There is no recipe for an ideal website …

But there are basic ingredients. Here they are.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
– Steve Jobs

Not an easy task, designing a website  entails a lot of research and brainstorming. Biggest question: Who is your target audience? Essentially, every website includes the following components:

1. LAYOUT STRUCTURE – Below are some examples. Your choice depends on your industry, your goals and your target audience.

2. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

SEO is addressed at the beginning of the design process. It starts with creating 15 or so  keywords/keyword phrases, then your Page Title.The humble Page Title is your main tool to attract new visitors from search listings and to help your existing users to locate the specific pages that they need. The Page Title is contained within the HTML <title> tag and is almost always used as the clickable headline for listings on search engine result pages .  Then you need to create h1-3 headings and above-the-fold keyword content.

3. CONTENT

Homepage
Visitors spend 2.5+ seconds on this the most important page of your website! Remember your taglines must explain what the company does and what makes it unique among competitors. Two questions can help you assess your own tagline: Would it work just as well for competitors? Would any company ever claim the opposite? Taglines need to be short and quickly communicate the purpose of the site.

How Visitors Read Your Web Pages
The F-shaped reading pattern reveals that the normal eye gaze begins from top left on a web page, moving horizontally to the right. Moving a little below on the left side, this pattern repeats but the gaze stops around the center and then you scroll the page downwards to have a glance over the important sections placed on the page. This makes a virtual F-shaped pattern on a web page and it is believed to be the normal eye movement pattern of any web page.

User-Friendly Navigation
Tests show that visitors first look at the pictures, then at the titles then at the text. Navigation often gets completely ignored! Navigation only comes into play, when a user feels lost. Still remember to have clean horizontal menu bar(s), preferably not flash.!

Writing For The Web. It’s different.
Remember users won’t read your text thoroughly. So the first two paragraphs must state the most important information. Don’t write a wall of text. Write for online, not print. To draw users into the text , use these tricks: Subheads, bulleted lists, highlighted keywords, short paragraphs, the inverted pyramid, a simple writing style, and language devoid of marketese.

Body Content Area.
This area discusses the company/services/products. It also includes images depending on the nature of the site and the layout selected.  This area can be subdivided into sections for services or highlighting certain popular or featured products.

Simplicity … is the ultimate sophistication.”
– Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

4. DESIGN

A series of playing cards designed by Tauba Auerbach, hand numbered and signed. The Whitney Museum.

Consistency is important. Users spend most of their time on other websites. This means that they form their expectations for your site based on what’s commonly done on most other sites. If you deviate, your site will be harder to use and users will leave. So keep the design simple .

Contrasting elements matter, i.e. background, header & footer colors; typography sizes & styles, and above all images.These days design trends include using standard font sizes and adequate white space, and offering clear color contrast. For screen design, an overly strong contrast (full black and white) is not ideal, as the text starts to flicker. Benchmark: #333 on #fff

***

“Design is a key determinant to building online trust with consumers. For motivated users of an information site, bad design (busy layout, small print, too much text) hurts more than good design helps.”
– Sillence, Briggs, Fishwick, and Harris, 2004.

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About jmgroupdesign

Genesis WordPress designer Inbound Marketer Bigcommerce designer View all posts by jmgroupdesign

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