Good website design tips -six guidelines

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A good experience for your visitors -website design tips!

Good website design don’t need to be as complicated as it sounds. Even if you use WordPress templates there are some guidelines to bear in mind. You can almost always change things by customizing your template and style. Most templates are created to follow conventions for websites and that is a good thing. I will tell you more about that later on in this post.

To help you get a design that supports usability I will describe 6 guidelines to be taken into account. I have chosen to mention factors that influence the readability and also how to design your page to support users to understand and find things on your website.

good website design

Readability guidelines

Headlines
Use headlines that guide your readers. The headline should give a hint about the content. It also will be easier for your readers to find what they are trying to find on your website.

Descriptive link names

Descriptive link names are exactly what it sounds like. The links, like the headlines should guide your readers. It’s not fun to click on a link that just says “click here”. It better to say what it’s all about, like “read more in
this post about website usability”.

Support scanning

Most people don’t read the content of a webpage. They scan it. That means they look for words, images or phrases that interest them. If they find out what they are looking for they will probably find out more and stay for a while. I do this all the time. It makes it a lot easier to find what I look for and I can “read” a lot of content in a short time. If the content supports scanning…

Use colors wisely

Colors are wonderful and make us happy, or? When it comes to readability there are some simple rules: light text on dark background or the other way around. You get the highest readability when writing black text on white background. It might sound boring to know that but it will help your readers to read your content!

Page design guidelines

Signs and clues

Use signs and clues to guide your readers in your site. Ensure that it’s obvious what is clickable and what is not. You can find out when you do usability testing. You can compare with a city, where street signs tell you where to go and helps you get your way. It’s the same on a website. Signs should be easy to find and the meaning should be clear. Like “comment here” or “follow future posts” and also that buttons look like buttons (things you can click on) and also that links looks like links. Use categories to help your readers to find relevant content.

Conventions

Conventions are called that for a reason. When you are using a computer, for example, you expect the keyboard to look in a certain way and the same goes for the mouses and screen. There are conventions for websites too:

  • Logo in the upper left corner.
  • Titel on the top of the page.
  • Navigation (menu) mainly across the top of the page or to the left (or right).
  • Content to the right.
  • Hamburger icon is often used for menus in mobile sites or apps.
  • Here is also clues important: a shopping chart looks like chopping chart. A trash can like a trash can and so on.
  • Fields for address and other information, comments and so on looks similar on most sites.
  • Buttons should look like buttons and links like links (underscore and often blue).
  • Links should change when you hover over them with your mouse pointer.

These are some things I think you should not change, people are used to it and if it’s radically different they might not know what to do and leave your website.

I hope this is helpful for you! Most of the templates have the navigation guidelines in mind. But in some cases you can do a lot of changes, do it wisely and your readers will love it:-)

Do you know more things that are important to have a good design on a website? Please leave a comment below!

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10 thoughts on “Good website design tips -six guidelines”

  1. Can I be honest with you?

    I like your website. The way you post and write is great. Makes it really easy to read and navigate.

    But, my personal opinion the sidebar seems too big to me. I do not like how it bumps your page and content off to the side. It might just be the way I see everything and prefer everything to be ascetically pleasing. I know it is just your theme choice, but for me I like everything to be lined up in the center. Helps my eyes!

    1. Hi and thank you! Of course I appreciate an honest comment about my site. I haven’t thought about it myself but I can see what you mean, on some screens the content area become narrow and not the main thing on the page. It’s not a problem on phones, but I guess laptops might. I will ask some people to have a look and see how they react when looking at the page.

  2. Excellent help. Sometimes I want to make my site look ‘different’ from the competition or do something cutesy to it. It’s good to know that the basics work and when I think about it, I get confused when visiting others websites and their content is all over the place. It’s too much work to find things. I’ll stick to the tried and true as well and make my content be the focus!

    1. Hi! I also feel that way sometimes, that I wan’t to create something fun and creative. But as your conclusion is here: when the site is up and things are working, it’s great to focus on the content and the value for the readers. Thank you very much for this comment:)

  3. This is a great article. I’m actually second-guessing how my blog is and if I should go through it all to make it a little more user friendly. The part about your readers ‘skimming’ through the page is most worrisome as I feel my text sort of blends together too well.

    I took a lot of value from this. Thank you!

    – Nehpets

    1. I think these things are important to know about and with some improvement we also can keep our readers long enough to give them some value. They might also like what they see and come back:) I had a look at your latest post and I think it’s excellent that you use images the way you do, but your page could use some more headlines to if it’s ok that I say so. Thank you for your comment!

  4. This is one of the things that I am still learning more about. I’d like to learn how to design a logo for my website soon, unless it’s not necessary.

    1. Hi! A logo is a part of your brand. I don’t have a logo yet either but I think it’s a great way to be recognized. Now I just try to use my name and picture the same way on all social media to build my brand. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Hello Kerlund, thanks for your informative post. I enjoy reading fonts that do not force me to ‘squint to be able to make out’ what is written. I too like dark colours, (colors) on light background. Your font size and colour is ‘just up my street’ for readability. I know that is a personal view, and what looks good to one may not to another.

    Like you, I am at the’ just building it stage’ so anything ‘fancy’ is out at the present time, maybe in the future once I have the confidence and knowledge for it. My main aim is contents and ease of read-ability and access for my visitors. The rest will come later.

    Thanks for reminding me to keep the main thing, ‘the main thing’.

    1. Hi and thank you for your comment. Glad to hear that my most is making sense to you and that you see the importance of focusing on content, readability and also usability

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