Web Design Best Practices 2021

Web design is an incredibly important part of any website. Without a good, intuitive design, your visitors may have a bad first impression from the second they load your website. This is often enough to put someone off a website, leading them to search elsewhere.

So how does web design solve this? In this article, we’re going to talk about the importance of web design and how you can ensure that your website delivers the best experience for your visitors.

Web design. Why bother?

As of March 2021, there are over 1.84 billion websites on the internet. This number continues to rise, with an estimated 380 websites appearing every minute, meaning there are around 547,200 new websites available every single day.

Web design is what helps to differentiate each website. If every website were the same design and only the content was different, people would buy from the cheapest website because there’s nothing to set the competitors apart. This is where web design comes in.

Web design isn’t just about nice colours and fancy fonts; it’s about the customer journey. The customer journey is the route that they travel on your website, from first visiting your home page to finding the product/service that they want to buy. A website with a good design facilitates this customer journey, helping the visitor to find what they need with information about the product/service along the way.

The goal is to lead them towards the ‘Buy Now’ button whilst their interest is piqued. If a customer isn’t led to a call-to-action, it may result in a loss of a sale for your business.

Why is the customer journey important?

The customer journey is the journey that turns customers from interested in your products/services to acting on that interest. This could be by buying your products/services or contacting your business for more information.

In its simplest and most common form, the customer journey looks similar to the below:

  1. A page to educate about your company (home page)
  2. A page to educate about your products/services (products/services page)
  3. Provide information about a specific product/service (specific product/service page)
  4. An order page/contact us page

This gives the visitor information about your company, leading them to your products/services. As their interest grows, they select a product/service and learns more about how this will help solve their problem, making them want the product/service more. Then, the next step is the order form or contact us page, presented at the time where they’re most interested.

Now we know the importance of a customer journey and how it works, it’s time to explore some best practices in web design to create a great customer journey.

Web design best practices

To ensure your website is set up for success, we’ve included some best practices below to help you ensure your website remains on the right tracks. No matter whether you’re working with a website agency or if you’re working on your website yourself, the below will help you to ensure that you consider the key points for a well-designed website.

1. Website journey

Ensuring your website is easy to follow is crucial. Your website journey is the same as your customer journey, ensuring that your audience is taken through the relevant pages in the right order, making them aware of how your products/services can help them.

A great way to do this is to start with a piece of paper with the word ‘Home Page’ in the middle. Like a spider diagram, you can then draw arrows outwards to other pages. The important focus here is the journey and how one page links from one to the next. For example:

Home Page > Services Page > Service X Page > Contact Us Form

By considering this early on you can make sure your customer journey is a focal point through the web design process.

2. Page structure

The content on your website is vital for the website journey. When building a website, you’ll need to be sure that your content guides your audience from start to finish in a structured format to keep them focused on your content.

Don’t be afraid to use whitespace in your pages. Whitespace is a part of your website where a simple message is clear and accompanied by a large blank space.

By removing distractions, it makes it clear for our audience to focus on the message that we’re looking to share.

Additionally, consider using:

  • Headings
  • Paragraphs – Images
  • Videos
  • Sections

There are many other elements that break out your content for a more engaging page structure, so be sure to experiment with your page structure until you find what works best for you.

3. Branding

A good website has clear, consistent branding across all pages. The best way to do this is to start with a page template and ensure all pages follow this template. Some pages, such as your home page, will have variations to the template but it’s important to make sure the footer and other consistent elements are the same.

A few things to keep consistent are:

  • Website header (including contact details, navigation bar, logo)
  • Website footer (including sitemap, contact details, additional elements)
  • Colour scheme across the website (stick to your company’s colour palette)
  • Page structure
  • Fonts used.
    At Weave Studios, we can help define a clear brand for your business. For more information, see here.

4. Simplicity

A good website is a simple website with clear information for the visitor. A great example of a website that is clear and simple to use is www.apple.com. Apple are notorious for their branding style, taking simplicity to a new level and becoming well-known for doing so, which proves how effective it is.

When building a website, it’s very easy to fill pages with lots of information that may be useful, but the key is to keep it short and sweet.

5. Accessibility

Your website should be easy for your audience to read. A fundamental of accessibility is making sure that the content on your website is easy on the eyes, making sure everybody can read it easily.

A few points of consideration are:

  • Colours: Are your colours easy to see?
  • Buttons: Are your buttons easy to see and click?
  • Headings: Are your headings clear?
  • Text: Is your text actual text on screen, and not an image? (Text-to-speech tools and SEO can’t read images)

A great tool for checking your website’s accessibility to see if there are any improvements necessary is WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools.

Additional points

There are lots of things to consider with web design. See below for some more key tips:

  • Call-to-action: A call-to-action (CTA) is the call for a user to act. This may be to contact your company, to purchase a product, or to visit a new page. Each page should lead to a call-to-action.
  • Responsiveness: Ensuring your website is responsive for all screen sizes, including mobile, ensures that users get the best experience when using your website.
  • Images: Use images in your website to keep your audience focused, as well as breaking up the content. Make sure the images are relevant to the page and your business for the best effect.
  • Font(s) used: Make sure the fonts you use are clear and easy to read across all devices for consistency and accessibility.

Can we help?

There’s a lot that goes into good web design and building your website journey. At Weave Studios, we’re experts in designing websites with a clear journey that’s designed to turn visitors into customers. For more information on how we can help, take a look at our website design services.