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Three Mantras to Remember When Designing a Website

In the field of website usability design, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ site-layout which will guarantee that all project goals will be met.

Like all products which are designed for mass consumption, an effective website needs to:

  • Perform its core functions with efficiency.
  • Effectively engage its audience.
  • Be intuitive to use.

Whilst these three points might seem like no-brainers, juggling these fundamentals requires patience, a certain degree of technical prowess, thoughtful, research-led design and a lot of testing as you work your way towards a satisfactory end product which you can confidently launch into the ether.

Mantra 1: ‘Performance matters’

This applies to many aspects of website design, from areas that are grounded in the black and white minutiae of page load time optimisation, cross-browser compatibility testing and keeping the website running in a smooth, speedy and secure fashion, to the grey, ethereal realms of managing your audience’s perceptions of your online presence and site functionality.

Ultimately, this mantra applies to every aspect of web design: if something can be made more efficient, if obstacles that stand between a user and the content which they are seeking can be broken down, or, if a more robust, secure technology can be put in place: don’t just sit on your hands: take the appropriate action to rectify the situation.

Mantra 2: ‘Engage and retain’

Capturing your audiences’ attention – and then holding it, is the ‘lightning in a bottle’ factor that will ultimately determine how successful your web design venture will be.

Your marketing campaign may include an effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) programme, a whole host of social media activity or countless other promotional techniques: But whatever dizzying heights your site reaches in the rankings, or how much buzz is generated about your brand, getting visitors onto your site is just the first step towards achieving online success.

Thoughtful, focussed design, carefully-crafted copy and valuable features are the key ingredients to help your website really connect with its target audience.

Remember: you don’t just connect users to your website: your website needs to connect with your users!

Mantra 3: ‘Easy, intuitive, beautiful’

Each functional part of your website should be designed to be clear and simple enough for almost any user to pick up and use, without the need for much, if any explanation;

Web design usability is a science in its own right; but in particular, careful attention should be paid to your navigation system, as well as your ‘call to action’ design elements, like: ‘add to basket’, ‘contact us’ or ‘checkout’ links.

Whilst you may wish to defy conventions and break the mould with your new website design, it is important that you do not alienate your site visitors: If too much emphasis is placed upon creating a unique, aesthetically-pleasing design without appropriate focus on the mechanics of how users will interact with it, your new website may turn into a tragically flawed, costly folly.

A truly beautiful website can only be produced when the perfect balance of form and functionality has been achieved.

About Graham Lyons

Graham is the SEO and Social Media Marketing Manager at Cozy Digital and the editor of the Cozy Digital Blog as well as contributing content for most of our social outlets like Facebook, Twitter and G+. Graham has been working in, and writing for the SEO / SMM industry since 2001 and is still as dedicated and passionate today as he was when he opened his first Website Design, Ecommerce and SEO company in 2004. You can connect with Graham and Cozy Digital via the social media links below:

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