Guest post by Cassandra from DesignDeeper, a blog about graphic design theory, history, and inspiration.
Everyone wants their website to stand out from the rest. It’s important to have a unique website design that is visually compelling. Great graphic design can make a website look more professional and inspire trust in consumers. But is it possible to go too far when making your website look creative? There are certain user interface conventions that people have come to expect.
What’s Your Point?
The main point of a website is usually some type of conversion – a sale, subscription, phone call, etc. The design and content need to clearly convey the main message to the visitor. It’s much harder to convince a person to take any action if they’re confused, because confusion leads to distrust. A design decision that makes perfect sense to you will often take too long for the average viewer to figure out. People prefer websites that are clear and easy to understand.
Navigation: Keep It Simple, Stupid!
One of the most important elements of your website to consider is navigation. When a visitor lands on a site they are most likely looking for specific information. Make it easy for people to get around the website and find what they need. Don’t hide the navigation, or make it complicated. Also consider the most common information a person might want, and make it the most accessible. By taking a very creative approach with your navigation, it will be difficult for a person to use it intuitively.
Another area that needs attention is the actual text on the page. A common mistake is to place text over busy background images or colors that are too similar to the text color. The text on the page is likely what the site visitor came to your site to find, so make it easy to read. Links within the text should also stand out, for example with a different color or an underline. It may look unique to display your text in non-conventional ways, but it will be much harder for your site visitor to find the information they need.
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
Next, are your graphics and images helping or hurting your site? Images are a necessary part of any website, but they should fit in with your overall aesthetic. Many times people think they need flashy and eye catching graphics to impress viewers. Usually this will only distract people from your main message. It’s a good idea to think about the whole design of your site before adding graphics that could detract from your brand or style.
Finally, consistency from page to page within your website is very important in gaining your viewer’s trust. It might seem like you’re making the site more interesting and unique by making each page a little different, but the average visitor won’t appreciate the creativity. Some areas to pay attention to are the logo, navigation, footer, and any special functionality such as login or search boxes. People will learn to expect where to find these elements on each page.
Always keep your end goal in mind when designing your site. If you focus on what you want to accomplish, and center your design around that, you’ll have a successful website.