The Complete Guide to Website Design Best Practices

Website design has become an essential part of online marketing today. It can be a daunting task to create a website that looks professional, attracts visitors and converts leads into sales.

Website design best practices are the guidelines that come into play when designing websites. These best practices are aimed at improving user experience, increasing search engine optimization, and providing a better navigation experience for website visitors.

If you are looking to build a successful website, there are certain practices that you should follow. These best practices will ensure that your website works effectively and is able to convert visitors into customers. This article also helps you judge a web design service company while hiring their services for your website design and development needs.

 

What’s the Difference Between Web Development and Web Design?

Web development refers to the process of building websites, while web design is about the look and feel of a site. Web design focuses on the user interface, while web development focuses on the code and functionalities of the website.

Web design is a term used to describe how a website looks and feels, meaning the visual aspect of the website and the user experience on the site. While web development is the task of building the website from scratch and implementing all the functionalities, developing all the pages and linking, etc.

What’s The Difference Between UI and UX?

What Is UI Design?

User Interface design is the art of designing a website that will be used by people. It includes visual aspects such as colors, fonts, graphics, layout, navigation, animations, transitions, motion paths, icons, logos, typography, color schemes, images, videos, audio, and other elements that make up the overall appearance of your product.

What Is UX Design?

User Experience design is the science behind creating great experiences with users in mind.UX stands for User Experience. It’s basically the way your users interact with your website. In other words, it’s what you do when designing a website that makes people want to use it over another one. You can think of it as the “user-friendliness” of your website.

User Experience is the sum total of everything we do in order to make your website visitors happy. This includes things like usability, accessibility, visual appeal, functionality, ease of navigation, speed, security, reliability, customer service, brand identity, content strategy, social media presence, SEO optimization, conversion rates, analytics, mobile responsiveness, cross-platform compatibility, etc.

UI vs UX: What’s The Difference

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are often used interchangeably in the industry. However, they are two different concepts.

UX is a design philosophy or a methodology for designing a website to satisfy the needs of users and make their interaction with it easy and pleasurable. It starts from understanding what users need from the website, what information they want to extract from it, their mental models of interacting with it, then moving on to designing that experience with appropriate UI elements.

UI is the visual design of a website that interacts with users through screens and controls. UIs have been around for decades in the form of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). But more recently we have seen a shift towards more conversational UIs such as voice-enabled interfaces which use natural language processing to mimic natural human speech patterns, thereby enabling a more intuitive and less technological experience for the end-user.

Why Web Design Best Practices Are So Important?

If you want your website to give a good first impression and be attractive and user-friendly, then the design is an important factor.

Design is the backbone of a website, and it should be given as much importance as content. If your website’s design doesn’t match the latest web standards, then people will notice it too.

Furthermore, customers care about the look and feel of your website. That’s why you should pay attention to design best practices too.

In the business world, experts have found that users quickly judge your business based on visuals alone, and if your site doesn’t do much for them, they’ll end up abandoning it.

People react to visuals instinctively, whether consciously or not. This is why websites with high-quality designs tend to convert better than those with low-quality designs.

When designing a website, good form & function are equally important to us. The good form focuses on the look and feel of your site, while good function centers on how the site performs.

Setting up both of these aspects optimally is critical for the success of your business, which is where web design best practices come into the picture.

Following website designing, best practices can improve your website conversion rate as well as increase traffic. These include:

Better Navigability 

Navigation is a vital aspect of website design. You should keep the choices as simple as possible to make your website easily navigable.

There are two common types of navigation: hierarchical and non-hierarchical. Many websites use the hierarchical type because it allows them to categorize their products or services in a way that is easy for the user to understand.

It’s also important that you keep your navigation menu simple by not including too many options, which will only confuse people when they find themselves lost in it and make them abandon the website altogether.

In non-hierarchical navigation, the user has the ability to search for any type of content instead of being restricted to a category.

Overall your website design should make things easy to find with minimum possible clicks.

Consistent branding 

A brand can be defined as a set of attributes and associations that together create a unique and recognizable impression in the minds of consumers. Brand consistency is very important for maintaining customer loyalty and improving customer recognition. When customers visit your website, they should instantly recognize your company logo, colors, or style without having to search for them. Keeping this consistency is important because it improves the credibility and customer loyalty of your brand and helps your customers identify your business whenever they interact with your business.

Design an Effective Layout for Your Web Pages with  User-Centricity, Visual Hierarchy, and Conventionality

A user-centered design or Interaction design is a design that has the user in focus. The user-centered design process focuses on the end user’s experience, which means understanding what works best for them.

A good layout provides a visual hierarchy to guide the viewer’s eye through the content. It does not need to be complicated and can be just a few basic lines and shapes.

Following web design conventions also help meet user expectations. It is about designing the website using and placing the elements in the position where they are found in the majority of the websites. A conventional website layout is a website with the following design elements:

    1. Header and Footer
    2. Sidebar
    3. Menu Navigation
    4. Search Bar
    5. Clear Labels
    6. Visuals and Media
    7. Calls to Action (CTAs)
    8. Whitespace

Header:

This typically includes the logo and navigation elements that let users move through your site.

Headers are the most crucial element of a web page because they carry the bulk of the design, content, and branding. They are what set apart an average-looking website from one that is well-designed. The main purpose of headers is to draw in visitors and guide their eyes to key elements on the page.

Headers also need to be readable by search engines like Google when they crawl your site for indexing purposes.

Footer:

A website footer is an important part of the design for many reasons. It’s the perfect place to put important information about you or your company like contact information, copyright information, or even a privacy policy.

It’s also the perfect spot to put your social media profiles. This is especially helpful if you want everyone who visits your website to know how they can follow you on social media.

Sidebar:

Sidebars in web pages are often used in conjunction with the central content to provide additional information related to the main content. They are also known as sideshows, companion boxes, or extension bars.

This typically includes things like categories, archives, tags, or other special content that you want to feature prominently on your site.

In order for a sidebar to add value to a website, it needs to have links or content that is useful and relevant to the user’s query. If there is no useful information in the sidebar, then it should be removed from the design. If not, then it should be included in a different way to make it more useful.

In addition to providing useful navigational tools, sidebars can help improve user experience by adding functionality to websites without disrupting the flow of the primary content. For instance, they could include search fields, social media buttons, product recommendations, etc.

Menu Navigation:

Menus are the primary way users interact with websites. They are designed to efficiently connect users with the content they are seeking. Menus should be clear, concise, and organized to allow users to easily move through your website. They should always link directly back to the homepage so that users don’t get lost while navigating around your site.

Navigation menus should be easy to use and understand. Users shouldn’t have to think too hard about which menu item will take them where they want to go.

If possible, avoid having multiple levels of submenus within each menu option. Instead, create separate dropdown lists for each level of hierarchy.

Search Bar:

The purpose of a website search bar is to give the website visitors a way to find products, services, or information that you offer on your website. Visitors can search and navigate the site in a non-hierarchical and fluid way, making it more accessible and intuitive. This, in turn, improves the site’s user experience and visitor satisfaction. This also contributes to the overall conversion rate on the site and reduces page abandonment or bounce rate.

Clear Labels:

In traditional website design, labels have been considered an important part of user-experience design. It helps remind people what type of information they are looking for and encourages them to explore a site’s content in a more organized manner.

Labels on a website help encourage visitors to explore the content on the site. These labels identify the type of information that is available on each page, including text, videos, images, and links. This helps visitors to categorize what they are specifically looking for more easily. It encourages well-rounded exploration where people may find other topics that interest them if they don’t find what they want right away.

Visuals and Media: Show, don’t tell 

Visuals and media are important assets in web design, presenting content in a more engaging way. Visual content helps the reader to better understand the message you want to convey. It can be used to break up the text, adding visual interest to the page, or it can be used to show products or services. Visuals and media should match your site’s aesthetic and support your site’s purpose and contribute to the website’s overall positive user experiences.

Calls to Action (CTAs):

Calls to Action (CTAs) are a simple and effective way to increase conversion rates by encouraging visitors to take the desired action on your website. CTAs are typically found at the bottom of a web page and they include a strong call to action text. They will vary depending on the business/company. They can include things like “Subscribe Now” or “Shop Now”, “Get started now” or “Contact us now” etc.

The most common CTA is to sign up for a newsletter. This is because it’s one of the easiest ways to encourage people to do something. It’s also a great way to keep in touch with customers and build relationships.

Whitespace:

Whitespace is just as important in website design as it is in graphic design. It creates a better user experience, making the site easier to read and more enjoyable to use. Whitespace can be used in many ways, for example by using different types of margins or using whitespace on the side of a web page, or creating sections with less text and more whitespace.

The most common type of white space is negative space, which is created by leaving out elements from a design. For example, if you want to highlight a particular element on a page, you could leave out any surrounding content. This would create a lot of empty space around the highlighted element, giving it prominence.

Monitor your page loading speed

Make Sure Your Site Loads Fast.

Website speed is an important aspect of user experience. When a website takes too long to load, potential customers are likely to leave the page and never come back.

Speed matters when designing a site because slow loading times will cause visitors to leave before even getting started. Many websites are now realizing the importance of page load time and are making changes accordingly. They are optimizing their site for mobile devices, using fewer images, using fewer plugins or scripts that may be slowing down the loading process.

There are many ways to improve load time including reducing image sizes, optimizing CSS files, compressing JavaScript, minifying HTML, removing unused resources, combining assets into fewer requests, caching static content, and implementing progressive enhancement techniques.

Better SEO /  Prioritize SEO

The more users find your page, the better chance you have of converting them.

The search engine optimization process is not an easy one. There are a lot of things that we need to take care of – from the keywords we use, to the quality and amount of content we provide, to making sure our site is fast and user-friendly.

If you want your site to be found in search engines and rank for any keyword you want, it’s important that you do everything in your power to optimize your website for SEO. This includes the following:

Build high-quality content with relevant keywords

Get links from other websites

Build backlinks with relevant keywords

Make Your Website Mobile-Responsive – Optimize your design for mobile devices

With the massive increase in smartphone usage, website visits from mobile devices outnumber desktop or laptop visits these days. So to serve these mobile visitors every website should be mobile-friendly or responsive.

The benefits of a responsive design are that it will lead to more user engagement and better conversion rates.

Responsive web design is about creating web pages that automatically reformat themselves depending on the screen size or the size of the device that they are being displayed on. This means that one website can provide an optimal experience for users no matter what device they’re using.

Getting the Accessibility Standards Right

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, design, or environment meets the needs of people with certain disabilities. Accessible products allow people with different abilities to use them. A website should be designed with accessibility features in mind. You can make a website more accessible by following these steps:

– Providing a text-based alternative for images and video

– Making sure that all content is easy to scan for text-to-speed tools

– Enabling keyboard navigation for all interactive elements etc.

Keep Website Security Super Tight

Website security is an important part of the user experience design. Digital data is stored in websites so it’s important to protect them from hacking, spamming, and other online threats. A secured website builds trust and credibility for a business to increase its social engagement and online presence. Search engines also give more weightage to a secured website than an unsecured one. Here are some tips to keep your website secure:

  • Use strong passwords
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Install SSL certificates
  • Block malicious scripts
  • Secure login forms
  • Ensure proper password management
  • Include captcha code
  • Create a privacy policy
  • Protect sensitive information such as credit card numbers
  • Don’t store personal details like email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, etc.
  • Do Not Store Credit Card Information On The Server!

Long-Term Strategies for Web Design Best Practices

It is important that the design of our website be legible and readable. The content should be easy to understand and follow for the reader.

Websites must also have meaningful, accurate, and useful information in order to be effective. There are many ways in which web design can help with readability.

  • Simple English helps readers understand what is being said even if it’s not their native language.
  • Shorter sentences will make the text easier to read and less confusing.
  • Limiting the options presented to users will increase their preference to choose one option, leading them to immediately perform an action.
  • Select typography that’s easy to read and skim.
  • Choose a color scheme that suits your brand.
  • Use texture to add personality and depth, so the design won’t appear to be flat.

 Continuously run A/B tests

A/B tests are a way for web designers to evaluate a proposed change to a website and see how one design is performing over another. They design two pages, one with the proposed change and the other without, and then see which performs better. You can do this manually by changing something on each page and seeing if there’s any difference between them. Or you could automate the process by setting up a test tool that lets you compare multiple versions at once.

The most common type of A/B testing is called split testing. In this scenario, you show different versions of a page to different groups of people. For example, you might show a version of a landing page that has a headline and body copy that say “Sign Up Now!” and another version that says “Get Started Today!” You would then track which version converts better.

Conclusion – Website Design Best Practices

There are several things to consider when designing a website. It needs to look good, function well, and provide value to visitors. There are many ways to improve the overall look and feel of your site. These include using visuals, colors, fonts, layout, and even animations. However, when designing a website, remember that good usability comes first. If visitors cannot easily navigate through your site, they will not stick around long enough to find out what else you have to offer.

Good luck with your website design project!

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