4 Tips to Know Before Designing A Website

Woman holding iPhone, and working on laptop. Computer monitor with code in the background

Web design involves much more than just making a pretty website.  It is a space where you can’t emphasize form over function or function over form. The design and functionality of your website need to go hand-in-hand to keep users engaged on your site. Keep reading to discover the 4 best tips to keep in mind when designing your website.

UI and UX designing principles

UI design stands for user interface design. This is what users see when they access a website. UX design stands for user experience as it relates to the design of a website. UX is how the user interacts with the website. UI and UX are often used interchangeably and are very much related. As a web designer and developer, it is important to keep the user (audience) in mind when creating a website.

Jakob’s Law of Web Design

In the design world, there is great emphasis placed on being creative and unique. This will work against you in web design. Jakob’s Law of UI/UX Design states that users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. 

Think about how you use a website. You expect certain navigational elements: home, about, services/products, blog, contact. When you see those elements on someone’s navigation you know exactly what to expect when you click on them.

As a designer of websites, it is important to keep things simple for users. If your about page is labeled, “find the fabulous,” or your shop page is labeled, “access the goodies,” users have to guess what each of these pages will lead them to.

This leads to user confusion, uncertainty, and frustration. Ultimately, these emotions from a website user will lead them to leave the webpage and not convert.

Websites have a certain formula in how they’re designed. As a designer, it is important to get creative within that format so that users understand what their looking at, but at the same time, the website doesn’t come off as boring or bland.

use Google Analytics to inform design

While not strictly related to design, utilizing Google Analytics on a website will help to inform design decisions.  With Google Analytics it is easy to track user behavior on a website. How long are users spending on a website? What pages are users accessing on the website? What buttons are they clicking? Where do they exit the site?

It is important to track analytics to see if the design of a website is drawing users in and getting them to take the intended action or is the design causing confusion and leading users away from the website. Without this valuable information, it is impossible to know if a design is effective.

Above the Website's Fold

This is the section of the website that is above the fold (the first part of the website that users see before they scroll). In this section you have 3 seconds to grab the attention of a user, so it must be succinctly packed with all of the information that someone needs, without being too busy. In this section you need:

  1. Logo
  2. Navigation
  3. Call to Action (CTA)
  4. Headline
  5. Hero 

The logo, main navigation, and CTA can all be in the main header area of your website. This is the bar that people see at the top of evey webpage to tell them who the website is, what they can do, and how they can do it.  This section should be clean, clear, and tell a user exactly what to do.

The hero section of your website is that first main image, illustration, or video clip. This section is important real estate, so you want to use an eye-catching visual that relates to the contents of your website. The hero section will also contain your headline. This is a message that is a line or two long the generally states who you are, what you do, who you serve, and how you help them.

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