OK, now that you know the 2019 web design trends, we can get into the fun stuff like colors, typography, call-to-action buttons, and navigation. Every designer takes a different approach to build a website, but there’s a standard checklist of items and concepts that should be accounted for.
Of course, there are design principles, the beauty of web design is that it’s an art form — not a science. Good design stands out from the crowd, but be sure the risks you take are calculated and reversible if they don’t pan out how you’d like.
Now, time to turn the page on that sketchbook and start designing! Here are six important design elements you’ll want to make sure you get right.
1. Overall Layout and Visual Appearance
Your site’s overall look is, of course, a crucial component of web design. We’re using these broad terms to cover a range of reactions you want your visitors to have. First impressions are critical, so you want to wow your audience as soon as the page loads. Users take only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of your website or business, and that will determine whether they’ll stay or leave.
That means your design should align with a handful of soothing adjectives: it should be simple, familiar, intuitive, clean, and accessible. Use plenty of white-space (or padding and margins) to give the elements of your site room to breathe, and use grid-based designs to keep design items organized and orderly.
Strong photography, icons, or graphics provide supplementary information but make sure the images complement each other and represents your brand.
2. Color Scheme
Finally, the elements you were probably expecting the most once you started reading. Your color palette and fonts will give you a firm groundwork for greater success.
Pay attention to your brand — along with your audience or target market.
Lawyers and accountants, for example, would typically be best served with a deep blue or green to signal professionalism, while manufacturers may want to rely on grays, blacks and metal colors to match their industry. Beyond your brand’s industry, pay attention to your readers’ expectations: Parents of newborns will appreciate soft pink and blues and yellows, while K-6 children expect bright primary colors. Teens and young adults are bold, while grownups and grandparents are a bit more refined and mature.
The same industry and demographic principles can generally be said for the typography, or fonts, you choose to communicate your message. More formal roles, like those lawyers and accountants, will likely want to stick with distinguished serif fonts (which have the extra bits hanging off at the end of letters), while we envision the manufacturers would use a very thick and heavy sans serif (no extra bits) typeface.
As with the site’s overall design and layout, you’ll want to balance normalcy with freshness.
Your text should be easily readable, which generally means body copy should be at least 16 pixels. Using a complementary font is ideal for headings or accents, but don’t go beyond three typefaces or unnecessary sizing adjustments. Of course, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of contrast between your text and the site’s background colors, which generally means a light color paired with a dark tone — avoid that piercing red-font-on-green-background eyesore.
Your site’s navigation is not a space in which you need to be creative. First off, don’t fall into the trap of overly complex, multi-tiered subnavs. Navigational elements — which can exist in a site’s header, body, and footer — simply serve to direct your visitors to the information they desire as quickly as possible.
Right at the top of the page, site owners will be confronted with a majorly polarizing design decision: to hamburger or not to hamburger? The hamburger menu, represented by three parallel, horizontal lines, provides an economical way to save space by hiding your navigation off site. However, it obscures vital information and interactions from your visitors and tends to have lower click rates.
Strong navigation extends beyond the main menu in your header. For long, scroll-heavy, or one-page designs, for example, you may want to include directional arrows that help direct users through each section. Most sites will also benefit by adding a sticky “Back to Top” button that quickly delivers visitors back to the top of the page.
Finally, don’t ignore the footer navigation menu. Users tend to scroll farther than you might expect, and some brands even witnessed up to 50 percent more conversions with an optimized footer. If a reader has stuck around long enough to make it to the end of your homepage or landing page, they’ll need somewhere else to go or something else to do, such as sign up for email updates from your business.
Your site visitors and potential customers want information quickly — is your brand trustworthy? Experienced? Capable of delivering top-notch products and services? Given people’s short attention spans and lightning-fast first impressions, communicating clearly is critical. Information should be easy to read and digest.
Look closely at each word: Do you really need it? Efficiency is key, as extra words can stand in the way and dull your brand’s primary selling points. Use headings and display text to organize sections and quickly let your readers know what information you’re providing. Instead of using long, rambling sentences, break up long lists into ordered or unordered lists. Just think short and sweet!
As far as content goes, don’t forget to look beyond your blog or homepage. Make sure your ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages take the appropriate tone and convey the right information.
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What are you waiting for?! If these tips have helped you in understanding what your site needs, then give the webFEAT team a call today. See examples of some of our recent work in our recent website portfolio.