Website Design Basics / Usability

Good website design cannot be understated. But good design without good usability is wasted. You can have the best-looking website on the internet but if it is hard to use then visitors will become frustrated and go elsewhere, and search engines will probably not rank it.


So when planning a website you need to first set out what your end goal is. What do you want the website to do? Obviously, the first thing that comes to most business owners’ minds is “make sales, ” but you have to dig a little deeper than that. Yes, that is the ultimate goal if you are a sales business, but maybe instead you might think well I need to engage people's interest and quickly.


Thanks to smartphones and tablets the average web user’s attention span have fallen from 12 seconds to eight, so research shows us, some put it as low as four. Putting that into context you need to engage your audience quickly and easily. But don’t be fooled that is not all about a big visual impact.


A design that is too heavy on images and videos can cause, if not coded correctly, the website to load slowly meaning that four to eight-second attention span just got burnt and you lost them before they even landed eye or thumb on your site. In the same way, no visual content can make the website boring and less engaging. 


You also have to plan for content depending upon the screen size it is going to appear on. Content viewed on a laptop or desk computer can easily navigate lots of small normal size font text, images, and videos but when you think about the same content view on a mobile phone it would be cumbersome, or from a smart TV, the text would be too small.


A lot of website design templates and content management systems can factor these elements in and a good web design company should as standard advice on this and code your website to be responsive to not only the device but also the browser the website is viewed on.


One of the best pieces of advice for deciding on a website design and thinking about usability is to find a few websites you like, ones you like using in a business or personal context. Try these out on several different devices and ask yourself what it is you like about these sites. If using a web design company then make this list of sites and reasons you like them available to them. If going it alone choose a website template or content management system/host that provides you with the flexibility to create a site similarly and try out various designs until you find one you like. Then test the hell out of it to make sure it is user-friendly and get your colleagues, customers, and friends to do the same also.




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