The web design industry is constantly evolving and with it comes new and exciting technologies. The rise in popularity for technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3 have left designers open to lots of new possibilities in regards to designing websites. As the industry evolves, however, some essential factors in regards to design should always remain the same. Below I’ve listed five major elements that should be given special attention when designing and developing a website.
USER FRIENDLY DESIGN
It’s very important that a person viewing your website can comfortably read the content and easily navigate the site. Naturally, you’ll want visitors to visit more than one page of your website but if they’re finding it difficult, they’ll end up leaving and won’t bother to read past the homepage.
Also bear in mind a lot of sites are illegible due to find sizes not being large enough, text overlapping due to CSS errors and through bad colour schemes (light text on an equally light background). Like your own home, for example, your website needs to be welcoming and accommodating to guests because they won’t stay for very long otherwise.
Another important factor that’s essential to any website is its speed. We’ve all been there – you search Google, click onto a result and you’re left waiting way too long for the site to load. And when it finally shows up, it does so bit by bit. If you’ve been frustrated at that before, you’ll understand the importance of a fast website. If not only for your users, make sure your website is fast for Google because page speed affects your ranking in Google.
In a day and age where everyone has a smartphone or a tablet, you need to be aware that people are viewing your website on any device imaginable. People are navigating your site with touchscreens more than ever as well as on smaller screens with different resolutions. A responsive website is one that accommodates any device. It fits whatever sized screen, is navigable through any means and just works no matter what visitors are viewing your website on.
At Swift Web we always make our websites responsive as we believe it’s not up to the website visitor to accommodate us – we need to accommodate the end user and make their experience as high as possible.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISED
You can have the most beautiful website in the world but it’s ultimately pointless if nobody sees it. Paying for Google AdWords gets expensive and getting people to visit your website through flyers, for example, is tedious and time consuming. The key to a successful web presence is growth of organic, targeted traffic through Google and other search engines.
When we develop a website, we work with our client to determine keywords they’d like to target and we work to make sure keyword density is correct. We also analyse other aspects of a site that affects SEO (page speed, user friendly design, validated code etc.) to make sure the site is fully compliant with SEO standards to maximise search engine performance.
Two main categories of websites are static and dynamic. A static website is a site that stays the same. It’s made to be updated every so often by a developer. A dynamic website is a website that can be updated easily through a user friendly text editor by anybody. In general, dynamic websites are safer, easier to use and provide more longevity than static websites as they can be updated to new technologies very easily.
If a client specifically requests a static website from us, we’re happy to oblige but we strongly recommend building your site on a dynamic system and – by default – all of our websites are dynamically made unless a client states otherwise.
There are, of course, many other factors that come into play when developing a website but these tend to be the factors I give most attention to. All of the above have an effect on your SEO standing and give a better user experience to your visitors and if all five of the above are incorporated, you’ll generally have a good website before even having to look at other elements at a later stage.