5 Tips to Design for the Web
By Keely Smith, Design & Multimedia Specialist
In an age of information overload, it’s vital to communicate visually and effectively. Presenting information on the Internet in a way that is easily digestible for any viewer can be a challenge, but here are five tips that will make any Web designer’s life a little bit easier:
- Create intuitive navigation
Navigation is a crucial element for keeping people on your site, and a viewer should be able to locate key information within the first 10 seconds.
Primary navigation is typically displayed horizontally toward the top of the page, while secondary navigation is often included in dropdown menus for subsequent pages. Pay attention to the titles – it should be clear to a visitor what they will see when navigating to another page.
It’s very easy to be overloaded with images, a danger for anyone trying to communicate visually. When confronted with too many images on a website (graphics, photos, slideshows, animated gifs, bright buttons), it is overwhelming for anyone visiting.
Our brains stop processing information when presented with too many options. Simplify and consolidate your information. It will pay off!
- Use white space
I often come across sites that are jam-packed with information, making it difficult to navigate and find what I’m looking for.
Don’t be afraid of white space. The entire page doesn’t need to be loaded with graphics, pictures, buttons and calls-to-action. Having white space will help create hierarchy within a webpage. Allow your design to breathe! See examples here.
- Be intentional with color
Color is a major player in the overall aesthetic of a website. It’s important to ask what colors are appropriate, consistent and complementary to your brand. Subdued color palletes, like those often seen on corporate sites, tend to render a clean and modern appearance, while personal portfolios or small business sites allow more freedom to experiment with brighter colors.
Remember that color can attract or defer viewers from certain information, so use it intentionally. Having a hard time picking a color pallete? Use photographs of nature to sample colors in Photoshop or resources like Adobe Kuler to find inspiration or download color themes.
- Pay attention to detail
Although elements such as rollover functionalities should be one of the finishing touches when designing a website, they should not be forgotten. Hover effects like change in color, text, dimming and highlighting are effective ways to add some interest to the overall functionality of your site. Visitors will be prompted to click on additional pages, keeping them on your site longer.
Designing websites is a complex process that requires experience and fundamental Web knowledge. If you’re new to the practice it may be frustrating at first, yet the end product is always rewarding!
If designing for the web sounds too technical, let us know. Our graphic designers are happy to work with you to produce a site you love.
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