Your best website design is simple and clean. You've never know that, judging by all the flashy websites out there.
Many website designers have great skills but not all understand user-friendly website design.
That's why it's important to learn some guidelines on what makes a website user-friendly before you choose a website designer or template.
Here are some tips on how to create the best website design you can:
Avoid Reverse Type
If I could get my clients to do just one thing, I'd be sure their websites consist of black text on a white background.
Now it's not so bad if you have black text on a pale yellow background or a pale blue background. But even the deceptively innocent dark blue text on a pale blue background should have more contrast to make reading easier.
The worst, though, is reverse type. That is white text on a black background. And it's annoyingly popular.
I personally can not read it. I have to be highly motivated to bother.
Clearly, I have a strong personal opinion on this. But I was not surprised to find that marketing studies prove that reverse type decreases response rate.
So ignore me at your own risk. The web is competitive enough already.
Here are a few more tips
- Do not use a flash intro or make people "enter" your site. You only have seconds to capture their attention. You may believe entertaining them is the way to do it, but if you're selling something the best way to keep them there is to help them quickly realize that you have the solution to their problem. If they want to be entertained, they'll probably go to YouTube.
- Be sure the font is large enough to be readable (even by us old folks over 40). A good choice is 12 points. If you're not sure, it's better in general if the text is slightly too large than slightly too small. Again, you want to create a user-friendly experience.
- Sans serif fonts (eg, Arial, Helvetica, or Trebuchet MS) have been shown to be easier to read online, so it's best to use those for your body text. It's also a good idea to use a serif font for the headline and subheads to add a little contrast (eg, Times New Roman, Georgia, or Batang).
- Try to have no more than seven or eight menu items. More can be overwhelming to the visitor. If you do have more, see if you can put them into subcategories so that they can be in submenus. I have heard one argument against this, but it's from a website expert I respect, Ken Evoy. So use your best judgment with this guideline.
- Back to that black body text: it is okay to use color for the headline and subheads – in fact, those are great places to add color.
Always use your own best judgment. If you've got a punk rock site, purple text on black might be the perfect combination. Every site is different. But it's always best to know and understand the rules before you break them.
Here's to your website's great success!