An effective web design is much more than just a good-looking web layout -information on web pages must be put in an easy to follow and logical pattern.
Typically, web users scan sites starting from the upper left corner, moving across to the right-hand part of the page, then down to the left side and back to the right. Following this format, the most important information should be on the top left corner of your webpage and the least important at the bottom right.
2. Aesthetics Matter
Great content is important but if your website isn't visually pleasing, then you could be losing conversion. The top three essential aesthetic and elements to include in a website design are balance, colours and typography.
It is common knowledge that colours elicit emotional responses. For example, blues, purples and greens are calming and tranquil and colours like yellow get people hyped and excited. When selecting a colour wheel for your website, you should aim for a balance between contrast and harmony.
3. Visual hierarchy
This has to do with how the elements of your webpage are arranged in order of importance. It can be done either by style, texture, size, colour, typography, imagery or contrast. The major function of visual hierarchy is creating a focal point - that is, highlighting to your visitors where the most information is situated.
4. Easy navigation
Research shows that web users spend more time on websites that are easy to navigate. In order to make sure navigation on your website is easy, you should consider creating a logical page hierarchy using clickable buttons and breadcrumbs. Remember to follow the three-click rule - that is, your visitors can get the required desired information after three clicks.
5. Be consistent
Consistency is important in web design - pay special attention to matching design elements all through your webpages. That is, size, button style, subheadings, headings and so on remain consistent all through your website. To help with this, plan everything before you begin designing; select button style, preferred colours, font size and so on and use them throughout development. It is also important you familiarise yourself with fonts used to enhance design, then use and be consistent with the ones that best works for you.
Pro tip: Cascading style sheets (CSS) can help with retaining information regarding design elements and sales.
6. Don't forget Hick's law
Hick's law states that every additional choice increases the time needed to make a decision.
For example, at restaurants, menus that have a lot of options make choosing dinner difficult. However, if you are offered two options, making a decision would require less time. This is almost the same with the paradox of choice - the more choices you are given, the easier it is to go with nothing.
Hicks principle should influence web design - the more options a user has on your website, the more difficult it is to use. Try to eliminate choices or reduce them, especially distracting options that could harm website functionality.
7. Simplicity works
A simplistic design at its very core involves the removal of unnecessary components from a website design - use lots of negative space, two or three colour scheme and a clean layout. Clean designs often feature a few standout elements but really focuses on negative space and the colour scheme to create interest and drama.
8. Readability and typography
Even though your design is great, a large portion of your website is made up of text as this is what provides web users with information. And because search engine crawlers use this data, it is an essential part of SEO. As a rule of thumb, keep the typography of your web page visually appealing and easy to read for web users, alongside metadata keywords and other SEO sensitive components.
9. Make it self-explanatory
The first law of usability according to Krog, is that a webpage should be self-explanatory and contain obvious information. When designing a website, you should get rid of question marks (the decision that visitors need to make consciously, or considering cons, pros and alternatives).
If your website's architecture and navigation aren't intuitive, the number of question marks grows and makes it harder for users to understand how the website works and how to move from point A to point B.
Keep the structure clear, use easily recognisable links and moderate visual clues to help your website visitors find pathways to their destinations.
10. F- pattern design
Stick to a natural reading pattern to improve conversion and website usability. A lot of studies propose that F- shaped patterns where the eyes scan the text from the top left corner to the right-hand corner is the most natural way people read.
This is because it is connected to the writing traditions of most Western languages.
Following this pattern, you should always put the most important information on your webpage at the top left parts and the least important at the bottom right.