrast is insufficient, the text is likely to be unread at all. To play with colors we recommend using Adobe Kuler service. In case you want to test the colors of the ready website, use AccessKeys service.
§ Use serif fonts for your content. These fonts are modern, open and easy to read.
§ Remember that left-aligned texts are easier to read than right-aligned.
§ Create emphasizes throughout the text by means of underlines, bolds and italics, but be sparing in using them. Try to mark out only separate phrases. Not more than 2-3 per a paragraph depending on its size.
§ Text should not contain all capital letters. Such text is annoying and hardly readable.
§ Use proper spacing – between letters, lines, text blocks, graphics, etc. There should be a middle ground in it – too much space is bad, so as too little space.
§ All hyperlinks should be easy to click. Avoid making too small hyperlinked images, text phrases or numbers.
2. Website must be easy, eye-catching and pleasant
§ Make sure users can find all pages of the website in 3 clicks. The site navigation should be seamless, intuitive and consistent. A user should understand where he is, how to move forward or return to where he was.
§ Try to make as simple design as possible, do not overuse creativity, otherwise the website risks to have excessive look.
§ Keep in mind that users come from different devices with different screen resolutions. The current optimized layout for websites is 1024 x 768 pixels.
§ If the website requires registration, make it as simple as possible. Try to avoid countless number of fields in registration forms. You take precious time of the users. Compare registration forms of the similar websites. In case some fields are optional, exclude them, better request this information later.
§ Remember that extensive number of images will confuse user and distract his attention. Use images as means to point out users on where to look, attract them to text blocks.
§ Background music is a bad decision. In case you need to show users some video or trigger a podcast, suggest them a large Start button instead of immediate sound.
3. Website must work
§ The main point here is that the website must work. Test it, analyze the users’ behavior and improve, improve, improve…
§ Be a “web gardener” for your content, supplementing it with fresh and useful information, removing old and irrelevant facts.
§ Keep tracking the errors your website returns. It is unforgivable mistake to have non-functional permalinks at your website.
Even if you spent great number of weeks, months or even years studying the art of web design, remember it is a dynamic and constantly changing filed and you always have something to learn. Keep in mind several musts of website design that will be your firm basis and expand your knowledge daily
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