Web design can often be difficult primarily because any website needs to be easy to maintain and navigate. Websites must be intuitive for the users, reflect an accurate image of your business and cause a great first impression of who you are and of the products or services you are offering online.
Though this is a very broad topic, there are a few general guidelines you should follow in order to make sure that your visitors will keep coming back for more:
> Fast loading time
The number one thing that will surely drive visitors away is a website that takes too long to load. Optimizing your design and making sure it will not take more than 15 seconds to load is essential for keeping visitors. Having an impressive design will be futile, if people will click away before it fully loads. Moreover, the loading time will influence the way your site is indexed by search engines. To minimize the time in which your site loads, cut down on the use of graphics and scripts, choose a simple layout, optimize heavy files, etc.
> Browser Compatibility
By far, the most difficult problem that web designers have to confront when creating a website layout is the compatibility issues that may arise. You must check that your website can be loaded and properly displayed by the major browsers, in order to make sure you’re not alienating visitors and potential customers. You also need to check that all the features and elements of your layout are working not just in Internet Explorer, but also in Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, too.
> Clean Layout Design
It has become increasingly popular to use white space creatively in order to create an elegant and stylish layout. Make sure you don’t clutter your website with too many distracting graphics and text, as this will not only frustrate your visitors, but also increase your loading time, negatively affect usability and interfere with reading. Always choose fonts that are commonly available on most computers; otherwise, your page might not be displayed properly on some visitors’ PCs. The fonts you use should be legible and elegant; thus, conveying a professional feel to your website.
> Easy and Intuitive Navigation
Once a visitor arrives on your website, navigation plays an important part in determining how long they will stay and how many pages they will eventually read. This is why you need to use clear, intuitive navigation that is consistent throughout the site, making use of flexible menus and showcasing important links. It’s also a good idea to create a site map or contents page, so that visitors searching for very specific things can find information easier and faster.
While web design is increasingly becoming more creative and unconventional, it is important to stick to the general rules that will ensure that your site will always be perceived as neat, stylish and professional.