For those starting a new business, blog or just looking for a little freelance work, you know you’ll need a good, solid site to get it off the ground. If your web design knowledge stops at “must build site” (it’s cool, SAME), then these top six tips from our designers will get you on the right track to start tackling this very important step for your biz! In addition to these tips, our friends at FedEx are sponsoring our HTML + CSS Coding Online Class so you can take it FOR FREE through December 31, 2016 and start learning how to code your site yourself!
1. REPETITION IS A GOOD THING
Keep your site feeling cohesive (read: not a hot jumbled mess) by repeating elements of your design throughout the site. This could mean keeping the same font for all headers, using a specific type of bullet point, featuring the same colors, etc. While it may seem redundant to you, this is super useful for the reader to quickly navigate your site and recognize your brand.
2. STRESS TEST YOUR DESIGNS
Sure, your design may look great — to you. But can someone who is vision-impaired easily read your design? What about someone with color-blindness? Someone who’s using a screen reader? Test your design with people other than yourself — it usually creates a better experience for everyone!
3. DESIGN FOR MISTAKES AND SUCCESSES
Another example of stress-testing: You’re probably designing for the perfect situation in which your user knows what to do and where to click already. But in reality, your user doesn’t have a ton of time to learn how to use your site. Make sure the most important information is loud and clear (that’s what they call a “visual hierarchy” folks). And if you ask them to fill out forms or upload information, make it easy for them to catch missed sections or fix other mistakes without having to start all over again. Think of the mistakes a user might make as well as the ideal user path, when designing.
4. SEE IF (AND HOW) IT’S WORKING
Don’t forget to track user behavior to see how people are interacting with your site! The easiest way to get started is with Google Analytics, or if you’re using a website builder like Squarespace, you can use their analytic tools to see what parts of your design are working (ie. gettin’ mad clicks!) and which parts could use some help.
5. GO FOR A FUNCTIONAL WOW MOMENT
Having a feature on your site that both draws attention AND encourages interactivity is a great way to catch busy eyes. Animation is definitely a hot trend right now and can range from an animated video explaining your mission or services to an interactive piece that you spin and move around to reveal more information by hovering over it or clicking and dragging.
6. OR, KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE
If you’re looking to code your own website for the first time, you may want to take another very different approach inspired by a rising trend in web design that is all about stripping down to just the basics (which is great news for anyone just learning simple HTML!). It’s sort of a throwback to the early internet that’s definitely not for everyone, but provides a valuable reminder that sometimes less is more!
Itching to get started yourself? Check out our FREE HTML + CSS Coding Online Class through December 31, 2016, and start learning how to code your own site!
Sponsored by FedEx.
Author: Lee Schellenberger
Contributors: Emelyn Baker, Zane Riley
Photography: Brittany Griffin