Whether it’s your first website or your fiftieth, navigating the web design process can be difficult. This article will help you understand exactly what you need to build a website that your target audience loves.
Navigating the Web Design Process
Before selecting the right website development company you should understand all that goes into the web design process. Specifically, everything you must consider when designing a website that attracts your target audience and drives them to action. Here’s what I think you should consider when beginning your website design project.
Before creating your web design, it’s important to look at user behavior online. Keep in mind that your website should guide your target audience towards a specific action.
There are four basic criteria you need to examine when analyzing user behavior.
1. Quality and Credibility
Website users appreciate quality and credibility of the websites they visit. You can have the most beautifully designed website in the world, but if your content is lacking in quality and credibility, your design will mean nothing.
2. Scanning the Webpage
Users scan webpages. They don’t usually read every single bit of content that you’ve created and will search for anchors to guide them through the content of your website page.
3. Instant Gratification
The website needs to grab your user’s attention in the first few seconds or your viewers, and potential customers will leave without gaining any positive lasting impressions.
Users tend to follow their intuition which makes it very important that your website structure follows an intuitive flow.
Principles of Effective Web Design
Applying these principles will keep your users coming back for more.
Have a Goal
Each page on your website needs to cater to a specific goal of your user. Whether your user is looking for your contact details or more information on a product or service, your website needs to cater to that in the most effective way possible.
Your information needs to be easy to read and digest. You can accomplish this by formatting your text with headers, bullet points, etc. This will give your readers clear direction and clue them up immediately as to what you want to talk to them about.
Use color in an effective and creative way throughout your website. Using complementary colors can create harmony and balance on your website.
Provide contrast to the text and background colors to make your website content easy to read. Colors have the power to evoke emotions, so bear this in mind when deciding which palette to use.
Text isn’t the only form of communicating with your users. Adding rich media to your website like images, videos and infographics can communicate and get the point across better than any piece of text. It can also be great for positioning your brand to your target audience.
The user journey is the actions the user takes when moving around in your website.
There is a general “3 click rule” which states that a user shouldn’t take more than three clicks to get to their goal/destination. Make sure that your website has a logical page structure which has intuitive user flow.
User Attention Tracking
Studies have shown that users scan computers in an “F” pattern which places their attention on the top left-hand side of the screen.
Good designers will build a website using this flow instead of forcing a different layout and will prioritize the most important information left to right and top to bottom.
Ensuring that website images are optimized to load faster and making sure the code is optimized will ensure that your website loads quicker.
Make sure that your website is optimized to be viewed on all devices. You will be missing out on a huge chunk of traffic if your website is only optimized for desktop usage.
More users around the world are accessing the internet from mobile devices than from desktop computers for the first time, according to internet monitoring firm StatCounter. The combined traffic from mobile and tablet devices tipped the balance at 51.2 percent, vs. 48.7 percent for desktop access, marking the first time this has happened since StatCounter began tracking stats for internet usage.
With WordPress, you can create powerful, polished sites. It’s the most popular website publishing platform and currently powers more than 20% of the web.
WordPress is constantly improving with updates rolling out regularly to enhance your users’ experience.
50,000 new WordPress websites get published every day, from small business websites to big media organizations like CNN. The scalability ensures that your website will be able to grow with your business.
Here’s why we recommend using WordPress.
- 100% Customizable – Your website is customizable in WordPress; from the color to the layout. How your website looks will be completely up to you, which means that your website will always be a clear representation of your brand.
- User-Friendly – An intuitive user interface is the result of WordPress’ simple, uncomplicated technology. Adding new pages, blog posts and media can be done without coding and HTML knowledge.
- SEO Friendly – One of Google’s considerations when indexing your website is your HTML code. Google does not like excessive coding. WordPress is already streamlined, creating a good basis for your future SEO efforts.
- Data Safety – With WordPress, no one, besides your developers, has access to your content. Your content is also automatically saved, which protects against data loss.
- Website Security – If you have the right partner setting up your WordPress installation, they will “harden” the installation which provides more security against hackers that your average website.
- Multi-User Functionality – Within WordPress, administrators can create user accounts and specify the level of access these accounts hold. This means that your writers, editors, and various other employees will all have access to your website to improve its content.
- Universal Platform – Instead of starting from scratch when you want to do a re-design, a designer can edit the existing website. This will cut down on design time and cost for your business.
- Mobile Friendly – With responsive themes, your website will identify the device your site visitors are using, and automatically adjust the view appropriately.
- Blog Ready – WordPress has a built-in blog functionality, ready for you to design and activate. So you can focus on creating more content instead of trying to build a blog website from scratch.
Web Design Process
Following these five steps will ensure that your website accurately reflects your brand and is still easy to use.
- Website Goals – During the beginning phase of the process, it’s important to determine the goals of the website. These goals will dictate the design of the website as it strives to meet this goal.
- Content Structure – Mapping out the content structure and getting approval on that during the planning phase is crucial. This will save enormous amounts of time later on.
- Quality Branding Materials – Your website needs to have consistent branding for the user journey online to complement the user journey online.
- Mockups – Mockups are created keeping the website goals in mind. It’s important to have enough variety in the mockups to view how different styles could impact the website look and feel.
- Review & Approve – The website look and feel needs to be considered and approved by all stakeholders before the development can start.
- Website Template Framework – The main template framework for the website needs to be developed before the individual page templates are developed. This is the foundation for the various page templates.
- Page Templates – Once the master template is developed, the individual page templates are created.
- Add Special Features – Special features are developed when the need arises for a specific function; for example adding social network buttons where users can “like” your blog posts.
- Upload Content – After the content has been written and approved, it needs to be uploaded along with any other media to the right pages of the website. Other media include videos, images, pdf documents or slides.
- QA – Once the website has been fully developed, it needs to go through Quality Assurance by testing all links, functionality, etc.
- Transfer to Live – When all testing has been completed, it’s time to transfer the website to the live server where the website will be hosted.
- Test – Live testing is necessary to ensure there are no errors or bugs on the live website.
5. Site Maintenance
- Security Updates – To ensure that your website is safe and secure, a monthly update of WordPress and plugins is recommended.
- Website Backup – Making a backup at least once a month will ensure that you never lose website data and your site remains up and running.
- Content Updates – Keep your content fresh by updating it at least once a month with new blog posts. When products or services get added to your business, it’s important to transfer that information to your website.
Before creating your web design, it’s important to look at user behavior online. Keep in mind that your website should guide your target audience towards a specific action. Use these web design processes will result in a clean, well-formatted website that attracts and converts your target audience.
What’s the most important element of a great website? Leave your comment in the section below…