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Five Principles of Good Web Design

Good web design is more than just how a website looks. It takes into consideration other principles such as marketing, functionality, structure, psychology, content and a “call to action.” These are questions that need to be asked before starting the process of creating a website. What is the purpose of the site? How will the site function? What information do you want to provide your visitors? What do you want your visitors to do when they come to the site?

Marketing

Gone are the days of “if you build it, they will come.” Your website is just one part of your marketing efforts. More than likely there are several resources you use when promoting your business. Some of these resources may include traditional advertising such as television or print media. You may also use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to attract and/or retain customers. Your site is likely the place you want to direct these efforts to.

Functionality and Structure

Once they get to your site, there should be no obstacles to the information your customers want. Layout, structure, and functionality should facilitate ease of use and support objectives. If you want your customers to purchase product on your site, the shopping experience should be intuitive and easy to navigate. If your site is more informational, content should not be buried in complex navigation they have to drill down to find.

Psychology

Think like your visitors. Take in to consideration who they are and where they are coming from. What kind of computer might they be using? If they are viewing your site on a mobile device, such as a smartphone, chances are they will not wait if the site takes too long to load. If they are on a notebook, will they want to scroll all the way down the page to find information? Who are your visitors and what environment are they in? Someone in an office may not interact with the site the same way they would if they were at home.

Content

Probably the most important principle to consider is the content itself. What is the information you are giving your customers? Some examples are, company bio, product details and images, location and directions, specials, and promotions. Maybe your site has a blog. What will you be writing about? Will your site have video content? Content is king, it will dictate many of the other principles of design.

“Call to Action”

What’s the next step? Your visitors made it to your site. They’ve found the information they need. Now what? Do you want them to contact you for more information? They’ve found the product they are looking for, should they “buy now” and finish the shopping process? They’ve read the latest post on your blog. Do you want them to comment on the post to create a dialogue between you and them? For instance, common “calls to action” include “Buy Now,” “Contact Us,” or “Comment.”

Good web design should answer many of these questions. Research and planning ahead of time will create a smooth and efficient design and development process. The goals of the site, how it functions, who the users are, and the content being provided facilitate a design that retains customer loyalty and builds a solid brand.

Jason Holland
Interactive Graphic Designer
Lunar Logic
www.lunarlogic.com

Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/hrtjx3e
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