Why great Web Design is more than just pretty pictures

At DrawBuildPlay, our mission is to build great web experiences through beautiful design.

Great web experiences are achieved only by producing beautiful web design.

But, what is Beautiful Web Design?

Web Design constitutes many aspects.  These are the qualities we think are important (and beautiful) when building a website:

  • Easy to use
  • Familiarity
  • Balanced
  • Fast to load
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Friendly to the eye

Think about other products you may have used that are not intuitive or easy to use?  Why can a two year old child easily figure out how to use an iPad, but they cant figure out the cable remote?  Websites must be intuitive first and foremost.  

 

Easy to Use

Websites need to be easy to use and intuitive.  When a customer visits your website, they should immediately know who you are, what you do, and why they should buy what you are selling.  The first 3 seconds count the most to capture their attention, else they will bail and go to your competitor.

How do we achieve "easy to use"?  Every user is going to be different.  But following common design patterns help.

 

Is your website familiar?

Customers should already know how to use your site, without a steep learning curve.  Place menu links in common places (logo on left, navigation bar at the top or the left).  Links should look like links.  Elements that look like a button should act like a button and do something.  If a user thinks they can click on something, make sure they can click it.  Don't be mean.  Don't try to trick them.

A child who has used an iPad can easily go to an iPhone or an Android device, and relatively quickly figure out how to use it because they follow similar design patterns.  The same rule applies to your website.

 

Do you have a good balance between images and text?  

Too much text, and your customers are going to get information overload and go somewhere else because they don't care to read if you haven't earned their attention yet.  Likewise, not enough text, and you are relying on your images alone to get their attention.  Also too many images can mean a slower page load time.

 

Does your page load quickly?

A fast page load time is critical to keeping your users on your website.  Anything more than 3 seconds will lead to 7% of customers leaving.  Customers are increasingly using mobile devices which may have slower internet speeds.  Keeping the page loading fast, and giving the user constant feedback is important to keep their attention.

 

How readable is your website?

Web pages must be readable.  This requires a balance of white space between text, and a good balance of images (as described above). Use headers to break up sections. Keep your language simple.  Don't get too technical if your audience are not going to understand it.  Speak to your customers, not to your peers (unless it is your peers who are the majority of your customers).

 

Easy on the eye.

Ultimately, your website has to be easy on the eye.  That means absolutely NO blinking text.  Keep the colors simple.  Avoid colors that may prevent color blind audiences from fully using your site.  Don't use colors that blend together or are just hard to read.

Make sure you have breaks in your text.  Break it using white space or images, as appropriate.

Use multiple pages if you have a lot of content you need to convey.

Use appropriate fonts and font sizes.  Don't make your user's squint to read your text.

 

How does your site appear on mobile devices?

Increasingly, customers are browsing the web on their phones and tablets.  How does your website look on a phone?  Does it respond to the screen size and adjust appropriately?  Can i still read the text or do i have to pinch, scroll, and zoom to read it?

 

With these tips, you should be well on your way to building an easy to use, intuitive website that is beautiful to your customers.