Starting the website design process can either give you a really great feeling, or can leave you feeling hollow in the pit of your stomach. The feeling you get is usually dependent on how great of a kick start you get with your design process.
What if I were to tell you that you can control those feelings even more than you’re used to? The truth is, you can control the feelings you have by utilizing some tips on how to make sure you’re creating a killer website design right from the start.
There are things that you should (and shouldn’t) be doing during your website design process. These things can be as small as subtle color choices or as large as advertisement placement or layout. Regardless of the size of each item on the list, the impact of each item is equally huge when you look at the bigger picture.
So today i want to go over 5 things you can do that will either make, or break, your next website design. Of course you should always start by brainstorming, sketching, wireframing and go through a couple rounds of revisions before you actually start designing a site in Photoshop or Fireworks.
I hope you enjoy the article.
Making Proper Use Of White Space
It’s no secret that here on SpyreStudios, we’re all fans of minimalism. This translates perfectly into website design because using the right amount of white space can make your design have a better flow and help visitors find what they’re looking for – and fast!
For those who are new to web design, when we say “white space” we’re not actually referring to the actual #FFFFFF color. What we’re referring to is the open, airy spacing that is utilized in designs. Spacial sense is also very important. For some inspiration on minimal designs, you can check out some previous articles we’ve wrote here on SpyreStudios.
- 40 killer minimalist blog designs
- 56 light and clean website designs using a minimalist color scheme
- 20 examples of dark, minimalist website designs with great typography
- 15 minimalist designs that inspired me
The Wrong Color Choice Can Kill A Business
When you’re designing a website that’s geared towards making sales and getting people’s attention, you’ve got to remember that the wrong color choice will throw off potential buyers, especially if the color scheme you’ve chosen isn’t giving off the proper vibe for your product/business.
For example, a business aimed at selling meditation products wouldn’t do very well with a loud color scheme filled with bright reds or yellows. That business model would be better suited for muted colors – something calming and soothing. On the other hand, a website that’s trying to sell training equipment would do very well with a brighter, more “tough” color scheme.
One way to find good color schemes for your site is to check out Colour Lovers – they’ve got great palette choices for all kinds of styles. This article written by our very own Jon should also prove useful.
Don’t Turn Your Navigation Into A Game Of “Where’s Waldo?“
Your goal is to keep people on your site for longer than 4 seconds, so one of the main things you should be thinking about is your navigation. Is it easy to find? Are people able to get from page to page easily? Will your visitors know how to contact you in the first couple seconds of viewing your site? (we’ve all seen Flash sites that have the navigation buried under 37 seconds of animation and heavy graphics, right?)
These are all questions that should be asked while designing your website. Turning your navigation into a game of Where’s Waldo? will definitely ensure that your page views per visit drop, your interaction plummets and your visitor’s overall experience is shot to hell.
By looking at the SpyreStudios website, you’re greeted with the navigation right away. It’s not hidden, blended in or hard to find. It’s up front and in your face – just like it should be.
Ignore The “Keep Everything Above The Fold” Mantra
Some people will have you believe that you must keep all of your content above the fold, disregarding the design and interaction you build into the top part of your website. Maybe they tell you to make your navigation and logo so small that the content comes in at 100px. Maybe they say that a “buy now” button doesn’t work if it’s below the fold. Whatever “they” say – they’re wrong; if you execute the top part of the design properly.
Paddy Donnelly has an awesome post titled “Life below 600px” that you should check out. A lot of great points are brought up in that article that you should really be thinking about when designing your site. Sacrificing design to appease the masses shouldn’t be at the top of your to do list.
Don’t Be Afraid To Sell Yourself As Much As Possible
Look, if you’re designing your own website to promote your business or you’re building another company’s website, one of the main thing that site is supposed to do is sell. Don’t let people tell you anything else because it would be a lie. Interaction is great and socializing with your clients is obviously a no-brainer, but if your website design doesn’t sell you to them, what’s the point in having a website to begin with?
If you look over most business websites, you’ll see a pattern – they all have buttons of some sort that say things like “sign up” or “buy now” or “view pricing and plans“. Checking out sites like Woo Themes, Basecamp, Mail Chimp and even the upcoming MediaLoot will allow you to visually see what I mean. There’s a reason they’re utilizing these types of calls to action – one of their (many) goals is to turn a profit.
As long as you don’t forget that and you make sure it’s easy for people to know you’ve got something to sell (and for god’s sake don’t over do it!), you’re on the right track.
Have your say
Drop a comment and let us know what you think can make or break a killer website design. Did I miss anything on the list?
the add to cart buttons image was a screenshot of this article