The name of your website and its content can bring in page views. But if your site’s design doesn’t lend itself to a smooth viewing experience, it won’t matter how many bells and whistles you have. What you won’t have is viewers. Your design is as important as your name and content. And not just background colors either. Today’s website design elements include navigation, dropdowns and scrolling items. To design a great website, these elements need to work seamlessly with the images and content of your site. Some of the best website design seems the simplest. But that’s the beauty of it. A design that leads to an easy, enjoyable user experience is always a winner.
Make Navigation Smooth and Easy
One of the biggest drawbacks a website can have is frustrating navigation. You want the user to easily be able to switch between the homepage and subpages and back again. If that user can’t find easy links to your inside pages and then a click to get back home, they will get lost, frustrated and, eventually, gone from the site altogether. You have a variety of options on where to place your navigation buttons including classic side navigation and top navigation. Once you settle on a location, the importance shifts to what navigation terms you will use. These are typically one or two words that describe the section that the link leads to. Navigation items should not extend off the page and require left or right scrolling. In the best website design, everything should be easily found when a user first sees the website.
Don’t Be Afraid to Scroll
A few years ago, a study reported that 81 percent of subjects never scrolled down a web page, viewing only the content visible on the home page. The area that appears when you first visit a webpage is considered above the ‘page fold’. The term is an homage to the old print newspaper days when the most important information was placed in the top fold of the paper so it appeared in the newsstand window. Most websites, rightly, place the most important information above this ‘page fold.’ But there is no longer the need to confine everything to that window. Today’s web user is no longer simply looking for quick content. They can find that on social media. Longer form content has found a home on the web so it’s OK to let a story flow down below the page fold. Where times have changed is what accompanies the scrolling content. Years ago, a story that scrolled down would be surrounded by whitespace. Now, you can insert pertinent videos and audio clips as well as hyperlinks to similar content within your site. There is a future below the page fold and designers are utilizing it.
Designing for Success
Make sure give your design the importance it deserves. Don’t simply focus on content or a snappy name. Utilize the best website design possible to make the user experience as smooth and seamless as possible. Then, that user will keep coming back. And so will their friends.