Most designers are enthusiastic and creative people who often sacrifice the functionality of a resource in order to demonstrate their own skills. It’s worth visiting the Rankings page of Runet sites to be convinced: the overwhelming majority of winning sites in almost all nominations demonstrate an abundance of multimedia tools: from super quality graphics to exquisite video inserts and dubbing of special sites. Unfortunately, not 100% of these highly artistic solutions demonstrate usability and user-friendliness. What can be done to avoid such distortions? How to reconcile the incompatible? What is the formula ideal site? We will try to answer all of these questions in this article.
1. Graphics should not obstruct content
The first rule of user-centered design is to keep all the links, tools, buttons, and functions they might need while working in a visible place. As interactive and non-standard as the site is, it must not distract consumers from the product or service offered. Otherwise, there is a risk that the customer will forget what they came to the site for and, after enjoying the intro video, leave the resource without placing an order.
The emphasis on content and even selling has long been mastered by developers of commercial web resources, among whom minimalism is now considered a fashionable trend. Website design with laconic design is a guarantee to focus on the product. Practice shows that it really works: simple but affordable and stylish, sites yield much more profit than expensive, fancy solutions that can entertain the customer, but not make them buy.
2. Consistent design
A good site is always based on using style and a limited set of visual tools. This involves laying down the basic principles of the organization of its functional areas, the choice of fonts, the basic elements of navigation, even at the stage of defining the concept of a Web page. For example: it is recommended to mark buttons to access another page in all places of the site according to a single scheme: color, shadow or underline. You don’t have to shuffle them in random order, inserting once a colored button and another time with the resize text. It may make the site more interesting and give the user an unforgettable experience, but it is unlikely to become more accessible and simpler. Most of the users will not have a comfortable navigation on the page, they will wonder about the purpose of the next effect. In this case, the “Better less is more” rule is triggered.
Indicate yourself: a single site design should be maintained on all its pages, in all tabs and sections; fonts, header sizes, button sizes must be the same everywhere, as well as function keys, otherwise it looks like a fake, substitute product.
Visuals are basically the language in which the site owner speaks to their user. Of course, this language should be as intelligible and pleasant as possible. Without divergences and double interpretations.
3. The ubiquitous icons
The generation of people who grew up on emojis and emojis show an irresistible thirst for all kinds of pictograms, from icons instead of functional buttons on a website to infographics instead of instructions on how to use the products. And everything would be fine, but experience shows that icons don’t play the best role in the usability of the site. It is one thing to use well-known images with understandable symbols and unambiguous interpretation. But when a developer attracts creative images, and even in large quantities, the user is lost, he does not know what awaits him behind the next icon with scissors or a brick. What to do in such a situation? Complete the images with auxiliary means of recognizing the message posed by the author. Usually, one or two explanatory words under the pictogram are enough to understand what the image refers to. By using this simple method, you can get the attention of the target audience, which reacts positively to the icons and eliminates the possibility of incorrect recognition of these graphics.
4. Key elements of the page
The basic elements of every web page that define its structure are the navigation bar and the headers. The navigation gives an idea of the sections presented on the site and where the user can go next. Ideally, the navigation should be stationary (even if the user lowers the scroll bar, they should not lose any navigation lines). In extreme cases, the “Up” button is suitable for quick return to the site header. Headlines, in turn, convey the essence of the current page, convey its key message.
Ideally, after completing the work on each section of the site, the designer should perform a simple “strabismus test” on several strangers. To do this, a specific page opens, the subject’s eyes squint, and the gaze focuses on the content. Then the person has to say what they see on the site. As a rule, in this position, the main elements of the structure of the site become clearly visible (they will stand out the most under the closed eyelids). If in such a test a person understands the structure of the page (navigation is recognized, titles are striking), then everything is in order with him. Conversely, if there is a struggle between many elements in that particular section, then there are issues with the composition and logic of the page. In the latter case, you will have to clean up the site, remove the excess, remove the components that claim leadership, even if in fact they are not of great value. All these actions are necessary so that the consumer’s attention is not diffused and the site does not look like a dump of information.
5. The right atmosphere
When they talk about good business sites, they mean above all the ability of a web project to convey the spirit of a brand, to tell its unique story in such a way that the reader has no doubts about its veracity. The atmosphere consists of the mood of the product or service, depending on the expectations and wants of the target audience. Its components, in addition to the content itself, are:
- background images;
- color spectrum;
- basic emotions graphics and texts;
- the specifics of writing key phrases (font, size, presentation);
- the specifics of the placement of the elements of the site.
The fresh beer website can be seen as an ideal example of conveying the brand atmosphere, with a single glance at the main page from which appears a feeling of freshness.
Experienced web page builders use proven and guaranteed web design technologies in their work:
- carefully standardize all components of the page structure;
- maintain a balance of content, making the sections intuitive, broad, but not over-saturated with material;
- develop the atmosphere of the pages, including in their design these moods and connotations formulated by the clients;
- include graphics and videos only as a medium, keeping in mind that not all devices will launch videos quickly and efficiently;
- remember the need for responsive design (creating a shell that is also well recognized on any device);
- use consistent logic to structure content.
It is always very difficult to build a website from scratch for a specific client because you have to try to appeal to both the target audience and the client. But if you use good usability, complemented by high-quality texts and professional graphics, a web page will definitely turn out to be not only practical, but as beautiful and as engaging as it gets!