Designing for Impact - 8 Essential Website Design Practices

In today's digital age, a well-designed website has become a crucial element for any business or individual seeking to establish a strong online presence. A website serves as a virtual gateway, representing your brand, conveying information, and engaging with users. 

When designing a website, it's natural to become fixated on aesthetics, contemplating the right font, colors, and imagery choices. However, it's crucial to look beyond mere appearances and consider other critical factors that can enhance the user experience. To unlock the full potential of your website and provide an exceptional user experience, it is essential to adhere to website design best practices. We've put together 8 key principles and strategies that will help you create a visually appealing, user-friendly, and effective website.

1. Consistent Branding

Customers come to your website because they want to get to know you and your business. It's important to maintain a uniformed brand identity across your website by using consistent colors, fonts, and design elements. Cohesive branding fosters brand recognition, builds trust, and helps visitors connect with your business or organization on a deeper level.

2. Intuitive Navigation

Design a user-friendly navigation system that allows visitors to find information effortlessly. Intuitive navigation involves clear menu structures, consistent placement, highlighting the current page, breadcrumb navigation, search functionality, responsive design, and gathering user feedback for continuous improvement.

Jared M. Spool, the co-founder of Center Centre and founder of User Interface Engineering, is known for his research on website design and navigation. He discovered that users classify an "intuitive website" as being so easy to use that you don't need to learn how to use it (or if you include instructions, they are easy to recognize and follow). By implementing intuitive navigation, you enhance user experience, increase engagement, and improve overall satisfaction.

3. Clear CTA

Guide your visitors toward desired actions with clear and prominent CTAs. Use compelling language and visually distinct buttons to encourage conversions, whether it's making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or signing up for a service. Some commonly used CTAs that you have definitely seen are actions getting you to buy, subscribe, or fill out information in the form of buttons, banners, forms, links, or pop-ups. Strategically placing CTAs throughout your website enhances user engagement and drives conversions. 

4. Simplicity

Embrace a minimalist design approach that focuses on simplicity and clarity. Remove unnecessary clutter, streamline your layout, and utilize white space strategically. A clean and uncluttered design not only enhances aesthetics but also improves usability and allows key elements to shine.

5. Visuals

Utilize high-quality visuals, such as images, videos, and graphics, to enhance the visual appeal of your website. Visual content can effectively convey information, evoke emotions, and capture attention. Optimize images for faster loading times without compromising quality to ensure a seamless browsing experience.

6. Mobile Responsiveness

Optimize your website for mobile devices to ensure a seamless user experience across all screen sizes. Mobile responsiveness is essential. As of May 2023, 68% of the total web users access content through mobile devices, whereas the other 32% access it through a desktop (Oberlo, 2023). A responsive design guarantees that your website looks and functions flawlessly on any device, boosting engagement and accessibility.

7. Accessibility

Create an inclusive website by prioritizing accessibility. Implement features such as alt text for images, proper color contrast, keyboard accessibility, and descriptive link text. By catering to users with disabilities, you expand your reach and provide equal access to information and services. To ensure accessibility, the ADA created a website that explains the importance of web accessibility and gives resources on guides and standards.

8. SEO

Implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website's visibility on popular search engines like Google and Bing. Conduct keyword research and optimize your website's meta tags, headers, and content to enhance organic traffic. A well-structured website with optimized content and a user-friendly design positively impacts your search engine rankings. Some great examples of tools brands can use to increase SEO are Semrush, Moz, and KWFinder

By incorporating these eight website design best practices into your web development strategy, you can create an engaging, accessible, and visually appealing website that captivates visitors. These practices are crucial elements for a positive overall impression of your brand, ultimately leading to the success and growth of your business.

Need help designing a website that utilizes these best practices? We're here to help you get started.