Planning a New Website Design? Here’s What to Consider First
Designing a new business website can be a daunting task – there are quite a few important factors to take into account in order to produce a high-quality user experience. From navigation and aesthetics to speed and functionality, key parameters that must be defined throughout every step of the process, and patience is definitely required to see the construction of a new website to completion. If you’re unsure of where exactly to start, here are five key things to consider when you’re planning a new website design.
Surprisingly, this is one of the most overlooked aspects of new website design. Before you can get into any details regarding color choices or coding languages, you must first make sure that you are crystal clear on what type of audience you’re building the site for. What information will they be seeking? What is it they want to know about? How can you make sure that you’ll provide potential prospects with what they’re looking for? Approach every element of your new site’s design from the perspective of your audience, because after all, they’re the ones who will ultimately determine the success of your site.
2. Emphasize intuitive navigation.
This point cannot be stressed enough. If your navigational aids are confusing or hard to find, visitors will likely abandon your page and go elsewhere. Navigation should be as simple and intuitive as possible, so that users won’t have to struggle to find what they’re looking for. Try to follow the “three-click rule,” which states that a visitor should be able to get to any page on your website within three clicks of the mouse or less. No matter what page your visitor lands on, primary navigation options such as the ability to go to the home page or contact page should be visible across all areas of your site. Providing visitors with an easily accessible sitemap will ensure they’ll always be able to find their way around your website, and it helps search engines to thoroughly crawl and index your site as well.
3. Select a visually appealing color scheme.
Color is an extremely important aspect of establishing your brand’s online presence. You should select color combinations that faithfully represent your brand’s image and that make sense for the type of product or service you provide. For example, if you sell medical equipment online, it wouldn’t make much sense to choose a bright neon color scheme, as this would make your site appear unprofessional. However, vibrant colors would make perfect sense for a day care’s website. Countless studies have shown that different colors have the ability to evoke different emotions in the observer, so it’s important for you to pick colors that will elicit the type of emotional response from your viewers that aligns with your brand’s objectives.
4. Shoot for maximum compatibility across all browsers and device types.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, you could get away with building a site that was exclusively compatible with Internet Explorer, because it was practically the only game in town at the time. Now, however, web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have gained a significant amount of market share, and wise website designers are aware that they have to construct web pages that will be compatible across a number of different browser types. In addition, it’s not good enough anymore to build a website that only functions properly on a desktop computer; you have to consider the ever-growing number of people who are accessing the Internet by way of their smartphones or tablet devices. Aim for maximum compatibility across the widest range of devices by incorporating responsive design into your web pages.
5. Employ appropriate security measures.
The rapid advances in technology over the past few years have given rise to a whole new generation of cyber-criminals who are more sophisticated than ever at unleashing viruses, malware and other high-tech threats on unsuspecting webmasters. If you own an e-commerce site in particular, you must make sure that you obtain a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your website as a means to protect your customers’ information. In addition, be mindful of the type of framework and design you choose for your site, and stay up-to-date on any known bugs or security flaws that may be present with that particular platform.
There are many popular open-source blogging and e-commerce software platforms that offer users a quick and easy means to circumvent the dirty work of coding a site from scratch, but the tradeoff is that many times these platforms can be riddled with security holes and vulnerabilities. Be sure to conduct regular security checks on your site, or enlist the help of a company that regularly performs this type of service.
As you consider your new website design, remember to take your time and thoroughly assess each aspect of the process so that you won’t have to go back later and fix something that you didn’t catch on the front end. Use the tips listed above as a guide to help ensure your website will have everything it needs to properly represent your brand and engage your customers.