How To Build A Purposeful Website

There is no explicit set of “web design qualities”. This is because every website, and its website design serves its own unique purpose. 

However, there are fundamental web design principles that are relevant and must be considered by all new websites in order to design a site that delivers quality UX (user experience), that communicates information clearly, and engages its users. These principles range from Graphic Design, to SEO (ranking in Search Engines), and everything between to ensure your website establishes a positive brand image and your website does exactly what it was intended to. 

I would recommend you to initially understand your own website’s purpose before beginning the design process. Then follow this guide of principles in any website design for success. Tailor the success measures of the site based on its purpose, e.g. number of sales, number of users, or ads revenue, etc.

Web Design Principle 1. Visual Design

If your business has been provided with a style guide by a Graphic Designer, then stick to your brand’s style guide for consistency of your brand image across your business. For those of you that don’t have a style guide, or are not graphic designers, here are some considerations for better results:

Simplicity

The over-designed website may not work. Putting too many elements on the page may lead to distracting visitors from the main purpose of your website. Simplicity always works. Clean and fresh design of your website not only makes the website appealing but also helps the user to navigate between and find useful content and pages more easily. Unnecessary design features that do not serve the purpose will lead to your visitors dropping off the page. Keep your design as simple as possible, so that the visitors can feel it easy-to-use and can find their way.

Consistency

Consistency in website design matters. Give attention to matching design elements throughout each of the pages. It can be understood that your fonts, sizes, headings, sub-headings, and button styles must be the same throughout the website. This is why planning everything in advance is vital. Finalise the fonts and the right colors for your texts, and buttons, and stick to them throughout the design process. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) would come in handy to keep the complete information about design styles and elements.

Typography and Readability

No matter how good your design is, text still rules the website as it provides users the desired information. Since search engine crawlers are very much familiar with this data, it becomes an integral part of SEO activities. You should keep your typography visually appealing, light, and readable for visitors. Be sure to consider the use of keywords, meta-data, and other SEO-sensitive elements.
Use fonts that are easier to read such as modern sans-serif fonts like Arial, or Helvetica for the body texts. Make necessary combinations of typefaces for each and every design element such as headlines, body texts, buttons, etc.

Colour Palette and Imagery

A perfect color combination attracts users while a poor combination can lead to distraction. A good use of colours can build a pleasing atmosphere, thus leaving a good impact on visitors and giving a balanced-look to your website design. Remember to use white spaces as they avoid your website from visual clutter and mess. Also, avoid using too many colors. 3 or 4 tones for the whole website are ample to give an appealing and clear design.


The same is the case with images. Avoid using dissimilar styles and colours.Use fonts that are easier to read such as modern sans-serif fonts like Arial, or Helvetica for the body texts. Make necessary combinations of typefaces for each and every design element such as headlines, body texts, buttons, etc.

Web Design Principle 2. Communication

The ultimate purpose for visitors is to get information. If your website is able to communicate effectively, there is a greater chance that users will stay on there for longer, and find the information they were after. 

Notable tips include: 

  • Organising information with good use of headlines and subheadlines (heading tags are very important for SEO as well!)
  • Use short and simple sentences
  • Make the information relevant
  • Use bullet points where possible
  • Clear and simple navigation in menus and links


The same is the case with images. Avoid using dissimilar styles and colours.Use fonts that are easier to read such as modern sans-serif fonts like Arial, or Helvetica for the body texts. Make necessary combinations of typefaces for each and every design element such as headlines, body texts, buttons, etc.

Web Design Principle 3. Compatability

Keeping in mind the ever-growing usage of smartphones, tablets, and phablets, web design must be effective for various screens. If your website design doesn’t support all screen sizes, the chance is that you’ll lose the battle to your competitors. Most website design software will allow you to edit for multiple devices.

Web Design Principle 4. Site Load Speed

No one likes the website that takes too much time to load. So, take care of it by optimizing image sizes, combining code into a central CSS or JavaScript file as it reduces HTTP requests. Also, compress HTML, JavaScript, and CSS for enhanced loading speed.

Web Design Principle 5. Site Navigation

Study shows that visitors stay more time on the websites having easy navigation. For effective navigation, you may consider creating a logical page hierarchy, using breadcrumbs, and designing clickable buttons. You should follow the “three-click-rule” so that visitors can get any required information within three clicks.

Web Design Principle 6. SEO

So, you have created a website that functions for its intended purpose, but this is only half of the battle. You need visitors to convert sales, or in order deliver the information that you have available on your site.
Here are some starting tips to developing your website’s SEO. This ensures that your site will have some visibility online and users will find your website. 

SEO is something that has quantitative measures of success. You can observe your search term rankings improve with changes over time, as well as online impressions, and search traffic. This is a long-term strategy that every website should always invest in.

Other methods of obtaining users include Social Media Marketing, or Search Engine Marketing. These alternative methods can range in cost and time input, but it is important to diversify your source of traffic to ensure your website is safeguarded from any changes to the digital landscape.

Summary

I hope these tips will help you in the design of your next site, and realise these important considerations of design. 

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