When people ask you about good website design, do you actually know what they mean? Do you know what to look for in order to make your website perform better and stand out? Do you think that a website design evaluation is based only on the look of the website? Do you know how to evaluate your company’s website so it isn’t among the poorly designed websites of the internet?
There is more to the success of a website design that the look and ability to function. Ideally, a successful website would be built with a strategy in mind — one that involves multiple different focuses.
The four key focuses for website evaluation are content and readability, aesthetics, usability, and social media and search engine optimization (SEO).
This is the category that most people think of when determining a website evaluation criteria. Yes, the aesthetics are an important aspect, but it’s important to note that there is much more to it than meets the eye.
The visual appeal has been proven to make websites appear more credible to a user. This involves the colour selection to best represent your brand. You shouldn’t have more than four colours dominating your website and all the colours should mesh well together. It’s also important to choose colours that are high enough in contrast to assist those with colour blindness or visual impairment.
When it comes to website design, this is the area you can showcase the brand’s personality. Every image, colour and word that is chosen will impact the personality. Once you decide on the personality, it’s important to keep it consistent throughout the entire with the headings, word choice and colours.
Make sure the fonts you use on your website are easy to use no matter the screen resolution that the visitor may have. The font should also be designed with your target audience in mind. For example, if you are running a website that is targeted towards the elderly, it would be wise to bring the font up a size or two so they will be able to read it better without having to adjust their browsers.
The last thing that we will make note of in aesthetics is visual noise. Noise refers to the amount of stuff on your web page in comparison to white space. It is okay for your design to be simple, in fact people like when a website doesn’t appear too busy. The ultimate goal of design is to encourage a visitor to the action that you want them to, may that be requesting a consultation or signing up for a newsletter.
Content and Readability
When evaluating a web design, the content and readability of the website affects the bounce rate and the effectiveness to convince a visitor to contact your company or buy your product.
Often companies live by the phrase ‘set it and forget it’, which is actually the opposite of what you should do in regards to you website content. Your website should have content updated regularly to reflect the most recent information. This can be as simple as keeping the copyright date in the footer of your website to the current year to not leaving old promotions, coupons and other ads on your website. By keeping your content new, you are enticing your visitors to come back.
When evaluating a web design, make sure that the website copy is succinct but still informative. The copywriting style need to reflect the website’s purpose and speak to the intended target audience. This can be done with your choice of tone, style, and voice. Once you choose, the content needs to be consistent throughout the entire site.
In terms of technical readability, be sure to ask yourself the following questions when doing your website evaluation:
• Does the contrast between the background colour and the text make reading easier?
• Can the website text be resized through the browser or are there CSS setting restrictions?
• Is text broken into easy to read chunks?
• Are these readable chunks highlighted using headings, subheadings, and emphasized features to assist a visitor with skimming content?
• Within the text, are there definitions of jargon terms or explanations of otherwise unknown subjects to the visitor?
Evaluating websites can be difficult, if you don’t know what to look for. The behind the scenes aspects of the website can often be forgotten when evaluating a web design.
A big thing to focus on with usability is the ability to be optimized for mobile users and all different types of browsers. And with that usability, you need to consider how quickly the website is loading. This is important because if visitors get bored waiting, they will leave your website.
The search ability of a website is an important function for any website because it helps visitors find the information they want, faster. This will improve their overall experience and will increase the likeliness of them returning to the site.
Links on your website must be working, both internally and externally. This can be a major turn off for customers since they will get frustrated with the broken links and go to a competitor’s website for their needs instead.
Search Engine Optimization
This is an element of evaluating a web design that many people may not think about, but there are a lot of ways that the design of a website can impact SEO. Both SEO and social networking need to start with a strong web design. For example, if your website has a lot of graphics or images, you need to add ALT tags to the image descriptions so search engines will be able to see them.
Another thing to ask yourself when evaluating a web design is if the website it HTML efficient. If it’s not, it will hurt your search rankings. Other ways to improve SEO is making sure that coding is efficient, relevant keywords are being used in heading tags, title tags and meta-descriptions, and ensuring there is a site map. Consider the way your web design will affect search ranking and make the appropriate adjustments.
If you are looking to for a full website design evaluation and an updated web design to reflect those changes, contact Edkent Media today.
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