The Best & Worst Web Design Practices


Back in 2009, John Stone wrote a post called the “20 Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Web Design.” Although there have been plenty of changes within the web design industry during the last five years, the majority of his tips have stood the test of time.

To recap the highlights of his post, here are the four practices you should follow:

Identify the Goal of a Page Before Designing It

Whether it’s getting a visitor to enter their contact information or click a Buy Now button, before you make any visual changes to a page, identify exactly what it’s supposed to accomplish.

Use Different Font Sizes to Create Structure

Elements like a heading, tagline, and subheadings can help visitors move seamlessly through your page. Using different font sizes also makes it easier for visitors to scan your pages and find exactly what they want.

Stick with Tried and True Navigation Elements

Don’t try to reinvent this aspect of your design! The reason that navigation elements like Home, About ,and Contact are so common is because they’ve been proven time and time again to be very effective.

Optimize Load Times

Not only do you want your site to load quickly on laptop and desktop computers, but you also want to ensure that people using cellphones and tablets can quickly load your site. The best way to create a fast experience for portable and mobile users is to properly optimize the load times for elements like images and Javascript.

Now that you know four of the best web design best practices, here are three trends you’ll want to avoid:

Using a Color Scheme with More than 5 Colors

A design with too many colors makes it difficult for people to focus on the actual content of a site. If your website looks like a box of crayons melted on it, you should take time to choose a color scheme thatcontains between three and five colors.

Substitute Design for Clear Writing

Since your website is for your business, you want it to compel visitors to take action. While good design can be used to support clear writing, don’t let it be a substitute. If your site’s main and other pages have very little writing, you’ll probably see the biggest improvement from first focusing on adding persuasive content.

Add Design Elements Just Because They Look Nice

When it comes to effective web design, less is almost always more. If you’re tempted to add an element simply because it seems like good eye candy, be sure to ask yourself if it’s actually going to help your site support your business objectives.

By being aware of what practices to follow, as well as the few trends you should steer clear of, you can create the best small business web design possible. Also, keep in mind that if you encounter any issues or aren’t happy with the way your site comes out, you can always contact a professional design company and schedule a free consultation to discuss the changes you want to make.

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  • By Dennis Consorte
  • Published on August 8th, 2013