Improving your website through design

While driving traffic to your website is important, it remains just as important to keep your visitors returning. A visually pleasing, highly usable website will make your visitors come back time and again.

This article will give you some ideas you can implement to help improve the design, colour and readability of your website.

Make your website easy to navigate

The navigation is one of the most powerful tools on your website, it should not be overly complex.

You must keep your navigation simple!

The placement, organisation, font size, and spacing should all be kept as simple as possible.

A breadcrumb trail on your website can be a great tool to assist with navigation. This term comes from the popular fairytale, Hansel and Gretel. It’s a digital visualisation of how a user can track their way back up to the home page. Here’s an example:

Another great way to make your navigation as intuitive as possible is to use a colour to highlight your current location. This gives the user visual feedback to where they are to help prevent them from getting lost.

Use suitable colours

Nothing can influence your website visitors more than its colours. Colours create mood; Used correctly they can excite, inspire and encourage your visitors to dig deeper into your website.

Colour and readability

The best way to show how colours can affect readability is to show you a couple of examples.

Adding white text on a black background:

Here is an example of putting white text on a black background. Although it has contrast which generally speaking is good, reading lots of text like this WILL put a strain on your eyes.

Using two colours with very little contrast between them:

Here’s another example, this time we are using two colours that have very little contrast. This makes the text harder to read and puts the user off even attempting to read this text! Well done if you managed to!

Although there is no ‘perfect’ way of colouring your website, the main point here is to keep your text easy to read! Your visitors won’t stay around for long if they can’t read your content.

These are some good practices you can follow.

  • Use colours to create areas of interest.
  • Maintain colour schemes throughout your website.
  • Keep font sizes above 14px.
  • Use bold and italic to emphasise key points.

 

Fix your fonts / text readability

Text readability is an important aspects of web design usability.  When thinking about your fonts and text readability, consider:

  • Line Height – the space between individual lines of text.
  • Letter Spacing – the spacing between each letter.
  • Line Length – number of words per line.
  • Font Faces – consistency throughout your website.

Lastly, if the text isn’t needed, don’t use it! There’s nothing worse than reading a huge paragraph about something that would take one sentence to explain.

Graphics and images

The cliché saying is that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, this can become extremely true when you want to grab your readers’ attention and enhance your content.

Whether it’s to promote a new product, display your artwork or to further explain what your content is about, they can become invaluable. Including images in your site has been proven to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

Studies show pages that include photos and images attract significantly more visitors than those that don’t.

Be aware!

Copying an image from Google to use on your website could be a copyright infringement and may lead to prosecution.

You must receive consent from the original owner, or use websites such as iStockphoto where you can purchase royalty free images at a small cost.

If you’d prefer not to pay for images, search for royalty free images on Google; there are lots of websites, Creative Commons being one, where you can search through images that are free to use for commercial use.

Taking images from Google is not worth the risk!

In conclusion

Whether you are considering a complete redesign or just want to give your website a refresh, following these simple rules could lead to higher hit rates, more interest, increased SEO and help you achieve your goals.

About Alberon

We have been designing and building bespoke software solutions and websites for organisations in Oxford for over 12 years, helping them to work more effectively and realise their full potential.

Our friendly, highly experienced team of web designers and software developers are dedicated to helping our clients achieve the outcomes they want. From web design and development, to complex software solutions, we apply our creative and technical know-how to deliver the perfect solution.


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