Website Design 101: Best Practices


In December 18, 2018
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Your website is typically the first glimpse of your business that a consumer will encounter, whether they are drawn there through an ad or discover you through a search engine. Because of this, it’s essential to be intentional when building your website so that your site will look polished, professional, and be equipped to inform consumers on the unique aspects of your brand and services. YPC Media Website Specialist Sara Schwarz shares some of the secrets, including these three basic elements, to creating a website that will provide that great user experience consumers are looking for.

 

Balance

Playing a central role in creating a website that users will find accessible and pleasing to the eye, visual balance, including the ratio of photos to text on your site, should be a primary consideration in your website layout. Including too many photos can cause a slow load time for users and too much text may overwhelm a user. If you are going for a clean, classic look for your website, it’s best to think in terms of symmetry. Because symmetry is a typical way of thinking for humans, it feels natural and comfortable to look at a symmetrical page—this will draw users in. “Symmetry makes it easier for the client to process the information,” explains Schwarz. “When things are too hectic or jam-packed in a web design layout, it can make the viewer uneasy or frustrated.” Balance a block of text with a similarly-sized photo, use grids to organize text, or include images of the same size on each side of the page’s central axis. For horizontal balance, include similar or equal elements on both the left and right sides of the page. Don’t forget to use white space as well, which will provide relief to the eye and balance out heavy images. User satisfaction is the key to design and achieving balance can help to break up page space, making your content more visually appealing.

 

Composition

Composition is all about relationships, including color, space, and the position of each element on the page. When choosing the layout for your website, think of how the content relates to each area, including how the overall navigation of your site will be for users. From headers to paragraphs, lists, and more, the relationships between text sizes and styles will create hierarchy on the page and can allow you to control where a user’s eye is drawn. Contrast is another important element of composition, in terms of the color palette you choose. Only apply a few complementary tones and be sure to pay attention to which emotions different colors may evoke for a user—for example, red creates a sense of urgency, orange promotes optimism, and green is associated with health fields. Be sure not to use colors that are too aggressive, but do use contrast to your advantage. Lastly, utilizing a grid will define content, ideas, and relationships using space, hierarchy, and position to communicate these ideas. “A grid makes up the basic building blocks for your website design,” Schwarz explains. “It is composed of ‘invisible lines’ upon which your design elements can be placed. Doing so ties them together, creating an overall skeleton that will support your layout in a consistent and coherent way.” Each design choice relates to another design choice on the page, and choosing these relationships wisely is the key to honing your page’s composition.

 

 

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Execution

This element is all about ensuring your website has the best functionality. Since a large number of Internet users access websites through their phone, you should ensure your site is mobile responsive so that this mobile user traffic is not driven away. Next, don’t forget to check the SEO (search engine optimization) value of your site. You can improve SEO by making your website search engine friendly in order to increase your visibility and ranking on top search engines, as most people will not navigate past the first page of search results. This can be done by ensuring you use proper keywords, title tags, header tags, image alt tags, and meta description tags. Further, you can create a URL structure that is optimized for search engines. Writing great, comprehensive content that is consistent with your brand and aligns with user’s expectations will also aid in improving your site’s visibility on the web. “You always want to design your site with your target audience preferences in mind,” says Schwarz. “When you are cognizant of the users you wish to engage with, it helps with content discoverability.” Lastly, your use of typography will help to establish a connection between the site and the user, allowing users to accomplish what they came to your website to accomplish. Think about what will be easiest for users to read, and keep your font choices to a minimum. Lastly, be sure to use standard fonts with distinguishable letters, limit your line length, and focus on readability first and foremost—this will function to draw users into your content.

 

Aside from keeping these tips in mind, checking out other websites of businesses in your industry can give you some helpful visual examples when crafting your own site. With proper balance, composition, and execution, you will be creating a website that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well.

Madison Wayland

Marketing Assistant

 


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