As technology is something that moves at such a rapid rate, it may be strange to think about web design as being timeless. And while there is no doubt that new trends are coming in all the time, the overall aims of your website will remain the same. Probably top of the list is informing people about what your business actually does in the first place.
Even if you are not building the website yourself, you should still be playing an active role in shaping and deciding what the finished product will actually look like whether you are working with a single developer or a company like rouge-media.com. After all, this will end up acting as the shop window of your business and is the place that all new and potential clients will visit at some point down the line. That is why it is useful that you are aware of some timeless website design principles so you are in a good position to create a website that stands the test of time.
You can have the fanciest looking website in the world packed with innovative design features, but if it is not clear what exactly your company does, people are not likely to stick around to find out. Try to use short, sharp sentences that get your core messages across as quickly as possible. The most commonly used device to access the internet is now the mobile phone, so getting your message across using a limited number of words becomes even more important. Once you have grabbed people’s attention, they are more likely to read on and find out what else you have to say. Support any written content with some strong imagery and videos so that you are covering all bases. You should also make sure all your pages have a clear call to action so people know exactly how to get in contact with you if they are looking for further information.
Though website navigation principles are always changing, you want to make sure that it is easy for people to find their way around your site. One of the most common ideas that is used these days is having multiple ways to get around; as well as the top menu, there are other stand-alone buttons that allow people to easily access the most important parts of the site. Keep all the names of the pages as straightforward and general as possible so visitors can find exactly what they are looking for. A good idea is to have a few different people trial your website to see how easily they can work their way through it. Give them specific bits of information to find and see how long it takes them to get there.
You should make sure that the website that you end up creating is completely personal to your business. Once you have established your branding, logo and colour scheme, you should ensure that it is used throughout your website. Rather than going for generic stock imagery, you could have your own taken by a professional photographer to add a personal touch. Have a page on the site that tells your story and the reasons that you decided to establish a business in the first place. Establish a tone of voice that is unique to your business. People tend to prefer websites that instantly put them at ease and make them feel comfortable. Even if you decide to update your website over time as design trends change, make sure not to lose the personal touch that could make you stand apart from your competitors.
Nowadays, people visit websites so that they are able to interact with businesses. The easier they are able to do this, the more likely it is that you can open up a dialogue with them to encourage customer loyalty. Obviously, you will have your email address and phone number clearly on display, but many websites now have an instant chat feature so people don’t have to wait to get their questions answered. Your website should also be closely linked to your social media accounts, which is one of the best ways of encouraging interaction from your customers. As well as this, you should also have a blog page where you regularly post interesting articles about your business and the industry as a whole. Underneath, you can have a comments section where people can react to your articles. Remember to reply to each one individually as another way of showing that you really care what your customers have to say.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
One of the top timeless principles of creating a website is making sure that it is designed with search engine optimisation (SEO) firmly in mind. You may have an expertly designed website that does everything you want it to, but if nobody is able to find it, it won’t do you a whole lot of good. Making sure the content is clear, readable and has a focus on keywords should be one of your top priorities. We have already talked about having a blog page on your site, but this is so important so that you keep your site updated with the fresh content that search engines have been shown to react well to. You should also have a link building strategy in place, making sure that you continually work to get links back to your site from other reputable websites. With so many different SEO agencies out there these days, it makes sense to consult with one of them to get a full picture of what you need to be doing.
Though what constitutes a strong colour scheme changes over time, there is no doubt that this has a major impact on the overall user experience. For example, colours that are complementary create a sense of balance and harmony. One of the top enduring principles is to make sure that you use contrasting colours for the text and background. This will make it much easier on the eye and won’t force people to work hard to read what is actually on the page. Colours that are more vibrant and eye-catching tend to be very emotive for people, so they shouldn’t be overused as this can make the overall user experience too overwhelming. Finally, making use of white or negative space is a major factor in helping your site to look modern and uncluttered.
The actual layout of a website is something that is always changing and adapting as design trends move in and out of popularity. But one particular layout that has shown itself to be timeless is the grid based system. If you spread your content in a random fashion all over the page, it is much harder for people to take it all in. A grid based approach is much more logical, arranging the content clearly into sections, columns and boxes that have a sense of balance. Whatever type of layout you eventually decide on, it is worth remembering the “F” pattern design rule. If you have never heard of this before, you are certainly not alone. Various studies have been conducted that clearly demonstrate that people tend to scan over a computer screen in a clear F pattern. The top and left of the screen tends to be what people pay attention to, while the right of the screen is not looked at as often. Instead of forcing the visual flow, a well designed website will capitalise on the natural behaviour of the user.
An Adaptive Website
In recent times, more and more people are using a range of different devices to access the internet. That is why it is so important that you have a site that is easy to use regardless of what device it is being accessed on. Most website development agencies will advise you about creating a site that is accessible on other devices, but you need to work out whether you would prefer a responsive website or one that has been specifically designed for mobiles. It all comes down to the overall functionality of your site and what its main purpose is.
These are just a few of the main things to focus on when it comes to creating your website. Remember, it is ultimately going to be hugely important to your business for as long as it runs, so getting these principles right to begin with will set you down the path to success. Over time, website design principles will continue to change and adapt, but you should never lose sight of what the main aims of your site are. The best websites are easy to use, but they are also constantly changing so people are encouraged to come back time and time again. Whenever your site is going through some changes, make sure you are totally happy with how this will affect the overall user experience.