Good website design is about more than just the colors you choose and the photos you use.
It’s a sophisticated interplay between subtle things like organization and obvious things like your choice of font. Mostly, it’s about paying attention to details because design is made up of many small elements that either work together to create a harmonious design or conflict with one another and send customers surfing for another site.
Sometimes it not easy to pinpoint exactly what makes a design work, but you know it when you see it. Sometimes, what makes a design work are the very simple things in this next tip.
Tip #3: Follow The Conventions
Just because it’s conventional doesn’t mean it’s boring. Following expected conventions makes it easier for people to use your site and find what they’re looking for. Visitors will forgive a less-than-beautiful site but will lose patience quickly with one that is difficult to navigate.
- A good website design will always (yes, we mean always) use navigation consistently. That means that your common navigational elements will be in the same place, and will have the same look on every single page of your site.
- Keep your logo in the upper left hand corner of the page and use it to link from your interior pages back to your home page. This is standard practice and most people have simply come to expect this.
- Use common names for things – “home” for home and “about us” for a page about your company. There’s no reason why your home page should be euphemistically named “Mission Control”, even if you’re NASA.
- If you have a search field, account login or shopping cart icon, put it prominently near the top of your page. Most people have grown accustomed to these basic design principles.
Of course, every rule comes with an exception. There are incredibly beautiful and functional sites out there that “do their own thing” and do it well. But as a general rule of thumb, you should provide your visitors with a comfortable experience that lets them know you’re a credible, professional organization.
Save the rule-breaking for your debut as an artist, and let the conventions work for your business.
What other conventions have you come to expect from a website?
Read More In The “Good Design Practices” Series
- Tip #1: Plan It Out
- Tip #2: Make It Readable
- Tip #3: Follow The Conventions
- Tip #4: Ride The Trends
- Tip #5: “More” Is Not Always “Better”
- Tip #6: Consider The Technical Side