The world wide web is still fairly young. At 25 years old, it wasn't really that long ago that the web design industry was a fledgling field where we were simply learning as we went along. Luckily, as time has gone by, a lot more research, experience and technology has come about meaning that web designers are no longer in the dark when it comes to building successful and eye catching website designs.
There has been a lot of talk and research about what parts of your website are the most important, and there have been arguments for and against certain ways of doing things in the industry. Over time, web standards set a level of what is expected from a web design to be correct in terms of coding and the way it's built, and Google became the dominant search engine that has eventually controlled how websites should be optimised.
The only thing left to discuss is what information should go where, in order to make a website a success and to engage viewers. Over the years, we've seen website technology evolve. Today we have responsive web designs that resize to the browser you are viewing it on, which requires website content to be built in divs instead of tables.
Read more about how often you should redesign your website, in response to fast-moving design trends.
Design styles and elements that are in 'fashion' come and go, just like fashion in clothing. Gone are the days of websites with flash animation headers and 960px widths. We now have full width panel websites, with full background header images and parallax scrolling. Like mobile phones, which got smaller and smaller and have suddenly become bigger and bigger again, website design trends change and update on a very fast scale too.
Take a look at the design predictions we made for this year.
So, what do we know for a fact that a website needs, that doesn't change?
1. First of all, the top left of your website is almost always the first thing people look at.
Eye tracking software has proven that the eye path of most users starts from the upper left corner of a website and gradually, with less priority, moves in the order of top right, bottom left and then bottom right corner. The human eye simply reads a website in the same way that it approaches a book.
The top left hand corner is where the logo is traditionally placed. It is not abnormal for websites to have large background images with a logo centred at the top either, but having your logo branding as the first thing people rest their eyes on is a good idea.
2. Your introductory paragraph
Having an introductory paragraph that people can skim read is a brilliant suggestion due to the fact that a lot of people search the internet with the idea of retrieving information fast. Your home page needs to tell them who you are, what you do and possibly where you're based to answer those three initial questions.
Take a look at our guide to copy writing.
A strong call to action is also needed so that if they do like what they see, they can get in touch with you with ease.
Why not take a look at the top things to avoid when creating a website design.
3. Forget about “The Fold”
The fold is the upper half of the front page of a website that people see first. However, where we used to design websites with a "fold" like newspapers, it has become much more accepted to have websites with an interactive experience that require scrolling. Some designers believe that scrolling is a negative thing, but studies have shown that this is not the case. It has even been found that the very bottom of pages get a lot of attention, which makes the bottom of a page an ideal place for a call-to-action.
We discuss the fold in an blog post recently, which you can find more information on here.
4. Visual Imagery and Video
People love large visual imagery and video to watch at their leisure. If your website has an interactive nature to it where they can scroll down to watch videos, read your social media feeds and/or look at striking imagery, your website is bound to be a success. Having an overload of textual information can increase your bounce rate, which is something you really want to avoid. Making your website engaging, interesting and relevant to the user should be what you have in mind when it comes to cultivating what content goes where on your web pages.
If you'd like to discuss a website project with us, why not contact us today?