So you’ve decided to create a website for your company? Exciting times lie ahead. But where to start if you’ve never designed a website before? The truth is, there’s a multitude of different things to consider – but here are some tips to help you lay the foundations of your website’s design.
Establish your customers’ needs – and how you’ll meet them
It’s easy to get carried away and design your website to meet your company’s needs – but it won’t be your company that’ll be using it, your potential customers will. Your primary concern should be identifying what your they will want to get out of your site, and how you can meet their expectations.
Everyone is different, of course, but fundamentally most visitors to your site will want to know why they should purchase from you, and will want to complete their purchase as quickly and easily as possible if they do choose to buy from you.
Consider the different possible journeys your visitors could take through your site. What page could they start their journey on? (Few first-time visitors will start their journey on the homepage.) What motivated them to visit your site? What will motivate them to stay?
How will you help them progress to the next step in the buying process? If they need to go back a step or they get lost, how will you get them back on track?
How will their choice of device affect their journey? Will they struggle to reach the next step if they’re using a mobile to access your site? If so, how will you address their issues?
If this all sounds too much, don’t worry – web developers will be able to advise you on typical user journeys. It’s also helpful to take a look at successful competitor websites – think of that order confirmation page as the ‘finish line’ and take note of the techniques they use to keep you on track to cross it.
Use colour cleverly
Don’t just choose the colours you think look the prettiest. Your colour choices should be carefully planned with your users in mind. Here’s a few points to consider:
- What colours match your existing corporate design style and will help existing customers recognise your company’s site as ‘yours’?
- What colours work well together and will appeal to your visitors? Look into colour theory to find out which colour partnerships are compatible.
- What colours display well on a range of screen types?
- Do colours interfere with the legibility of text on the site?
- What cultural connotations do these colours have? Are these implications appealing/unappealing to the audience you’re aiming for? Are they helpful/harmful to your brand?
Keep fonts functional, not fanciful
The same goes for the typography you use – it’s not about what you think looks the most interesting, but what will be the best for your customers.
All the text on your site should be comfortable to read, and rendered in an appropriate font for the subject matter & the audience you’re targeting. Imagine if the BBC’s news website was all written in Comic Sans – you wouldn’t be able to take it seriously. Similarly, if a kids’ site was written in Times New Roman, it would be unlikely to appeal to the children reading it.
Be aware of web-safe fonts – these are fonts which your users are likely to already have on their computers and devices. You can get around font dependencies by using “webfonts”, such as those available from Google Fonts or Font Squirrel. Remember, if you choose an obscure font which many users will not have and do not have the webfont files embedded or linked, those users will see your site rendered with default fonts, making your site look ugly, unfinished and amateurish.
Most importantly, be consistent with design
Remember, your design choices should remain consistent throughout your site. Customers won’t want to stay on a site which picks and chooses different styles for each page – it suggests some pages are outdated, or possibly even phishing attempts to steal your personal details!
UK Design Services can offer advice and guidance on designing your website. To find out more, Drop me a message.