The internet has become a very crowded place. Even the most original idea can get lost in the digital sea of content. A new website or application needs to have every element of their webpage to perform seamlessly in order to guarantee that all users will have a worthwhile browsing experience. This is a serious task, because even the smallest detail can make the difference between a 20-second visit and a 15-minute one. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up during the designing process of my application, Insticator.
Tips for how to be successful in design
1. Ensure the Design is User Friendly
First and foremost, you must ensure that your design is consistent and that your website is both easy to find and to navigate. No one wants to visit a webpage that has ten different fonts and an image overload. Second, always be conscious of the size of the content in comparison to the size of the website. People love to scroll; it adds a subtle interactive aspect to web reading, but there is no reason a user should ever have to scroll horizontally. It’s messy, unprofessional looking, and an unnecessary hindrance to someone who is trying to engage with a website. This disaster can be avoided if your website is designed to fit the screen properly.
Font is also imperative to hooking a new user. When choosing a font, always keep in mind that it should be common enough to reach a universal audience. Specialized fonts may not show up on some browsers, which will unnecessarily alienate a potential client base. Your font should also be large enough so that people don’t have to squint or enlarge their screens to read. Additionally, it is essential to have the color of your font contrast with your website’s background. This will dramatically increase the readability.
3. Make Your Content Simple to Skim
A wordy, crowded webpage is guaranteed to get passed over extremely quickly on a web surfer’s first visit. Web surfers have astoundingly short attention spans. A website has 10- 20 seconds to engage a user before they move on. If your content isn’t both engaging and concise, then you may have to reevaluate your strategy. Longer content is fine for inner-pages because the reader’s interest has been peaked enough to read more.
4. Make Your Website’s or App’s Purpose Clear
You created a website for a reason and the main goal is to ensure that users are always aware of what kind of website they are browsing. Imagine running a website dedicated to cooking that also contains information for equestrian enthusiasts. Without an organized purpose, the different topics would become muddled and a user would probably spend very little time digging for the information they were originally seeking (the exception being if they were deeply interested in how equestrians plan their daily meals).
When people come across Insticator, I always want them to be aware that they are on a website that is fully devoted to television. We may cover many different genres of TV, but, at the end of the day, our goal is all about the users’ engagement with the small screen. This is apparent on every page of the application and is sure to keep any TV lover invested in the website for more time.
5. Make It Easy to Navigate
When a user comes across a website for the first time, they, rightfully, expect to browse easily between the homepage and the website’s inner pages. A new user will not waste time trying to figure out a complicated navigation system. Make your navigation bar noticeable and simple. It should stand out in contrast to any of the content pages, since it will act as the gateway to all the pages of your website. It is also a good idea to avoid too much clutter on your navigation bar. Sure, your website has a lot of cool bells and whistles that you want to show off, but there is no reason to display every single feature on your website as a navigation tool. Always keep in mind that clutter is a huge turn-off.
6. Your Website Needs to Be Fast
Remember when your mother told you the story about the tortoise and the hare? Well, forget that. When it comes to website functionality, slow and steady never wins any races. Your website should never take more than 10 seconds to load. Ideally any page should load under 6 seconds, any longer and you’ll lose a user before they even get to see the homepage.
Using a website or app should never be a tedious task and if you follow the guidelines provided, you should be well on your way to launching a successful and attractive website. The last piece of advice I offer to anyone launching a website is that, no matter what, you need to be passionate about the subject matter. It is your passion for the project that will fuel your need for perfection, and the rest will fall into place.