What are the Essential Components of Web Design?
ZeeBlu understands Web Design in Santa Barbara
Take a second to think about who you built your website for. Your customers, right? And your customers are just like you—they’re human—and although we’re all vastly different, we share certain universal needs.
What are some of these universal needs?
The Goal is Interaction
There’s a gun to your head…
“Browse the Internet or I’ll shoot!”…
“Okay! I’d love to!”
No one is forced to navigate the Internet. It’s a choice. People click because they’re searching for something, and they want to interact.
Many times web design falls into obscurity on the quest to be “witty” or “fun”. I’ll tell you what’s not fun: users clicking away from your website because it’s confusing and tough to navigate.
How can you be clearer?
- A Straightforward Introduction
If your site is in English, readers will travel through your page from the top left to the bottom right. People want to know that they’ve come to the right place, and they’re eyes will drift to the top left of the page for information like your business name and your tagline.
Make sure that this information is visible and obvious. Let your readers know that they’ve found what they were seeking. Create a visual hierarchy based upon how you want your visitors to absorb your content.
- Obvious Navigation
There’s a disaster. You need to get out of this building immediately. What words pop into your head? Gangway? Egress? Path-out-of-burning-building? No, you look for the sign labeled exit.
Confusion is the bane of business. The home page of your website should be designed like a simple map, and the navigation bar like a compass. Would you use a compass that labeled “North” as “Up from your location relative to Earth’s poles”? That’s silly right?
Title your navigation items in plain English with universally understood terms that describe exactly what users will get when they click. Don’t make your visitors work to find what they want; just give it to them!
We Need to Read
Humans want to read. The most important pixels in web design are the ones that represent your content, the words of your website.
Let’s talk about how to get your words read.
- White Space
Embrace white space! Words upon words smashed together like a research paper is boooring. If you expect your readers to pour over your content, then give them a visual break. Give your readers some space to let their eyes breathe.
- Contrast and Font
Grey text on a light grey background…the evil “tone-on-tone” style. I don’t know who started this trend, or who the idiots are that continue to follow it, but it needs to go! Interested in alienating your audience? Then lack of contrast is for you. For those of us that seek web traffic, web design needs to center around contrast because contrast equals readability.
What’re the best colors for optimal contrast? Light background, dark text; play with specific colors to match your brand, but remember that high contrast is the goal.
Show Them Who You Are
When you step off of a plane into a new city you’re full of questions: where can I get a cab? Where’s the bathroom? Where’s the pub? New visitors to your website have questions of their own: what is this site? Who runs it? What kind of personality does this business have?
First impressions are visual. Thankfully, web design is almost entirely visual.
Research shows that sticking to two main colors is the most effective website design. Your visitors aren’t looking for a cacophony of color; they want simplicity, and they want you to answer their questions! Use an accent color to direct focus, but use it sparingly to showcase your calls-to-action.
Unique fonts are a great way to help your website stand out from the crowd, but be careful about which ones you choose. Fonts that are too outlandish can turn your site from elegant to laughable.
Keep Their Eyes on Content
Your content and web design are like the greeters of your website. Keep both aimed at answering the question of “what would make it clearer?” and you can’t go wrong.