The Anatomy of an Effective & Efficient Website
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 by Bruce Shank
Ten Good Website Design Practices
Not every website will be able to adhere to all of the good practices. Different websites have different purposes, but in general most of these practices should be present in every website design.
- Simple Is Best
Simplicity usually works in an effective web page design. Be careful not to use too many elements on your landing page. This may lead to distracting visitors from the main purpose of your website. Clean and fresh design makes your website appealing and helps the user to navigate from one page to another seamlessly. Keep your design, including the navigation of your site, as simple and easy-to-use as possible.
- Website Purpose (Communication)
The ultimate purpose of the visitors is to get information, and if your website can communicate with your visitors efficiently, most probably they would spend more time on your site. Organizing information by making good use of headlines and sub-headlines is a great way to display your information. Avoid long gusty sentences. Use shorter sentences and sometimes bullet points are effective.
Your website needs to accommodate the needs of the user. Having a simple clear intention on all pages helps the user interact with what you have to offer. What is the main purpose of your website? What do you do? What do you want the user to do? Make these easy for the user to grasp.
An effective website design has both great design and great content. Great content can attract and influence visitors. Readability is a key element in web design. Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood. Make sure your copy is easy to read and easy to understand. Have at least 300 words of content on each appropriate page. There is a fine line between keeping it simple and having enough text on your site. Grammar and spelling are important. Flawless copy makes you look professional. Read and Reread your copy. High quality content is easy to read and suitable for scanning by Search Engines.
Font style and size play an important role on your website. They command attention and work as the visual interpretation of your brands voice. Typefaces should be legible, and you should use a maximum of 3 different fonts on the website. Since search engine crawlers are very familiar with this data, it becomes an integral part of SEO activities. Consider using fonts that are easy to read. Stick with your font choice throughout the website. Font size needs to be appropriate, not too large and not too small. They need to be readable especially on handheld devices.
Imagery includes still photography, illustration, video, and all forms of graphics. All imagery should be expressive and capture the spirit of you site. Most of the initial information we consume on websites is visual, and as a first impression, it is important that high quality images are used. High quality images form an impression of professionalism and credibility. For faster loading, remember to optimize your image size. Celebration Web Designs EZ-CMS management system helps with optimizing images.
Color has the power to communicate messages and evoke emotional responses. Finding a color palette that fits your brand will allow you to influence your visitor’s behavior. Sometimes the colors which we like, might not be liked by others. There is often a tradeoff between colors we like and colors that are widely liked by others. It is important to make sure that the colors you choose are well-liked by others. Keep color choices to a minimum: too many colors are distracting. Keep the coloring scheme consistent throughout. Remember you are building your site for visitors, make sure your site is pleasing to look at.
Eye tracking studies have shown that much of what people see is in the top and left area of the screen. The F’ shaped layout mimics our natural reading pattern in the West. An effective designed website will work with a reader’s natural pattern of scanning the page. Grids can help when structuring your design. They can help keep it clean and keep your content organized. The grid helps to align elements on the page. The grid-based layout arranges content into a clean rigid structure with columns, sections that line up and feel balanced impose order in an aesthetically pleasing website. Remember most peoples’ eyes will skip the banner before scanning the page. The banner can help set the tone of the website but don’t put critical content in it.
Navigation is the way your visitors interact and find what they are looking for on your site. Website navigation is key to retaining visitors. If the websites navigation is confusing visitors will give up and find what they need elsewhere. Keeping navigation simple, intuitive, and consistent on every page is key. Studies show that visitors stay longer when websites are easy to navigate. Remember to follow the “three-click-rule” so visitors are able to obtain the information they need with as few clicks as possible. A max of three is a good rule to follow. Often repeating a link to your most important content is effective. The CWD teams often includes a menu item, text and button link from your home page for the most important items.
- Mobil Compatibility
Keep in mind the ever-growing usage of smartphones and tablets. Web design must be efficient and effective for all of your pages. If your website is not responsive, and does not support all screen sizes, the chance is that you will lose visitors and certainly you will not be indexed well by search engines.
- Loading (Time)
Waiting for a website to load can lead to losing visitors. Nearly half of web visitors expect a site to load in 2 or 3 seconds or less. In most cases they may not wait and will leave your site if loading time is greater than 2 or 3 seconds. Using good judgment and design elements when creating your site is essential.
Thought For Today
Standing Up For Your Faith
Excerpt taken from a Feb. 6, 1968, speech in Washington, D.C.
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it political?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where do we stand? Are we often afraid to say what is right, to say what we believe because it is not politically correct? The more we allow Jesus to control our lives, the more we are able to take a stand for what is right, whether it is politically correct, popular or safe. Let’s not worry about what our culture says we should say or do. Let’s pursue a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord and allow Him to control what we say and do.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 ESV
Bruce is a graduate of Philadelphia University and has been working in the IT world for over 35 years. His experience ranges from programmer to president of Finpac Corporation, a software design firm. He is currently president of Celebration Web Design by SKWD Associates, LLC. Celebration Web Design is dedicated to designing, developing and hosting websites for ministries, businesses and non-profit organizations. Bruce is always looking for the opportunity to partner with others seeking to further God’s Kingdom.