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1 July 2010  /  
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Importance of a good website design

When designing a site, everyone wants a good design. But what quantifies a good design? Does the question aim to quantify appearance or functionality? I would say both.

Be unique
Competing with the millions of websites on the Internet today, your site needs to enthral, stand out and be unique to be remembered. It must be attractive and appealing to the eye and most importantly, it must capture the essence of the business, product or service you are intending to sell. In terms off functionality, a good design would ensure that users can successfully perform tasks that are intended for them, like logging in, finding information on products or services, purchasing items, or adding and updating their listings on your site.

Not too much text
When using search engines to find information on the web, we sometimes find that the sites that come up top of the list are usually the least attractive. They have too much text, using too many loud colours, and basically, have no design element to them. Sure, the site ranked most relevant in the search, but these websites are frequently abandoned without as much as a read of its contents.

Cater to your audience
A well-designed website would make audiences feel confident of the company or owner, that they are reputable and take their business seriously, serious enough to spend some time and effort to make it look appealing. After all, our website is a showcase of our business on the Internet. In a physical sense, window dressing, put up a pretty shop front to get the attention of passing customers, and get them into the shop.

From a usability perspective, a well designed website would be one that allows target audiences to find information they need easily, require minimal learning or understanding of the working of the site, and is bug free or has measures in place to address errors that may occur.

So now that we understand what it means to have good website design and why it is important, let us look at what makes a good website design.

The right balance
In life, the right balance of work and play leads to a happier life. In the same way, we need to strike a balance between graphics and text to achieve a high quality site. Too much graphics would increase the loading time, while too much text could sometimes put users off because of the more than necessary information. Too less of both would also mean that users may not get the required details, so graphics and text in equal measures would be the best.

Too much animation
These days, multimedia (animations, audio or video) plays an essential role in reinforcing the message. However, too much moving graphics, blinking texts would serve to annoy the audience than appeal to them. Other guidelines that should be taken into account are clear, crisp images, enough white space between texts to enhance readability, colours that suit the type of target audience, typography or font that is easy to read.

Consistency and good navigation
Two very fundamental factors when designing a good website or any website for that matter are consistency and good navigation. All pages should have similar layout and look and feel but the colours of images used could vary somewhat. Navigational menus and links help users move around a site. If users are not able get to where they want, your website is obviously not useful. Therefore, a good navigation system is critical. Users should be able to traverse between the different levels of pages and sections with the least number of clicks.

One way to go about designing is to keep a theme in mind.Creating a unique design does not mean that you have to make one that has never been seen before, rather it should look like other sites but have a uniqueness in an element of the site such as unique navigation, theme, or graphics.

A site has probably less than 60 seconds to capture the interest of potential customers. The first emotional judgement that is made would be what would influence a possible sale of your business. A clean, unique, appealing and fast loading site can increase the impact on your business.

Like the old saying goes “first impressions are the most lasting”, so make it a good one.