5 Design Principles Nearly 95% of Websites Screw Up. Are You?

5 Design Principles Nearly 95% of Websites Screw Up

Your website is the face of your brand.

Whether you’re advertising online or in traditional media like print and television, nearly everyone visits your website before choosing to do business with you.  One study shows that more than 81% of people conduct online research before buying.

Because your website is so pivotal to the success of your business, we’re going to look at five design principles nearly 95% of websites screw up. Then, we invite you to ponder the question, “Are you?”

#1: Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is one of the most important principles of good web design, and one that many businesses routinely mess up.

Every website should have a noticeable visual hierarchy. If it doesn’t, it’s hard for your website visitors to know what’s important.

Let’s define the term: visual hierarchy is the arrangement or presentation of elements in a way that implies importance.

For example, different parts of your website and even your individual landing pages point to a notable difference in hierarchy. You want your forms, vital links or calls to action to have more importance, and you show this through your web design.

Think about your menu – are all of the items of equal importance? If not, you might give half of them to a secondary menu.

How can you show visual hierarchy? Here are a few ways:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Layout
  • Spacing
  • Style

Once you’ve chosen how you want to denote visual hierarchy, you want to rank the elements on your landing page according to importance. Before you even start designing, make a list of what’s most important. Rank your elements according to your goals.

For example, let’s say you’re working on your restaurant’s landing page. Your ranking might go like this:

  1. Photo of menu item
  2. Headline
  3. Call to action button – Order Now!
  4. Text description
  5. Your navigation

Once you’ve ranked your items, you can then decide which tool (color, size, etc.) you’ll use to mark them.

#2: Navigation

Unfortunately, many websites break rules when it comes the design of their navigation. Next to visual hierarchy, this is one of the biggest snafus.

Imagine a website visitor comes to your site and can’t find the link to the website sections he wants to view. The links might be there, but he certainly can’t find them. You can bet his departure is quick.

Or, another problem can be multiple drop down menus. If your website visitor clicks on a menu item and expects to be taken to that section, but he has to keep opening multiple levels of your drop down menu, he’ll get frustrated and leave.

Here is what your website visitors expect to find on your website. If you aren’t providing this, you might look at a navigation revamp.

  • A horizontal navigation menu at the top of the page.
  • An additional vertical navigation menu at the left of the page if you are using one.
  • Avoid drop down menus when they aren’t necessary.
  • Your first and last menu items are the most noticeable to visitors. Put an important link first, and reserve the last place for your contact link.

With good navigation, you improve the odds that your website visitors can find what interests them quickly.

Be sure to keep your navigation consistent. Don’t put it on the left on one page and on the right on another page. Divide your categories clearly so they make sense and use one word titles/labels.

If you’re wondering if you should have one navigation bar or two, the answer is that depends. If your navigation is clear, one should be fine.

If your site is particularly content-rich, consider a second level of navigation in the top menu or a sidebar on secondary pages.

Bottom line – create a navigational system that is simple and intuitive.

#3: Non-Responsive Design

Surprisingly, nearly 72% of websites still aren’t mobile friendly in 2016, even after Google’s mobilegeddon.

If your site doesn’t resize for various screen sizes – think desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile – you are missing out because 80% of Internet users use their smartphones to search the web.

So, the first thing you need to do is make sure your site is responsive to screen size. If it’s not, change it as soon as you can.

Next, when creating your website to respond to screen size, you’ll want to pay attention to what comes up first. Think back to the visual hierarchy. One exists on a smartphone, too, but it may be a little different then the desktop.

One thing you want to be sure of is where you place your contact info and phone number. Put your most important items at the top of the page so they show up first on a mobile device.

For example, if you have a restaurant website, most visitors want to know these things right up front:

  • Your location
  • Your phone
  • How to order online or make reservations

#4: Images

The images you choose to use in your website design portray your brand image. This is why it’s so important they be high quality, and you don’t screw this up.

Pixelated images or images that crop out important features go against basic design tenants.

Use high quality photos and optimize them so they don’t take too long to load. Crop them appropriately and upload images that are the right size for your space. Edit any parts of the photo that could use a touch up.

#5: Color Palette and Typography

Your website needs unity to appeal visually to your audience. When it comes to color and font styles, you want them to work with the overall look of your website.

One design principle to take a look at, and not screw up, is the style guide. Before designing your website, decide on your color palette and your fonts. Decide on the color and size of your heading fonts and paragraph styling.

Define how each color and font will be used and stick to it.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of your website is two-fold. First, you want to provide the necessary information to people researching your products or services.

Second, you want the conversion. If your website breaks basic design principles, you’ll blow your chances at turning a visitor into a customer.

The design of your website matters when it comes to your conversion tactics.

Design is more than just how your website looks. Design also includes how your website works, and if it doesn’t work simply for your visitors, you’ll lose them.

When designing or re-designing your website, keep your website user at the forefront of your mind. Know what action you’d like them to take and think about how easy it is for them to get there.

Your web design principles are tied to your profit margin.

Are you ready to squeeze more profit out of your website by fine-tuning your website’s design to skyrocket growth among your current customers? That’s terrific! We’re here to help you optimize your website so it works fluidly for your website visitors. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.

 With our guarantee, you can rest assured we will increase your profits through landing page optimization.

If you’re ready to work with the leader in landing pages and conversion rate optimization, contact us today. We’ll provide you with our FREE site performance analysis so we can work on your landing page conversion rates.

Image: Luis Llerna

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