Web design plays a vital role in a site’s performance and success. This is the reason why graphics designers should strive to ensure the website’s design is practical, brilliant and suits its purpose. Most designers however fail to achieve this, hence the reason there are many unresponsive and hard-to-use website’s all over the internet, several decades after the internet was invented. Even though most of the target audience and viewers aren’t experts, they can tell what is good and what’s not. Website design does matter a lot in both the business’ success and rankings on major search engines.
Several aspects and factors therefore have to be considered or adhered to for a website design to be on point and efficient.
Some of these factors that should be taken note of are:
1. Responsive Web Design
With many people using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet, most websites need to be redesigned to enable mobile viewing. Designing both desktop and mobile websites for one website is too much a task for most developers, which is the reason why responsive web design is recommended. Responsive web design makes it easy for a website to be accessed on various screen resolutions without distorting. Scaling also makes it possible for mobile users to access the website and navigate comfortably without struggling.
2. Software Prototyping
This is vital especially when designing a website that is intended for heavy use. The best thing with software prototyping is that you get to run the website and manipulate a few aspects here and there and even test it before it goes live. Once you are through with the design (and maybe the client has approved it), you can then export the code elements to the actual layout for final touches and implementation.
Many web designers prefer using preset templates as a basis for the design. Although this may be tempting, it’s advisable to focus on creating something unique with a different look and feel, especially for the brand (if it is a corporate design). You can also use the templates to give you an idea of what needs to be done, though reinvent a totally new template for each project.
4. Understand/Know the Target Audience/Market
Many designers start designing a website off their minds without thinking about their marketplace or even researching about the same. This is the reason there are thousands of sites that have an almost similar design and idea. Some research is required even for the marketplaces or audiences that are already accustomed to. This gives you some ideas on how to design something unique different but very practical.
5. Loading speeds
How long the website takes to load matters a lot in every web design. Certain features in web design such as flash content, videos and imagery have a huge impact on the site’s loading speed. Unlike a few years ago when users could weight for 8 seconds for a page to load, this has dropped to a staggering 3-second rule. Any website that takes longer than that gets the boot, meaning it won’t serve the customers or audience targeted. Some of the best ways of increasing load speeds in the website include cleaning any junk on the home page and use short/simple code. Upgrading servers may also help increase loading speeds.
Stress testing the website and validating its performance, appearance and usability is highly recommended as well. It is by stress testing the code and other aspects that you can be sure that the site is indeed as it should be. Try accessing the site using a mobile phone with the lowest resolution to see how it performs. If anyone (including a 5 year old) can navigate through the site (through a tablet or phone), you can then be certain it will be responsive this time.