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The seven-step design checklist for your new website

20/03/2015
Cameron
Cameron

Whether you’re completely new to website design, or have some experience in the past but are just looking to do something new, designing a website can be a daunting task. What features should you include? Here are a few of the basic things to get your website started:

How are you using your logo?

During the design process of your logo, a great deal of thought will have gone into making sure that it represents your brand and says enough about you as a company. Make the most of this and place it on your site in a position where it will be seen. The most common place that readers look on a page at first is the top left hand corner, so ideally this is where your logo will be. Take care to choose a high-quality logo, and ensure it links to the homepage of your site, whatever page you are on.

Are you using space sensibly?

A website that is too busy will stop anyone wanting to read it, so don’t overdo it. Make sure that your key elements such as your call to action and other important features are highlighted. Create white space between elements to separate them visually. Keep paragraphs short and concise, and remove unnecessary content, to keep your page looking crisp and clear for visitors to view. Use imagery strategically to separate content, making the page look clean and fresh.

Can visitors use your site easily?

Imagine you are a visitor to your site for the first time. Is it easy for you to navigate around the pages to find the information that you are looking for? Keep menu options along a horizontal line at the top of the page, with secondary options dropping down below. Place the highest importance elements closer to the top of the page so that visitors are encouraged to use these as much as possible. Mega-menus look great but ensure they don’t give too much information. See each page as an extension of your site so you lead visitors into your site.

Is everything easy to read?

Spacing things out is not the only way to help visitors to read your site – choosing fonts that are simple can make reading your website on a mobile device or desktop a lot easier than complex or large-scale fonts. Try to choose a font no smaller than 11px, and be consistent with your font. Using the same font throughout your website will give a more professional feel.

What about your images?

It is vital to use images that are large enough for your page. It may sound obvious, but using smaller images will stretch and distort them or leave them pixelated. This contributes to a confused and unrefined look to your site, making visitors more likely to bounce away from your page. Use a skilled photographer where possible to create the highest quality and most suitable images for your site, or purchase images from a range of high-quality photo sources such as iStock (www.istock.com). Be careful to choose images that are specific to your page, and don’t appear as a generic theme image. Scale the images to 96dpi to ensure that they are web resolution to keep your site fast.

Have you considered the fold?

Every page that appears has a certain amount that shows. Using space outside of these boundaries will be less effective. Users may not scroll down the page to that important piece of information at the bottom, so make it as easy as possible for visitors to see everything that they should with as little effort as possible.

Is your site responsive?

Responsive sites are growing in popularity, and it is no surprise that Google is beginning to rank them more highly too. This just means that they adapt to the size of the screen that they are being viewed on, for optimum effect. Designing your site from scratch is the perfect opportunity to ensure that it is responsive.

For more information and tips for designing your new website, get in touch today on 0845 643 6229.

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