8 Key Dos and Don’ts of Custom Web Design
If you’re hiring out for custom web design make sure that you understand what should and should not be baked into the structure of your website to ensure a good user experience.
Photo by picjumbo.com
Creating a custom web design is critical if you’re building a brand or focusing on the user experience. Understanding what elements to focus on and also avoid are even more critical. This is especially true if you outsource different aspects of your website. Always make sure to double-check the work of your teams.
This post will outline 8 things they should and shouldn’t do when developing a custom web design for you.
1. DO: Create Easy-to-Use Navigation
The ease of navigation is key to a smooth user experience. Navigation is the core of the Internet, so having intuitive navigation ensures that visitors find what they are looking for.
So how can you win the navigation game?
Keep top-level navigation for essential links
You shouldn’t use the top-level navigation links for more than seven choices. People just can’t hold more items in their working memory. Within those, you can create sub-navigation such as drop-down menus.
Use clear labels for links
Use familiar words for menu options, so visitors can understand them better. This is not the place to be creative. Stick to stock labels, such as About Us, Product, Blog, Pricing, etc.
Stick to the three-click rule
Viewers should get where they want to go with the least number of clicks possible. Website designers call this the three-click rule. It means that your visitors should be within three clicks away from the information they came for, whether it’s getting to your landing page or your call center number.
Put navigation options in the footer
It’s just one of those things visitors are used to. When you scroll down the entire page, it’s much easier to find the essential links at the bottom than scroll up.
2. DON’T: Have too Many Colors
The colors that you use should always be related to the feelings and messages you want to achieve.
Using too many colors may confuse the viewers as not even they know how they should feel. As a result, they can lose interest and dismiss your website as irrelevant. As a result, you can’t meet your customers’ expectations and drive no sales for your business, especially when you sell on multiple channels at once like WooCommerce and Amazon.
Instead, keep the color palette limited to a few colors and keep it consistent across your site. With this more-is-less strategy, your website will look more professional and easier to read.
Tip: If you’re not sure what color scheme to use, think about the emotions you want to evoke in your visitors.
For example, if you promote an eco-friendly lifestyle and products, green is your best friend.
On the other hand, if you sell high-end graphic design, stick to a monochromatic scheme that complements your showpieces
3. DO: Motivate Readers to Scroll
Scrolling down pulls users deeper into the content and makes them invest more time in your presentation. This rapidly increases the chances of them buying something, signing up for a free trial, or contacting you.
A study from MOVR reveals that half of all mobile users start scrolling within 10 seconds.
This means that the content at the top of the page is critical in keeping their attention. The top content sets the viewers’ expectations of what is below.
Users will scroll but only if the content above the fold is interesting enough.
4. DON’T: Use Weak Calls-to-Action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are messages or designs that stimulate the visitor to take a specific action that you want them to take. For websites, this often means a highly-visible button.
While this means the CTAs should stand out, it also means you don’t want to have too many different CTAs, because that can look too salesy to a visitor.
However, you should have at least one CTA on every page, ideally more than just a ‘Contact Us” button.
Instead, think of examples like these:
- Let’s get this to your inbox.
- Get weekly discounts!
- Be the first to glow.
- Enter to win a free jacket!
- Use my knowledge, Anakin.
These are more engaging CTAs that leave visitors with the impression they are getting a deal or a solution to their problems.
5. DO: Invest in Quality Content
Copy is just as important as graphic design. More than 95% of the information on the web is in the form of text. You can invest in beautiful graphic design, but it’s little more than an empty shell without quality content.
- Keep the content relevant. Irrelevant or outdated texts don’t bring any value to your viewers and might prompt them to look for answers elsewhere. Each line of your copy needs to be helpful and informative for your visitors.
- Avoid jargon. The information on your website should be as plain and simple as possible. The best course is to write for all levels of readers by using language that everyone can understand.
6. DON’T: Let Text Dominate the Page
Although the written language is important, it shouldn’t overwhelm the page. And to tell the truth, it’s not the amount of text that is the problem, but the poor formatting.
Poor formatting decisions, such as leaving chunks of text make it unlikely that visitors to your site will ever read it.
Check out this example:
Which page would you rather read?
A well-formatted text is readable and scannable. Always keep in mind that visitors are looking for information. Faster they find it, there’s more chance they’ll come back to you as a reliable source of information.
Now, what makes the right example so effective:
- Bite-sized paragraphs. No one is interested in large chunks of text anymore. Keep it down to 1-3 sentences per paragraph, and your content will automatically be more digestible.
- Hierarchy. Use headings to point out the theme of each paragraph and make the text more scannable. Research by Nielsen shows that visitors scan in F-shaped patterns, so having leveled headings helps them focus on relevant parts.
- Numbered lists and bullet points. The same scanning pattern applies. Pieces of information are more visible in the vertical plane.
Also, break long pages into page sections and use images to support the story.
7. DO: Use Popups Smartly
We all agree that popups can be annoying as hell. Don’t make the same mistake and annoy your readers.
This means there should be no immediate popups. No one wants the special offer or discount to hit them in the face as soon as the page loads.
This experience will only make them more likely to leave the page. This reduces both your conversion rate and SEO performance. Yes, Google penalizes websites that people leave too quickly.
If you have to use them, 1 popup is enough.
Tip: Have a popup appear when the visitor is about to leave your website. Websites can detect when the mouse moves towards the “x” button.
At this point, it’s safe to have a special deal pop up to try to get visitors to sign up or click on the CTA button at the last second.
8. DON’T: Make Users Wait
Website loading time can break or make your user experience. As faster devices are becoming available, users are getting more impatient.
Kissmetrics found out that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds and less, while 40% exit a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Needless to say, if your web page takes longer to load, visitors may become frustrated and close the tab.
How do you make loading speed your priority?
- No blank pages during loading. When loading takes time, make sure to display that something is going on. It can be either a part of the content or a loading indicator.
- Optimize images. Large background images can take time to load. Reduce the loading time by using the right image format, level of compression, and dimension.
- Identify performance issues. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insight and Think With Google to identify performance issues and find solutions for slow loading.
Keep these tips in mind for custom web design and you’ll create a pleasant, user-friendly experience for your website visitors every time.
Invest in information-rich content, simple navigation, and captivating visuals, and your visitors will be coming for