Some websites work well while others don’t and this is because many of the principles of effective web design have been left out. It is quite easy to leave them out when you don’t know what they are – and just as easy to include them when you do, so here are some of the most important ones to help you on your way to having an effective website.
- Visual hierarchy is not as difficult to understand as it may look. In fact, your website is a visual thing, since people look at it much like they would a book. However, unlike a book, the website is there to get people to do a certain action. It is important then, to get attention to the most important elements in your website, such as the call to action. This can be done by size, colour and placement. For example, if you have two clickable buttons close to each other, the most important one should be larger or a different/brighter colour.
- Proportion is important. You will divide your website up into sections that are visually pleasing and use the largest section for the most important parts of your website. The content area will be larger than the menu area.
- Many people mistakenly like to give their visitors many choices to go here and do that, so that they are catering for all needs. Instead, they are creating confusion. It is really difficult to make a choice from many options. Instead, limit the choices to just 1 or 2 options. Or if you have a lot of products, use filters in the menu so that visitors know exactly what to click on to get their choice of product.
- Grouping and proximity. Similar elements should be grouped together to aid your visitors in seeing where things are. However, it’s just as important to ensure those things that don’t go together are not grouped together. This is because people see the website as a whole before they see the separate elements.
- White space should be an integral part of your website. It can be used to separate the different elements and lead the eye to the important part of the website. If your use of white space is limited – or non-existent – your pages will look too busy and very cluttered. People won’t stop and read what’s there because it all looks too difficult or would take too long. Try taking out 80% of the content on your home page. Put it on another page and leave a ‘learn more’ link to it on your home page. Simple is better because it is less confusing to the user and allows them to get what they want more quickly.