Designing a website is kind of like designing a bedroom for optimal relaxation: You need to match the site to the intended “feel” you want your audience to experience. Except in very extreme circumstances, you don’t want to assault the senses with overtly bright colors (and never with music that auto starts). This kinds of “shocks” won’t result in a good web experience for your users and might even cost you conversions.
While web design trends are constantly changing, there are some basic best practices to keep in mind. It’s kind of like the evolution of a CPAP machine in the bedroom for sleep apnea concerns; the technology is constantly changing, but the basics remain the same. Here are the foundational principles for an inviting website:
1. Less is more
This is true of written content, images, videos and links. Leave plenty of white space, which is gentler on the eyes and lets your visitors more easily consumer the information. This “white space” can actually be any light, neutral tone and going with something like egg shell is often a better choice. Limit written content per page to 500 words when applicable.
2. Make navigation intuitive
A first-time visitor shouldn’t have to hunt for the “contact us” tab or anything else. Creativity should never take the place of intuitiveness with a website, so keep that as a priority. A skilled web designer knows the most common placements of tabs and links that people will naturally look for first.
Image Source: Pixabay
3. Keep flash and auto videos/music to a minimum
Flash might look impressive to some, but it takes a lot of resources and can slow down a website drastically. Automatic videos or music are always a no-no, since it can shock the senses and your visitor might not realize their speakers are on (which can be embarrassing in certain situations). Instead, remember that speed trumps music or videos.
4. Choose classic sans-serif fonts
An option like Verdana or Calibri will withstand the test of time and survives any trends. Serif fonts are also classic, but they can look dated. Clean, simple lines in a font that’s proven it has staying power is a better choice and will minimize how much you need to update your site.
When designing a website, rely on a web designer or platform that features time-tested themes. That way, you’ll never have to worry about dating yourself or your business.