Effective web design needs more than only data and presenting them as texts. Only research is not enough, the data must be presented with proper orientation, stylization, and presentation. It should also be pithy and clear and in each aspect of site design aesthetics should stand out. Usability or user convenience is another point to consider for effective and engaging website design. Research is needed to keep the readers engrossed but presentation is the first impression and is needed to catch their attention at first.
Here are a few top points and guides to get you going. But before that, consider two points beforehand.
l You should find out the exact audience you want to serve. Then decide what type of experience they will be looking forward to, from a site like yours. Is your aim clear to you? Is your site really going to click with them?
l Wireframe always. Wireframing is the technique to draw the site structure completely using pen and paper or a board. In this way, you will know very well where your pages will be and exactly what information to put in each pages. The architecture is important to achieve your goal.
l Consistency is the most important factor to consider here. Each page should have a similar page structure and layout. That is the identity of your site. When we say layout, we not only mean navigation and spatial alignment of elements on the page but also the colour, tone of the text and background images, if any. This becomes much more important for multi-author sites. If all other writers are writing seriously, better not one or two writers start cracking jokes. It may ruin the central theme of the site.
l Multiple ways to navigate is also important. There should be a top menu and a footer menu in most cases. Some people prefer a left hand menu with a footer menu. A prominently displayed HOME button or icon is important on all pages. Also, the logo, mostly placed on the top left corner, should be clickable and lead to the home page. Some people also love to go around by typing the URL so please make URLs in a way which can help them to reach the webpage. And, never forget to add a custom 404 page to your website.
l Important information should be present on the top pages and shouldn’t be hidden too deep down the layer. Users generally want to find out the important things as soon they arrive at your website. Too much deep hidden information is often considered the trait of a spammer.
l Use meta wisely. You should write a catchy Title for the <title> tag for the site and follow it up with an interest picking meta description. Remember, Google will only show the <title> and <meta description> in the search result. Thus, your title and meta description should describe what the page is all about and how the user will be benefited using the webpage.
l A good “About Us” is very important. Ideally, this should be placed in your homepage and it should explain who you are and why your website exists in the first place. Following the link to your site, when an user comes to your site, they should be well explained the necessity to stay on the page. If your opening stanza can catch the user’s interest, they will stay longer and use your site even more.
l The home page design should be as pithy and impactful as possible. The viewer should see the navigation clearly and also guess the theme of the site. In the best possible scenario, all these information should be placed in the first viewed region where the user doesn’t need to scroll down really.
l Test your site as extensively as you can. Ask your friends to be a beta tester of your site. Whatever they feel about the site, note down. Is the site looking good? Can they navigate easily or get lost among the pages? What about the content? Is it easy for them to understand? Can they read the fonts or are they too small and has no padding? Ponder over the changes they suggest and execute them suitably before the site launch.
l Try the site in all popular browsers, at least using Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. Make sure the site is working in each of the browsers and that too perfectly. If your site is responsive, don’t forget to try them in a few mobile and handheld devices too.
About the Author: Sachin Aggarwal is a professional Web Development Strategist and has been researching on newer ways of how to reach results in lesser time and minimal hassles. He is associated with IT Chimesand loves to write stuffs on Web Portal Development.