I was first introduced to web design back when I was in college, through a basic HTML course. Back then the trend of having a site was continuing to gain popularity.
I recall, the main project for the class – to create a portfolio site for ourselves. While the whole point of the course was to learn HTML and set up a site, I was more focused on designing a unique site that reflected my design style and neglected function. It wasn’t until a couple of years after graduation that I realized a website was so much more than having a unique design. While I focused on the visual design of the website, I completely ignored the other important elements involved such as usability and accessibility.
I wasn’t alone on this boat. A lot of other small businesses and entrepreneures were making the same mistakes. And it simply boiled down to this, just like me in college, people do not get the true purpose of having a website. Somewhere along the line it became a trend, a must have, like how some people feel about a Facebook account – but the goal and purpose were missed. And so, here’s my top 5 details to pay attention to for an effective website, or 5 UX tips for a clean website.
1. Design for web, not print
Yes, there is a difference. At the end of the day what really matters to the success of your site is whether the user can effectively use your website with your goal as the end result action. While it is always a good idea to keep design neat, simple, and stylish, one shouldn’t allow appearances to compromise user experience. This most definitely means, your site should be responsive and seamless for various screen sizes and mobile.
2. White/Light background
White space is your friend. Keep it simple by having lots of it as a background where text is concerned. It draws the eye and makes for an easy read. You can add some color with photos, post titles or backgrounds that don’t interfere with paragraph text.
3. Remove unwanted clutter
Make it easy for your readers to take in the information you’ve shared by dividing them into clear spaced paragraphs. Name and highlight each individual paragraph. Few factors have to be considered, such as length, leading, style, padding and margins, colors, and contrasts.
4. Clear messaging
A simple, clear font is always the best choice, especially when it comes to body text. I remember trying to read a blog article once that had a body font that can only be described as – chaotic. I left the site quickly because trying to decipher what it was saying was a waste of time.
Make sure all body text is appropriately sized for reading and in a dark color. Make it easy for your readers to take in the information you’ve shared by dividing them into clear spaced paragraphs. Name and highlight each individual paragraph. Few factors have to be considered, such as length, leading, style, padding and margins, colors, and contrasts.
5. Easy navigation
Many times we get carried away with the design of the site and completely forget about navigation. If someone cannot navigate through your site, they are gone. Having the navigation at the top in clear text is basic. Home button is helpful, but also make sure the logo links back to the homepage.
These are my top 5 UX tips for a clean website. There are more points that come up, if you delve furthur into the topic. The more detailed the site, the more you need to analyze the layout and strategy. It always helps to have a couple of random friends test out the site before it goes live. As my husband says, “try and have someone break it”. Issues like that are better fixed before it goes live.
Do you have any important points to share for making a clean website?