When designing your website there are numerous things to think about; your audience, branding and colour scheme are just a few points of consideration but no matter who your target audience is or the purpose of your website, it all boils down to the user experience.
These five simple points are easily overlooked in favour of all the latest bells and whistles but when missed could in fact result in losing an audience by not including these five website essentials.
All users have a need for speed online. Whether you’re on a desktop connected to your home Wi-Fi or on your mobile connected to 3G, the speed of your website can send your bounce rate soaring! No one wants to wait for a website to load, certainly if you work in the digital world. Therefore it needs to be instantaneous. There are many ways to do this; you could develop mobile-first or use one of the multiple plug-ins available to help your content load quicker on mobiles such as Foundation or Bootstrap. However its not just about being efficient on mobile, you need to make sure your pages load quickly for desktop too. Lazy load functions only allow small amounts of content to be brought in at a time, stopping those long load times that you get on some websites. An example of this is a Twitter newsfeed; it will display a certain amount of updates until you scroll to the bottom of the page prompting it to load more.
Long gone are the days of bright and loud animations on every page virtually screaming at you to click links. Now, you would barely notice the smooth and simple animations that subtly make the experience of a website rather enjoyable. Parallax scrolling has really taken off in the past few months and can seen in our latest Last Week’s Clever Campaigns blog, as Mercedes used Parallax scrolling incredibly to convey their message. The idea is that it allows a number of elements to scroll at different speeds, resulting in a fantastic interactive site for the user. Combine this with some subtle and simple fade affects on different elements and you are on to a winner.
Keep it Social
With platforms like Twitter and Facebook allowing the average user to connect and even chat with any big brand you need to keep the personal touch available on your website. Make sure you have links to your Twitter, Facebook page, Google+ and other social platforms available clearly on your website. This shows the public you aren’t just a website, but that you are also active on the web and available to contact quickly. Regardless, keep it professional, no one wants to see the 25 pictures of your cat you post daily and remember a private personal account that way you always maintain a professional face – even when your best friend posts your baby pictures on your Facebook wall.
Have a Colour Palette
The best websites try to keep their colour palette simple, using mostly whites and greys and variations of a brand colour. Obviously, there are the exceptions but you don’t want to go overboard a simple colour scheme with a well-chosen brand colour will always look professional.
Use the Space You Have
Nothing grabs a user’s attention more than a high quality full width photograph or image as your landing page background. By using the full width of a page desktop it can provide a makeover for a website. The image grabs the user’s attention instantly giving them one clear call to action rather than overloading the user with text rich websites.
Over to you.
What do you think? What other elements do you consider when creating your site?