When visiting any websites, there are certain things that make the visit a much more pleasurable experience. A website that’s great to visit is one where a visitor doesn’t even really notice the website design itself and focuses on what you want them to focus on – the content that you have to offer.
That’s not to say that getting a good website is some kind of mysterious formula that can’t be pinned down; far from it. There are some basic principles that make a website work well for visitors that should be taken as the basis of the design of any great site.
Colour and contrast
How many times have you visited a website and barely been able to look at the screen due to the bright colours or poor contrast between the background and the text? It’s a common problem, and one that’s often exacerbated by the desire to keep with a company’s chosen colours. While they may look great on uniforms and decor, they may not translate well to the screen.
If you’re wedded to the idea of using your company colours, working with a designer can help to select shades that tone down the assault on the senses and provide contrast that enables the text to be easily read on the screen. However, if you’re going for something that needs to be easily read by most people it helps to stick to black and white or black and yellow to give the best reading experience.
Font face and type
If you’re putting information on your site, you obviously want people to be able to read it. However, getting the colour and contrast right is only part of the battle. Choosing a font face is legible and of a reasonable size will make sure your visitors are able to read what you’re telling them.
Type faces that are “sans serif” such as Arial and Tahoma tend to be more legible than those with them such as Times New Roman. Also, generally speaking, the minimum size for type on a page should be 12 point.
The size of the font can, to some degree, be controlled by the website user by zooming in but this can affect the overall look of the website in other ways by throwing things out of alignment. Having text that is large enough to be read by the majority of people will minimise the amount users have to tinker and therefore alter their experience of your site in ways you can’t control.
While design covers a whole range of things, the layout of the page is one that’s particularly important. Making sure that all the parts of the site you want people to access are clearly accessible from the page on which your visitor lands means you’re more likely to have people clicking from one page to another. This kind of in-site activity is gold for both sales and content circulation purposes.
Using header and side bars gives people easy access to the parts of the site you want them to see. Offering the pages you most want them to visit and those most visited in the most prominent position on the page makes for a seamless experience for visitors and is more likely to win you repeat visits.
Getting a great website is as simple as getting the basics right. Making sure that people can easily read what you’re telling them and navigate to the parts of the site you want them to visit are the cornerstones of good web design. Making a site that is visually appealing and well laid-out is more likely to lead to repeat visits than complex, hard-to-read site that assaults rather than soothes the eye.
An article by Zoe who suggests clicking this link to view a great portfolio of websites.