How hard can create a website be? You have all the elements of the web page, you just put them together and voila, you have yourself a Web Design. You have some pictures, some videos, killer content and just the right colors to represent your brand. What more can anyone ask for?
Well, it turns out that there are a lot of things to consider besides these elements to ensure that your website is as effective and engaging as you think it should be. Making a website that appeals to the users and makes them want to stay longer and keep coming back for more is a complicated matter. You have to make sure that your website is exciting as well as familiar; innovative and creative as well as easy to navigate and remember. And it has to be all these things at the same time if you want it to guide your visitors and convert them into customers.
Thankfully, there are a set of unwritten and unspoken rules or guidelines that can help you make your website user-friendly and engaging. No one speaks of them because almost everyone takes them for granted or just don’t care about them. Here’s the list of guidelines that will help you give your customers what they want and expect while being as creative and as innovative as you want.
Here are Rules of Web Design
THE LOGO GOES ON THE TOP LEFT
Everyone knows that the website is incomplete without the logo. No matter how good it is, no matter how much innovation and creativity you have used to build it. If it doesn’t have the logo, it will always fall short. This much we can all agree on.
What most people don’t know is that there is a reason why the logo designs are always displayed on the top left corner of the page. We just take it for granted, and if someone is highly innovative, they might choose to change its location.
You can display your logo, front, and center on a landing page, but on every other page, it should be in its place of the top left of the page. The thing is to give visitors consistency and normalcy. People expect your logo to be in that place. If you place your logo at the top left in some pages and some other position in other pages, it might confuse your visitors and give them the wrong idea about you.
I have seen some sites where they tried to tuck the logo at the bottom of the page. What it accomplished was to decrease the visibility of the logo. You don’t even know that your visitor will scroll to the bottom of the page. They might find what they are looking for at the top, or in the middle and leave.
KEEP THE LOGIN AT THE TOP RIGHT
It’s the same concept as the logo. Increase familiarity. No matter which website you visit, you will always find the login section at the top right of the page. Whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, or any other website. It happens like this so users can easily find the login section as soon as they enter your website. Also, it shows the visitors early on that there is more to your website than meets the eye and that they should log in to explore your website more.
Some websites have the sign-up feature in the middle of the page, and that is alright just as long as there is a login section at the top right too. New users can use the option in the middle to create their new accounts and old users, who are accustomed to logging in at the top right can follow their routine practices and reach their dashboard quickly.
KEEP A SEARCH OPTION HANDY
There are a lot of websites that have this option, but there are a lot of websites that don’t. This directly affects your website’s user-friendliness. No need to replace your navigation menu with the search option; generally represented by the symbol of a magnifying glass. You can have them both up there. When someone clicks on the magnifying glass, a pop up expands so they can search for the term that they want.
This helps your visitors look for whatever they want as quickly as possible. No one wants to spend time on a website searching for their product. They would rather be done with it as soon as possible. If they find what they are looking for, the chances are high that they will return again and spend more time on your website.
WHAT SHOULD THE ‘ABOUT’ SECTION BE ABOUT?
People usually don’t give much thought to their website’ about’ section. It is just something where you give your basic information to your clients. What most people and web designers don’t know is that your about section can be so much more than that.
Studies have found that visitors interact with websites more when they have more information about the company, its employees, and its core values and principles. Adding a section with your employee’s headshots and their personal information can really enhance your website’s credibility and inspire trust in your customers.
Don’t just give the information to your visitors, instead talk to them. It will help your customers relate to you more. So, next time when you update or write your “About” section, make sure to include all your cats in the photo or give details about the hobbies you enjoy at home.
WHERE SHOULD THE CONTACT INFORMATION BE?
Just like the “About” section, the “Contact” section is another important feature of your website. But instead of the start of the page or the top of the page, it should be at the bottom.
Make sure that you give more than one way for people to contact you. Give your physical address, a google map, phone number, email address and other ways of communication. According to studies, 64% of the people who visit your site check out the contact information and 44% of visitors leave the page if they do not find the phone number. So ensure that the contact section is easily locatable and that all the information is correct.
Another reason why this section is so important is that when people don’t find authentic contact information or missing contact information on a website, they will never order anything from it. If something goes wrong, or if they want to ask some questions, who will help them? So make sure that your contact information removes any doubt that your website visitors might have.
HELP SHOULD ALWAYS BE CLOSE
Suppose some of your visitors get lost in the bevy of pages that your website has and they want to go back to the top, or if they want to make a purchase but are stuck on what to do. This is when they need your help the most.
You can help them by making the help symbol accessible to them or by linking to your support page.
Another way you can help your customers is to give contextual tips and notes at different stages of the entire process.
A good way of making sure that help is always accessible is to make a help sidebar that floats so that it is always in the visitor’s view and completely accessible.
Another way is to display short animated explainer videos at every stage of the process so there is no ambiguity in the visitors’ minds. Studies state that people are more inclined to make a purchase if there are videos on the page explaining everything to them.
You can add the frequently asked questions on that page and add a contact form for the questions and queries that are not addressed. This will tell the visitors that you are doing your utmost to help them out and that you are genuine.
A lot of websites have a chatbot icon or a picture somewhere on the page. That is a good way of communicating with the customer. They can easily ask for the information that they want and get an immediate reply.
A PROMINENT NAVIGATION BAR AT THE TOP
Two types of users land on your pages. One who is just browsing and want to check out what you have to offer, and second the ones who already know what they want and they think you can provide it to them. For the first kind, make sure that your homepage is inviting enough to attract them and keep them for a longer time.
For the second type of people, it is crucial to have the navigation bar at the top of the page, where it is visible. They already know what they are looking for and they want to get to it fast. They will always use your navigation bar to orient themselves with your website. Keep your navigation bar or its icon at the top of the page, preferably near the search icon.
Don’t try to be innovative with the language used in the navigation bar. Let’s call a spade a spade. Keep the words clear and understandable. Your visitors do not need the hassle of trying to guess what you mean by the words written there.
NAVIGATION AT THE BOTTOM
Why do you think you should have a navigation section at the bottom of the page if you have already put the navigation bar at the top?
The answer is simple. This happens because you don’t put all your website’s links in the top bar. You only put the information that most of the visitors look for. The navigation section at the bottom is different. It contains links to every webpage you have on the website. So if a user doesn’t want to interact with your navigation bar and its menus and sub-menus, they can easily go to the bottom and check out the navigation map that you have pasted there.
Remember to add a button or an icon to the top of the page.
The navigation section at the bottom will also help your visitors when they have gone to another page and want to find their way back.
More than 60% of the people who use the internet, do it via a hand-held device like a smartphone or a tablet. When Custom Website Design for your Business, keep in mind that a big ratio of your customers will be doing that. So make your website accordingly.
Nothing irritates a visitor more than a website where they have to scroll multiple times to view the website. A lot of people immediately leave the page when they see that it is not optimized for mobile devices. And you can’t blame them. Who wants to spend a lot of time navigating and scrolling through the pages until they find what they are looking for?
It also speaks to the customers about your brand’s lack of seriousness, which you know it’s not. So, why should your brand be perceived as one? Make your site mobile responsive to ensure that the majority of the internet using people have access to you, your brand, and your products and services.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AESTHETICS
No matter how functional your website is, if it is not pleasing to look at the visitors will not stay. Most visitors decide to stay or not to stay on your page based on how your website looks. It is imperative that your website looks appealing enough while being functional. The aesthetics will make the visitor want to stay and the functionality will increase their trust. Some ways you can do that is to use the proper colors, include proper CTAs, and have enough white space among other things.
This doesn’t mean that every great website follows all these rules. The thing here is to give the visitors what they are looking for. They look for creativity while expecting familiarity. You have to create the perfect balance between the two if you want your audience to interact with you the way you want them to.