What makes web designs effective? Is it the amount of, "ooo's" and "ahhh's" you get when you show your friends? Or is it the successful conversion of leads to clients/customers? Whatever the answer was for you, to truly understand effective web design, we've got to break things down to their simplest.
From the beginning phases of site design, the democratization of information should be considered. Meaning, whatever information you're trying to convey, needs to be seen.
Emails, menus, phone numbers, etc. should be positioned in the most noticeable part of the website – like the upper right corner of the header (or left, depending on the language orientation), which is the place where users expect to see them. Secondly, you want that same, or at least similar, information in the footer. Together with a map (have you learned about the Google Map API changes?) to the location of your physical business location. CTA buttons, navigation menu and forms should be placed in a clearly visible part of the website.
The site's user experience (UX) should be like the exceptional service delivered by a fine dining restaurant, where everything is served and explained with expert intent. Online users like to get the information they need fast. So, any information you want visitors to consume, should be where they anticipate to find it.
Bonus points if you can make your site impairment accessible with ARIA tags.
Every web designer who's been doing it long enough, hates those tired cliches: "This should pop!" or "I need this to mesmerize..." But honestly, with certain elements, that sort of enthusiasm is necessary.
A website needs properly crafted CTA buttons to optimize conversion rates. Even if visitors are well-informed, they still need to be influenced to head into the right direction. It is important for the CTA to align with business strategy goals, like to lead them to the contact page, product and services page, or sign-up forms.
A CTA button is effective when its designed in a way that it is easy to see and click. Don't have your audience chase around a button that's randomly floating. Make sure the buttons are in line with your existing brand assets. There is no right or wrong color choice, but the idea is to choose a color that stands out from where the CTA button is located.
In the past, websites were labyrinths that users had to navigate like children in the Maze Runner (anyone remember Yahoo! and Altavista's design back in the day?). Thankfully, web design trends have changed, and while minimalism has come back in fashion, it doesn't mean bring back the spartan ghost white and blue and purple links of decades past.
Key features that designate well-designed websites that convert are simplicity and cleanliness. With the rise of Bootstrap, and other foundational HTML frameworks, a slim and functional design are often default. However, in the wrong hands, even the simplest of design can become monstrosities that will drive away users. Your design needs to convey your brand personality and garner trust. A website should be easy to navigate in order for visitors to immediately get the information they need.
It is important to utilize a visual hierarchy when designing elements on a website. On e-Commerce sites especially, users need to be able to find their way around and back easily. Important elements should always draw attention. Good use of white space is always a good idea to draw the users eye. Lastly, as cool as flashy animations and motion effects are, they should be kept at a minimum, since too many could distract users and slow down loading time (hurting your PageSpeed score).
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