1. Stylish AND Functional
Bad web designers often make the mistake of focusing their efforts on making a website look pretty as opposed to making it functional. This approach is a big mistake when wanting to create a beautiful user experience; a visitor requires functionality AND beauty. Not one or the other. Your Taylor Swift tribute website may look great with all the latest pictures from Taylor’s tour of Malaysia but if it affects the usability, I shall not wait around. I shall find a rival Taylor Swift fan site and never return.
Yes, these fancy, unique designs are great but when not created efficiently, they are typically a usability nightmare. The average web user expects a certain standard and has a million other websites fighting for their attention. If your site is not easy on the eyes and the brain, it will frustrate the user and what do they do when they get frustrated? They leave. It’s like when Avril Lavigne started to add rap parts to her songs. Come on Avril, stick to what we expect. We appreciate the effort but seriously, stop.
It takes two to tango! So make sure that your style and functionality are dancing to the same awesome beat.
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics and using a standard blog layout (a header, followed by the main content and a sidebar, followed by the footer). These basic design layouts don’t stop you from standing out from the crowd. There is a lot that can be done to make them striking. Let’s face it, Pitbull has been releasing the same song for the past few years but with different titles and collaborations. I know Pitbull is not a great example but some people like him. If you have as many fans of your website as Pitbull’s music does, you are doing very well. Please make your website better than Pitbull and his music. Please. For the rest of our sanity.
2. Make Navigation Easy and Obvious
Navigating through your site should be effortless for the end user. They should have one or more navigational elements presented to them that make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
These are the navigational elements that users are familiar with. These are a safe bet when making your site easy to navigate through. If I cannot find the exact information about Vanilla Ice that I came to your website to find, quickly, I shall find somewhere else. Maybe that rival Taylor Swift fan site has a detailed list of stores where I can pick up a “Ice Ice Baby” dressing gown?
3. An informative Homepage
Most of the time your homepage will be, by far and away, the most visited page on your site. This is because it is an obvious entry point, much like a front door on a house. If you can walk through the door, you’re not going to try and climb through the windows, are you? If you generally enter houses through a window, you are entering houses incorrectly. You need to work on your basic entering property skills before you build your wordpress site. Priorities.
In addition to being an obvious entry point, it is an obvious next step for people when they first visit your site through any page.
The fact the homepage is the most visited page means that making sure it is easy to understand and informative is essential. The homepage should include the navigational elements listed above and be simple, but effective. Think of it as a news article headline, it needs to be simple enough for a person to easily digest, informative enough to give the person an idea of what to expect and intriguing enough to encourage the person to read on.
In summary the essentials are: clean design & simple, easy navigation, informative homepage, be better than Pitbull and Vanilla Ice wholesaler information. If you can nail the above tips then you will be well on your way to having a thoroughly engaging website. Thanks for reading & good luck with improving your website!
If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.