A website is often an ongoing, ever-evolving project and this is because of the important role it plays in your marketing efforts. Another factor that creates a need for constant tweaking, is the way in which consumer needs and marketing trends and technology evolve. Here are some critical design factors to consider when designing your website:
Colour Schemes: People connect emotionally to colours, and because colours stimulate different parts of the brain, it is a scientific fact that certain colours have a positive effect on sales.
The following table will explain why I mainly use blue and green on more than 95% of my websites. I will only use red and yellow to attract attention.
Blue - This was determined to be the best seller and the most favorite color of people throughout the world, regardless of culture. Blue is considered the color of communication; light blue leads to fantasy and dark blue leads to authority and power. Blue congers up feelings of tranquility, peacefulness and flights of fancy.
Green - This is a relaxing color that stirs up feelings of the outdoors, forest, grass and lush meadows. It is considered a passive, not a stimulating color.
Red - This color is known internationally as a buying color. It reflects emotions such as anger, lust and passion. It is a definite attention getter. When used in small amounts, it is the best color to stimulate sales. However, if used in large amounts, it can turn off the more subtle customers. This color is best used to draw attention to a specific message or area you want the customer to focus on.
Orange - This is known to be the most irritating of colors and the least favorite color in the world. Direct mail marketers tend to use this on envelopes to draw attention to a product they are selling. Orange is best known as the color for sexuality and creativity and is associated with affordability. This color is also an attention grabber, but is best used sparingly or as an accent color.
Purples and Violets - These colors are subjective, and people will either love them or hate them. Purple is associated with spiritual healing and royalty.
Yellow - Is the first color seen by the retina. This is a good focus or attention-getting color and a good accent color when used in moderation.
Brown - Denotes traditional or natural values. Light shades of wood are associated with affordability; dark hued shades are associated with opulence and richness. Brown is a relaxing and casual color. It is the color of wood, the earth and nature.
Neutrals - Black or white are always a safe and effective accent. They enhance primary colors when used as an accent. When used exclusively, they give off an institutionalized or sterile feeling.
Pastels - Pastels are popular because they tend to blend with the popular colors of the season. They can be used in designs and products and will mix and match or blend with anything. The softer shades blend easily with primary colors, which tends to make the buying decision easier for the customer.
Image Quality: The modern consumer is visually stimulated and that's why you need to ensure that all your images are optimised for quality and size. If you use photo editing software, save all images for web in .jpg format, at 60% quality (this is the .jpeg high setting). This will give excellent quality in relation to file size, which means that your images will look great, but they will not slow down your site's loading time. Your images should be optimized to the smallest possible size, because using many, big images, will slow your site down too.
Consistency: If it's your first time designing a site, or even your 10th, you may be tempted to use every bell and whistle to make your site "cool". Please don't! Stick to a consistent font type, quality, colour and size - apart from H-tags, discussed in SEO). Don't use flashing images and several different colors. An unwritten rule in design using colour, is to stick to one main colour, one supporting colour and one colour for accents. This will have a balanced, attractive effect.
CMS: If you use a content management system, you can choose from a wide range of stylish templates. You can select a colour scheme (automatically balanced to perfection)that suits you. A note of caution: Some themes are black and I suggest you stay away from them, because it is hard to work with and not inviting at all.
Alt Tags: Be sure to use Alt tags on all your images. While most CMS don't ask for it, most people don't know that they should add the information either. However, it is essential to your rankings on SERPs.
Cross-browser Compatibility: If your site looks great in one browser, but it doesn't work on another, you will lose visitors. More than half of all internet users around the world use Internet Explorer, which means that 45% of people use other browsers. Be sure that they can experience your site at its best.
Readability: Proper use of fonts and colors will make your website easier to read.
Black text on a white background, or white text on a black background, is best for people with viewing disabilities, and for display on bad equipment.
Grey text on a light background can give a poor contrast:
|Grey text on a white background (#EEEEEE)
|Grey text on a white background (#CCCCCC)
|Grey text on a white background (#AAAAAA)
|Grey text on a white background (#888888)
|Grey text on a white background (#666666)
|Grey text on a white background (#444444)
|Grey text on a white background (#222222)
|Grey text on a white background (#111111)
Grey text on a dark background can also give a poor contrast:
|Grey text on a black background (#222222)
|Grey text on a black background (#444444)
|Grey text on a black background (#666666)
|Grey text on a black background (#888888)
|Grey text on a black background (#AAAAAA)
|Grey text on a black background (#CCCCCC)
|Grey text on a black background (#DDDDDD)
|Grey text on a black background (#EEEEEE)
Some combinations - like black and red, black and blue, yellow and green - always strain the eye:
|Black text on a red background
|Yellow text on a white background
|Black text on a blue background
|Green text on a white background
|Yellow text on a green background
And some combinations are not so bad:
|Black text on a grey background
|Black text on a light blue
|Black text on antique white
|White text on dark blue
Mind your Letter Spacing
Text with close letter spacing is difficult to read.
Text with extra letter spacing is easy to read.
Text with reduced letter spacing is difficult to read.
Mind your Line Spcing
Text with good line spacing is easy to read
Text with reduced line spacing is difficult to read
Avoid using Fancy Fonts
This font is easy to read....
This font is difficult to read....
Use Italics Sparingly
Normal fonts are easy to read.
Italic fonts are not so easy to read.
Site Content: A professional copywriter will know the best lengths for your text paragraphs, but if you write your own content, keep paragraphs short. Big blocks of text will deter many visitors from reading your content. Some people are just lazy to read, and that's why you should make it easy for them to skim-read your site and extract important information. However, don't just post a bulleted list of sentences either. You need to cater to those who want to read everything you have to say.
Standards: Finally, your site has to meet web standards, as set out at www.w3.org. Use this site to find out whether your site meets World Wide Web standards and how to correct any issues.
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