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Five Elements of Good Web Design

January 6, 2011 IADT Detroit, Web Design and Development 0 Comments

Good websites are not necessarily designed to look good or even to communicate a message. Instead, they are designed for usability. An attractive website that no one uses is worthless. Good Web design keeps users on a website by giving them what they are looking for. Following are five elements of well-designed websites that keep visitors coming back.

1. Simplicity
A complicated website is one of the main reasons users get frustrated and look elsewhere for the information they want. While flying graphics and Flash elements may make your website look cool, users will appreciate a simple layout much more. In order to keep your site simple, use white space as much as possible and make sure all of the most important items are at the top of your page. Also, keep navigation clean and visible at all times.

2. Clear, Original Content
Since users come to your website for content, give it to them. Make sure all of the content on your page is clear, direct and short. "Salesy" copy doesn't work online, and neither do long, unbroken paragraphs. Instead, deliver your information with bulleted lists, using bold and italic fonts, as well as short paragraphs, visuals and clear calls to action. Users don't want information they have to slog through or that is already on a thousand different sites.

3. Familiarity
Cliché or familiar design can actually be a good thing on the Web. Users will feel much more comfortable on your website if they know how to navigate and where to find what they need. Try to make your site's users think as little as possible. If they came to you for information, they should know where to find it quickly and easily.

4. Interactivity
Providing ways for users to interact with your site keeps them interested and engaged. Let users interact with your website through feedback forms, calls to action and navigation buttons. If you have a product, provide a demonstration or a download. If you have an article, allow people to comment or post it to social media sites. Use short pages linked to each other to keep users clicking and engaged.

5. Good Use of Graphics
Good Web design is a delicate balance between pictures and text, because both text and graphics have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, graphics provide a wonderful way to simplify a site, but too many pictures on a page could take a long time to load and drive users away. Text, on the other hand, can cause a page to rank higher in search engines and give users the information they are looking for, but too much of it can discourage users from reading your page altogether. Most of the time, you can achieve the best design by breaking up short blocks of text with graphics.

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