You don't know what you're doing. Ok, maybe you do. But a little karate's a dangerous thing. We blow the hinges off the best kept secrets in DR, and will show you where you're making mistakes and how to correct them FAST.
All things digital are constantly going through changes, trends, and nuances – website design is no different. The website you put forth is a reflection of your brand and your business. Therefore, it’s a key marketing tool. Don’t believe us? You should, but 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. That means if your site isn’t up to par, you could be turning away potential customers to your competitors. And who wants that? Take our advice below to ensure your site is looking fresh and relevant. This way, you’ll turn your visitors into customers, and maybe even brand advocates.
It’s easy to get lost in your platforms design tools, end up with a tweaked version of a template, and not really fulfill the vision you had for your brand. We recommend going old school (for this part at least!) and sketching out exactly what you want to see. Architect the layout, make notes on design, and get all of your ideas out there. Even the bad ones.
If a pen and paper isn’t your thing, type it up, or even prototype it in Photoshop – whatever will help you plan before jumping into the development phase. Then, start a style guide. You may end up playing around with the design and all of its elements when you get to developing, but outlining one will help you see the big picture. Create guidelines for font, imagery, shapes, and more. Then as you update it and it reflects your brand and website’s essence to a T, it will do its job: ensure uniformity. This not only creates the most visually appealing website, but it will help you in the long run if you happen to collaborate with freelancers in the future.
Distracting sidebars, meaningless sliders…you can toss them. Sidebars were meant to help with navigation, but they don’t really add value to the user experience. Getting rid of it will draw your visitors to the most important element of your homepage – the actual content. If the absence of it makes you nervous, you can combine full-width content with an appropriate sidebar. But trust us, everyone has also grown accustom to those three lines in one of the corners to navigate. Now, sliders. Do visitors really find them useful, enticing? We say nay. It’s certainly debatable, but a clean, static image is less redundant and distracting, and allows your visitors to get to the information they’re looking for, be it your hours, products, or history. Which brings us to our overall point: embrace minimalism. Keep your navigation decluttered (whether it’s a sidebar or not!) and guide your visitors to the good stuff. Don’t shy away from whitespace (not necessarily white, but allows your content to breathe) for a straightforward user experience.
Now, we said simple not boring. With all of that space you’re creating, focus is brought to the content. This is where it can become meaningful and impactful by being visually appealing. Use large, web-friendly font, aiming for 18 pt as the smallest, (the importance of readability is not to be underestimated!) and pair it with elevated imagery. There’s no excuse for poor quality stock photos – we are visual creatures, proven by successful marketing. Invest in a premium service or a photographer to elevate your website’s visuals.
Ensuring your website is optimized for mobile is not an option anymore, it’s a requirement. Mobile use for visiting websites continues to grow with no sign of stopping, and we’re betting the younger your demographic is, the more likely they’ll be prospecting your business via their smartphone or tablet. This means creating fluid layouts and optimizing images to enable responsiveness. As technology grows more complex, so does this process, so bringing in a professional isn’t overkill.
Website design takes a little research (that’s why you’re here, right?). If you’re feeling stuck in a workflow or not sure the design is the best it can be, find new tools to ease the process. This can take form in free apps or upgrading to Adobe Animate and Project Comet. Again, you can certainly leave this to the professionals.
Is it just us, or do a lot of new websites look the same these days? Although we’ve been touting some design trends, not all of them will work for your site. Stay true to what your brand and business require (maybe it’s a sidebar!), experiment, see what works, and adapt from there.
We hope these nuggets of wisdom have given you some direction and inspiration. What tips will you adopt to bring your site to the current digital landscape? Whatever you decide, think about the user experience and make it happen!