When you are designing a new website or redesigning an existing one, there are a number of things to keep in mind.
Some general things you want to make sure you do are pretty basic, like making sure that your website looks good across all types of devices. That being said, hopefully you are designing your site to be responsive. This simply means that people can easily view your site on their desktop computer, tablet, smartphone, or any other electronic device. While you definitely want to make sure it is responsive, you also want to make sure that it has a similar flow and look to your original desktop website. If your site doesn’t look the same on a smartphone, people might get confused and think they were transferred to a different website or lose interest all together.
Another key factor to having a good website is a well designed navigation system. Whether you like the look of a simple navigation bar at the top of the site, or you decide to keep it hidden and use a hamburger style navigation icon with a drop down menu, having a simple and well designed look and flow is a must. If people get to your website and don’t know how to move on to another page or want to find a particular item but can’t easily see how to get there, they will move on and off of your website.
You also want to make sure visitors can easily look over your website and know exactly what is going on and where they can find key information. Some helpful tips with this are; making sure you have white space and good dividers, make use of headings and larger text to bring people in but don’t have too much text, be sure to use images and illustrations to break up text for easy reading. You want to make sure that important items like sign up forms are a focal point for visitors to easily find as well.
Make sure once you have your site ready to go live, that you double-check all of your links. You wouldn’t want to lose a visitor because you forgot to link one page to another and they got stuck looking at a 404 error page. When someone clicks on a link, they expect to be taken where it said they would go, not a 404 error page or a different page completely unrelated.
While there are plenty of things you want to make sure you do on your website, there are also a number of things you don’t want to do on your website.
One big thing you don’t want to do is to make your visitors wait for something to load. Whether it’s waiting for an image or video to load, or even your website. People want instant gratification, that means we click and we are there in an instant. Gone are the days of waiting for dial up and we are very happy because we hate waiting.
You also don’t want to make links open in a new tab that is somewhere else on your site. This eliminates the use of the back button which we use to go back to where we were previously. Plus, no one likes to have a bunch of tabs or windows open on their computer. If you do want to have a link open in a new tab, a good rule of thumb is if it’s going to another site completely, then you are good to go.
For everyone’s sanity, please don’t use blinking text or ads. If you really want to get a viewers attention use a fun graphic element or illustration. Blinking images can cause seizures and are also very distracting from your other content.
When it comes to videos, don’t auto-play with sound. This is annoying and irritates users. If you do want to have a video start while someone is viewing the page you can set it to auto-play without sound like Facebook. Facebook videos only auto-play with sound when the user hovers over the video and shows that they are interacting.
When you are designing your next website or redesigning your existing site, be sure to keep these do’s and don’ts in mind. They could help to keep your viewers happy and on your website.