Web page design involves creating the look and feel of your web site. This is the step where the ‘creatives’ get involved. But, don’t get just ‘any’ graphic designer, or person you know who has a creative edge – you need someone who understands the principles of designing a web site that produces results!
Too many organisations spend a lot of money and time creating a pretty picture of their web site without considering the goals and objectives. The web page designer needs to make sure that they are designing for results. They need to keep the following things in mind:
There are a number of web page design principles that are absolutely crucial if you plan on achieving a web site that works. So let’s take a look at the principles of ‘results oriented design’.
The first principle is ‘consistent branding.’ Your web site must reflect the branding of the rest of your business. Many organisations have a great physical business with very strong branding, but then go online with a web site that does not reflect that branding. Make sure you leverage your branding, which you have already spent much time, resources and money on developing.
Visitors to your web site need to be able to navigate quickly to where they want to go. If you confuse your visitors and they get stuck and cannot figure out how to get to your ‘order’ page, ‘enquiry’ page or your checkout page, then you will most likely lose them. Clear and consistent navigation is strongly supported by placing important navigation elements in ‘standard navigational’ areas on the web page design. You can do this by making sure your web site is template-based.
Many people do not like even the thought of having their website based on a template! The concern we hear is, “my website will look like every other website.” What most people do not understand is that a template does not determine how a web site is going to look, but rather, it guides where the different information is going to be located on the web page.
This is truly a wonderful thing!
Think about this– when you go to a web site, you know that the company’s logo will most likely be located in the top-left corner and that you will be able to navigate the web site using either the menu at the top or left-hand side.
Imagine what it would be like if every time you jumped into a different car the controls were in different places.
Web page design templates have helped to ‘standardise’ the Web and make it a whole lot more user-friendly for the average Joe and Mary.
Cluttered web sites are hard to read and navigate. It is important not to present too many different ideas on the same page. This comes down the objectives of the web site. Focus on the objectives of your web site. If you have two main objectives then focus the main “content” on the most important objective and have a smaller highlight for the other.
Whenever possible try to use text-page links instead of graphic links. Search engines struggle to navigate to pages that are linked-to using a graphic. Graphical links can also be detrimental to the web site’s loading speed.
Studies have proven that if your web site takes longer than 8-10 seconds to load on a 56k modem then you run a serious risk of losing your visitor. Most web sites need to be designed to minimise the number of graphics on each ‘page’. There are many clever techniques that can be employed to keep the web page design sharp and rich without using graphical design elements. As a caution though, this principle needs to be balanced with the next principle.
Your web site cannot look cheap! A web site has the difficult job of building trust and credibility with its visitors. If it has a cheap look to it, then ultimately it will harm your web site’s results. Make sure your web site has a sharp, professional look. It should “look” like it has had some time spent on it by a professional web site designer.
So there you have it. Zeald’s seven principles of web page design. If you have any questions about our design processes please don’t hesitate to contact your Zeald Account Manager.