People often say that art and design are subjective. They say there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” design. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
And while that might be true with some art and design, that’s not the case with website design. With website design, there is right and wrong. There is good and bad. It’s not opinion. It’s fact based on how users interact with websites. If your website creates a poor user experience, it doesn’t matter how cool you think it looks. It’s a bad, ineffective website.
With that in mind, what are the qualities of a good website design?
- Fast loading—This is probably the most important thing on this list. Not only is loading time important for ensuring your visitors stick around and see your website, but it also plays a role in determining your search engine rankings in Google. You need a website that loads quickly. Make sure your code is clean, your images optimized, and your Flash is used sparingly at most.
- Easy to scan—Online users tend to scan content rather than actually read it word for word. In fact, they scan websites in an F-shaped pattern. This means your content needs to be scannable. How can you accomplish this? Use short paragraphs, bullet points, lists, sub-headlines, and bold important phrases throughout.
- Optimized for search engines—What good is your website if no one can find it? Your website needs to be designed according to sound SEO principles so that it shows up for relevant search queries.
- Clear navigation—Don’t try to get clever with the navigation for your website. Users should be able to browse through your website easily. They should be able to find the information they need quickly and without any hassle. Navigation should be placed along the top or left side of the page, and everything should be organized in a logical manner.
- Looks good on all resolutions and browsers—A good website looks right no matter where the user is viewing it from. It looks good in Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer…you name it. It even looks good on mobile phones, and it displays properly in all resolutions.
- No clutter—You can’t try to do too much with your website. So many websites are so crammed with widgets, forms, buttons, images, and other bells and whistles that it’s overwhelming for the visitor. Ditch the clutter and embrace whitespace. Your website should guide the visitor’s eyes to the main action you want them to take.
- Everything works properly—Check over your website with a fine-toothed comb to make sure everything is functioning the way it should. If you have contact forms, make sure they’re working correctly. Make sure all links are working and pointing at the correct pages. And be sure that your shopping cart doesn’t have any errors.
Take a look at your website. Does it have the qualities of a good design?
Posted on Tue, November 30, 2010
by Brian Waraksa filed under