Fresh eyes

5 tips for successful web design

5 tips for successful web design
Simon Turner Freshfield Managing Director

Written by Simon Turner,
Chief Executive & Group Client Director at Freshfield

1. Base the navigation around the user

Your website is useless if the user can’t navigate it. Clear and easy navigation makes any website better to use and will keep users coming back. Look at the BBC news website which has dual navigation at the top, a generalised section-based navigation and then further down the page a more direct specific set of navigation points. It’s a great benchmark. People don’t want to have to hunt around for 10 minutes to get to a specific link; they should be able to find what they want within two to three clicks of their mouse.

2. Keep the website uncluttered

A website is like a museum or art gallery. Rather than cramming every wall with every drawing, painting, or sculpture created by mankind, they are laid out in such a manner that gives them room to breathe. Creating a neutral space around items can make them easier to view and understand. Most importantly you avoid scaring the user off by throwing too much at them.

3. Don’t write a novel

What are you trying to say? What’s your website about? I’m sure many of you could write essays about your company, but content should be short and informative. Not a lot of people like to read things on screen, so keeping it concise will help viewers. Remember, it’s not just about what you say, but what you show. Search engines love websites with large images, videos and other ‘rich media’. Don’t be afraid to explore what you can do with images and moving content.

4. Responsive design

We live in a world where the web is no longer just viewed on standard computer monitors, but also on large high definition TVs, small 10-inch notebook screens and phones. How do you cater for such a huge difference? The answer is responsive design. Integrated with modern web technologies, your website can adapt to all of the above. Look at the Boston Globe website. If you change the browser to its smallest width, the website will respond to fit the size of the browser. Bearing this in mind will help you when designing for large or small screen formats.

5. Accessibility

This has been one of the most important tips since the dawn of the web. Your website will be viewed by people with different viewing requirements, including potential visual impairment, such as blurred vision or colour blindness. By keeping your website DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant you will be able to keep your site viewable to those with difficulties. The web is an ever changing world with new technologies being developed every day. However, never ignore the fundamentals of good web design.

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