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Website Design 101

Website Design 101

By | 11.29.12
Website Design 101

Every waking moment our senses are overloaded with visual and auditory stimuli. Some of the things vying for our attention are understandable and worth our time, while others are jumbled and confusing. You can make your website more effective by observing three easy rules: create less noise, make clickable elements obvious, and create a visual hierarchy.

Create Less Noise

Most people have a low tolerance for distractions and visual complexity. Think about keeping your websites user friendly by keeping the pages simple. Easy to read and understand pages make a better point to your customers than large blinking text, bright colors, and exclamation points everywhere. And speaking of noise, if you have video or audio elements on your site, don’t set them to auto-play. Nothing will chase people away faster than unexpected noise.

Example of overly stimulating website.

Make Clickable Elements Obvious

When landing on a website, most visitors will scan it quickly while trying to figure out what to do next. You can make this decision easier for them by creating easily identifiable clickable elements, like “View Full Story”. These can even be calls to action, like “Donate Now”, or “Email Us”. Don’t make the user think about something as mindless as a clickable element. By making these elements obvious, it is possible to increase conversion rates and leads. In keeping it simple, be sure to limit the number of calls to action on each page to a minimum.

Create a Visual Hierarchy

Visual cues are vital to our everyday lives because they relate to us the order of importance. On a webpage, the most important things are usually the most prominent. For example, important headings are typically larger, bolder, a different color, or otherwise set apart.

Visual cues are also helpful for organizing information into meaningful chunks. For example, you can visually group items that are related by listing them under a header or giving them a similar visual style. You can also visually nest items together, such as listing several titles under the main heading of “Children’s Books.”

A successful visual hierarchy organizes content in a way that the user can quickly navigate and process without much thought.

Forcing users to think about and wade through a poorly designed page can eat away at their patience. This can lead to a loss of leads and conversion rates. Keeping the site simple with less noise, obvious clickable elements, and a clear visual hierarchy will help your website design and keep it user friendly.

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