Web design has earned a pretty great reputation in the last decade. It might be one of the most important career choices in today’s digital world. Knowing what’s important in web design is necessary to make a website function and look flawlessly. This has compelled me to write an article about the same. Let’s see! In this article, I will focus on the five most basic, yet highly important web design elements that you should not ignore.
A Little about Web Design
‘Web Design’ or ‘Website Design’ – the term says it all. It is a set of practices and different skills to create and maintain a website on the internet. Different sectors of website design include, but are not limited to, user experience, visual aesthetics, functionality, readability, responsive web design, search engine optimisation etc.
Web design has gotten simplified over the last decade. Even a single person without any technical knowledge and with the necessary tools can create a decent website. This is especially important for small and medium businesses. A high-quality, attractive, and well functional website design is now within their grasp.
Even if you cannot do it by yourself, they can still take advantage of affordable, high-quality Website Design Services in South Africa. The prices in this market are competitive and they vary, but you can get a decent website with an affordable budget. In the end, it all breaks down to the fact of whether you need the services a package offers. However, web design is highly competitive in the market. You should research and understand which web design agency can fulfil your needs within a reasonable budget. In South Africa, web designers would usually charge you between R1,000 to R30,000. The prices will depend on your requirements, the type of your business, and the variety of quality services an agency provides.
Important Elements of Web Design
In this article, we are going to list down the top 5 important elements of web design. These elements are certainly crucial for your website and must not be ignored.
1. Search Engine Optimisation
This is probably the most important practice you will follow on your website. Primarily, SEO is a practice of optimising the content on your website around focus keywords so that it can appear on search engine results. However, there is more to that. SEO also greatly involves providing a quality user experience to your visitors.
To visualise how SEO works, just imagine a computer. You need the necessary components: RAM, processor, hard drive, motherboard etc. to work together, right? It takes research and experimentation to understand the best components for maximum performance output. SEO is similar to that. It takes a long time to understand how your SEO practices will affect your website’s performance and traffic.
There are white hat SEO practices and black hat SEO practices. Anything that manipulates SEO strategies just to get more traffic in a short time is generally considered as black hat SEO practices. You really should consider staying away from them. Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and keep your website penalty-free.
Responsive web design is literally the ‘one design to rule them all‘. It is a practice of making your website easily accessible on mobile devices. In South Africa, 52.8% of the population have accessed the internet via their mobiles in 2020. In fact, mobiles are getting so common to access the internet that even Google has adopted the ‘mobile-first’ policy. So, if you are browsing the internet on your smartphone, Google will prioritise showing you mobile-friendly websites. Given the statistics above, you must have understood how important responsive website design is.
Responsive web design reassigns and resizes the content and media elements based on the screen resolution and aspect ratio. Furthermore, it may also remove some unnecessary elements for optimisation and layout purposes. There are three major types of responsive web design.
There are two types of responsive web design: Adaptive Grid and Fluid Grid. In adaptive or responsive layouts, dimensions for resizing are manually defined. In fluid layouts, percentage mathematics are applied to resize and redistribute the content according to the screen resolution and browser/window’s size. And then there is the third, and most popular practice: Adaptive-Fluid grid design. It is just a hybrid of the previously mentioned practices.
3. Visual Aesthetics / Branding
Your website is going to be the front face of your business online, right? You will want it to look good and represent your brand well. This helps with improving user experience, which contributes to your website’s reputation. Apart from increasing user experience, this also promotes a user’s trust towards your website.
Visual aesthetics include typography on your website, colour palette (suitable for your logo), symbols, and animations. A proper combination of these will make your website look beautiful. The quality and amount of content also matter. Overcrowded content can confuse visitors. When you are designing a website, remember that you would want to increase the conversion rate, not the bounce rate. In modern times, users want to know more and more through minimal content. So, don’t stray off-topic with your content, keep it focused, use simple language, and keep it short but informative. At the end of the day, you should just remember that it should add some value to the user experience.
Flashy animations can be lucrative but take my word, overdoing it is only going to drive customers away. Besides, a lot of scammy/suspicious websites have such flashy banners. Avoid overcrowding your website with flashy banners, unnecessary animations, obscure and unevenly sized fonts. Define your logo well and establish guidelines for it. Not only this will make your website look legit but also optimise your website to load faster.
Navigation is important. When you want to go somewhere, you would like to have some clear directions right? Same thing with your website as well. Users are visiting your website because they are looking for something. If your website has good navigation, they can find what they want rather easily. This contributes to a good user experience, which is good for your SEO.
But there’s more to that. Navigation is also important for indexing purposes. Whenever you make a new website, it takes time for Google to index it so that it can appear on search engine results. When Google’s crawl bots (or spiders) visit your website, they will visit each page and inform Google about it (unless it is following a ‘noindex’ tag). So, whenever someone searches about something relevant to your website, your website can appear on their results page.
Many things can affect the efficiency of your website’s navigation. At the heart lies your website’s theme. You don’t just choose a theme because it looks good. A good theme also has good, simplified website navigation. The navigation areas, such as the footer, menu bars, hamburger menus, and hyperlinks should be visible and easily accessible. Hyperlinks should have accurate anchor texts so the visitors can understand what lies behind that link. Your menu navigation should be clear and organised. Impress your users with how easily it can be to navigate your website. It will improve the user experience, and it will also contribute to your SEO.
Yes, your website looks really good. But what if it just doesn’t function? What if there are broken links? It is not only going to turn the users away but also going to harm your SEO score.
The functionality of your website depends on the page loading speed, active links, responsiveness of the website, and size of the visual media present. Various surveys have concluded that average loading times for a web page should be less than 3 seconds or else a user is going to turn away from your website. It also affects your SEO score. Linking is also a major part that plays a role in boosting your SEO. Broken links will harm your SEO score. Besides, it is also not a good navigation practice. Whenever you spot a broken link, please consider fixing it immediately.
Responsive website design, as explained previously, is a practice to make your website functional across all types of devices on all types of screens. It can be a bit tricky to get it right but it is important. Finally, the media. All the images, symbols, banners, videos on your website should be optimised to load faster without losing the necessary quality.
These are the five most important elements that you should get right on your website. Explore, experiment, and understand what works out the best for you. Whenever you make a website, remember that you are making it for your fans, readers, or customers. Put yourself in their shoes and understand how you feel about exploring your own website. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion, a small survey to understand how people are feeling about it. Lastly, if you need professional help, don’t hesitate. Explore around, see what suits your needs the best. Your investment will be worth it!