What makes great web design? Don’t forget the socials!
When approaching designing a website, the psychology behind aesthetic choices is just as important as content, functionality and navigational aspects. By understanding how the human mind works when journeying through a website, this can help to direct and to some extent, dictate how a site is constructed to best appeal to your target audience.
Being big believers in the power of aesthetics, design plays a huge role in The Media Octopus’ ability to connect with businesses and consumers alike. Consumers, for the most part, are visual in their consumption of media, which is why we thought we’d outline how best to approach these psychological and digital elements of web design.
Consider what the consumer is looking for
Depending on what people are looking for online, this affects what they notice first when first clicking through to a website. The needs of the users can be separated into two categories: they may be looking for information about something, in which case a call to action or clear search bar should be prominent; on the other hand, if a user is looking to purchase something, it is important to include a specific product search function or at last an e-commerce category page.
Whatever the purpose of your website, ensure that it is designed to accommodate each type of user, while keeping it clear, simple and not too complicated to browse through the different sections. Simplicity is key; if a user is overwhelmed with too much choice, they aren’t as satisfied or engaged with the site. By limiting how many decisions the user needs to make throughout the website through sectioning content into main pages, they are more likely to stay on a page and find what they are looking for with ease.
It’s all about content
“Content is king” has been a phrase used here, there and everywhere and has never been more important in this digital and online marketing age. Whether a website, blog, social media channel or print material, content is one of the most integral parts of communicating your message and engaging your audience. Together with typography, balance with images and formatting, this is just as important as the text itself when it comes to web design.
Get the typography right
The choice of lettering style can greatly influence how we feel about a product or service, whether we are conscious of it or not. The curves of the font, kerning, colour and state of the wording can have a strong impact as to whether they respond positively or negatively, plus has the power to make them buy or learn about a company’s product.
Interestingly though, keep in mind that two different types of font don’t mean the same thing to the user. By focusing on the branding behind the typography used throughout the pages of the website, this has a direct influence on the overall effectiveness of the site design and how well the user responds to it as a whole.
Format your layout to maximise attention
The structure of your website and individual pages plays a key part in keeping hold of the user’s attention, which is estimated at being a very short 8 seconds. Thus it is crucial to grab them as quickly and effectively as possibly; call to action headlines and button elements should be the primary fundamentals of the design, as they jump out first, and then build the rest of the structure around these. The user will form a judgement of the whole website from these immediate elements so it is important to get these right.
Balance it out between images and text
The choice of images, photos and colours also play a big part in influencing the user’s sentiment of the brand and website. All these elements have a subconscious effect on telling the user what they should do on a website and how they should interact with the brand. Choose colours and images with positive associations, or at least which represent the emotion you want to portray about your business and what you intend the user to feel about your brand.
Consider the layout, ratio and composition of images and text. Placing text or other elements on top of photos requires the right contrast to make it readable, for example. Maximise the use of the text surrounding the image to support it and/or reinforce the message whether through captions of assisting call to action headlines; by having strong text around an image, this can result in increased clicks and more time spent on site. Finally, make sure the ratio between image(s) and text is equal and not too excessive either way; ensure the website and individual pages achieve the right balance.
Don’t forget the socials!
Social media is now an integral part for many businesses; consumers are likely to not only search for your company website but also which channels you have a presence on – they like to see your social side. Make it easy for the user and have clear social buttons on your website so they can click through to your channels conveniently. Another key part of this is including social share buttons, which work especially well for blog post, infographics or videos, so your consumers can easily share this content.