Web design is important. Recent studies show that online visitors decide within seconds whether to stay on your website or leave it immediately.
Good web design is more than just decoration. Good web design is a decisive success factor for the company website and ultimately for the entire company. If web design is so important, how do you decide whether the design of your company website is of high quality?
Good web design is user-friendly
The classic design rule “form follows function” also applies to web design. Every element of a website should be designed in such a way that it not only appeals to the eye, but also optimally fulfils its function.
The web design should structure the contents of the site in a meaningful way and make navigation easier for the visitors. Eye-tracking studies can help to position the usual basic elements on the page in a practical way in order to make navigation as intuitive as possible. According to the so-called “F-Schema”, the view of the average user begins in the upper left corner of the page and moves horizontally to the right corner. Then he goes back to the left and moves to the right again. Finally, the user scans the left side of the screen from top to bottom. Based on these insights, the basic elements of a web page should be arranged. Thus, the logo can usually be found in the upper left corner of the page and the navigation menu in the upper area. The so-called Hero-Shot (with the core statement) is generally found in the middle.
The usability of a page is not only determined by the layout
Other graphic elements, such as typography and color palette, are just as important for a successful homepage. Both elements should be selected in accordance with the overall corporate identity. But it is also important to choose the right font size and to maximize the contrast between text and background. Since the visual strength of the user and the quality of the monitors vary greatly, the difference between text and background color should be as clear as possible. The tried and tested black on white is usually the best.
The organisation of the white space is also crucial to achieve the right look and feel. When it comes to web design, less is usually really more. The white space gives the reader the opportunity to breathe deeply and prioritise the content. In addition, minimalist websites nowadays look particularly professional and chic.
Good web design is technically flawless
When talking about good web design, it’s not just about aesthetics. Good web design is not only beautiful, but also technically flawless. Especially 404 errors should be avoided and loading times shortened.
Especially CMS (Content Management Systems) are prone to 404 errors. They occur when pages are deleted or renamed. To fix the 404s, you should set up appropriate redirects. However, there are cases where 404 error pages are necessary. If, for example, the visitor has typed in an incorrect link, it is appropriate to inform him or her by means of an error message that the page he or she is looking for does not exist.
In this case, the 404 error page should not confuse or deter the visitor, but lure him to the correct path. Well-designed error pages motivate the visitor to find what he is looking for again. A clear and simple structure, a clear listing of the category pages and a search function are only a few elements that can contribute to this. An amusing language can also have a positive effect on visitors.
It is just as important to make fast loading times possible. A recent study by the site optimization company Strangeloop has measured when the average user gives up waiting and jumps off the page. The result was that the average visitor switched back to Google search after only 3 seconds. Thus it becomes clear that on a technical level flawless functionalities are important prerequisites for good web design and a positive user experience.
Good web design is “responsive
Responsive web design allows the layout of a website to be so flexible that it is consistent on the computer desktop, tablet and smartphone, and the content can be fully and instantly captured by the user.
In Germany today, 51 percent of men older than 13 and 49 percent of women in the same age group own a smartphone. According to statistics, this figure is expected to rise by 11.1 percent this year. At a time when the smartphone has become a constant companion for many people, responsive web design is an indispensable prerequisite for any modern website. Using this technology, content and navigation elements as well as the structure of the website automatically adapt to the screen resolution of the mobile device.
Good web design is SEO-optimized
Responsive web design not only contributes to user-friendliness, but is also an important ranking factor. Google considers the responsive implementation of a website as a ranking criterion. According to statistics, the number of mobile search queries doubles every year, while the number of queries from desktop computers has been declining since 2013.
However, responsive design is not the only interface between web design and search engine optimization (SEO). In its Internet Search Quality Guidelines, Google writes that the visual structure of a page also plays a major role. An important factor for Google when rating a website is whether the main content is visible immediately (i.e. without scrolling) and whether the design of a page is helpful for the user. Content, white space, navigation menu – all the basic elements of a website should be positioned in such a way that the first visitor can understand what the website is about in just a few seconds.
Good Web Design is Target Group Oriented
In order to design a successful website, it is necessary to deal with the following question in the early stages of planning: Who are the visitors of my website?
There are hardly any fixed rules that say how good web design should look like. Whether minimalistic or vintage – the main thing is that the web design appeals to the right target group. For this it is necessary to deal in the first step with the target group determination and research.
Basic characteristics such as age, gender and technical ability should be considered first. Older people, for example, often no longer see optimally. For this reason, it is advisable not to choose a font size that is too small. They are also more interested in seriousness and valuable content than in the design of a page. Younger people, on the other hand, are more interested in high-quality design and a modern look and feel.
However, demographic characteristics are not everything. The attitude of the visitors as well as their needs and expectations play an important role in the design of a website. For example, an informative page about a non-profit environmental organisation will differ significantly from a fashionable online shop for women not only in content but also in visual design.