Out of the billions of websites out there, what are the chances of readers landing on yours? To catch their attention, you have to consider web design and usability. You can start by making sure that your website is simple, consistent, navigational, conventional, and accessible.
What prompts users to visit a page? More often than not, they are looking for information or planning to complete an action. You do not need a highly elaborate web design for this; It is, indeed, counter-intuitive to make things more complicated than they have to be. For starters, you do not need to use many different colors; three to five carefully selected ones should be enough. Meanwhile, in terms of font style and size, the general rule of thumb is to limit yourself to three different styles in three different sizes. As for graphics, choose them carefully, ensuring that they are there to help perform a task or to enhance readability.
Aside from simplicity, there should be consistency in the general “look” and “feel” of your website. This does not mean that the lay-out of each page should be exactly the same. Rather, your colors, font style, font size, and tone of writing should be similar enough to convey consistency across pages. This would make it easier for users to locate information more easily, which is brings us to the next tip…
The last thing that you want is for readers to get all lost and confused. Getting them to move from one point to another should be as easy as possible. You can start by establishing a primary navigation area (normally at or near the top of the page). You may also want to include a secondary one (at the foot of the page). However, limit the number of menu items or buttons to the absolute essentials — namely, whatever it is that your visitors came for.
If your website is for a daycare center, and visitors are most likely investigating whether it’s a safe, fun environment for their child, then a virtual tour or description of the facilities should be a maximum of 1 click away. Too many links, buttons, tabs, or drop-downs is not only distracting but can be annoying as well.
Being conventional doesn’t mean you can’t be creative or adventurous, or that your website has to look like all the rest. Believe it or not, there are certain conventions in web design that have been tried and tested over the years. Among these are: (a) putting the navigation at the top or left side of a web page; (b) setting the logo at the top or center; (c) making the logo “clickable” such that it returns users to the homepage; and (d) changing the appearance or color of links so that they are highlighted and recognizable. Because these conventions have established certain habits in people surfing the net, it can be quite off-putting when something isn’t working “”as it should.””
Today’s readers use multiple platforms in accessing the Internet — tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and smartphones. The lesson here is to make your website compatible with not just one, but multiple devices. This entails modifying the design and arrangement of your web content for big-screen or small-screen usage. In any case, providing your users access through different platforms is definitely a wise idea.
By keeping in mind your website’s simplicity, consistency, navigation, convention, and accessibility — you can be better prepared to provide your users an engaging and interactive experience.