Website Design Best Practices: The Homepage Experience
Anyone with a driver’s license can get from point A to point B in a car. But to excel as a professional in NASCAR or Formula One racing, you’ve go to have some serious skills that have been attained by many years of study and real-world experience.
Website design is the same way. Although you, or someone you know, may be able to put together a website, calling upon the expertise of a professional can go a long way in getting you to the “finish line” ahead of your competitors.
There’s an art and craft to the process of website design — not only in creating an attractive aesthetic, but also in determining the precise functionality and purpose of each web page — ensuring that everything works well, has a clear message, and includes easy-to-identify next steps.
This is often referred to as the “User Experience,” or UX, which is the culmination of form, function and message.
In this installment of Website Design Best Practices, let’s focus on some key elements of a successful homepage …
Whether you choose a vertical navigation, like the one we created for Brandon Eyes, or a horizontal navigation like the one we created for Lane’s Bakery, your navigation bar needs to be simple, and customer-centric. Being metaphorical, or using industry jargon that only you understand should be avoided at all costs in the navigation. If you have a drop down or fly out menu, each subpage should be listed in an order that’s easy for a customer to find — as opposed to what’s most important to you. Alphabetical order is typically a good way to go — especially if your dropdown menu is a “laundry list of services.” Remember, the visitor shouldn’t have to work hard to find what they want.
Your imagery needs to be engaging, and connect with the viewer on some level. Often times, it’s an emotional connection we’re going for, but imagery can also set a mood or tone. Are we going for warm, friendly, approachable, professional or sexy? Tingalls Graphic Design works works with each of our customers to make sure we’re using (or creating) imagery that’s in line with their brand and their company goals. And although stock photos are an easy way to populate a website with imagery, unique photography is always a stronger choice. Regardless, avoid generic images like this one …
WEBSITE BUTTON DESIGN
Buttons, also referred to as widgets back in the day, are your friend. Used wisely, they can guide a customer, telling them exactly where to go next. Like a good traffic cop, well-designed buttons clearly and quickly direct your customers. Want to highlight a new product or service, or drive customers to a particular place? Buttons make it easy. The simpler you make it for someone to go somewhere you want, the more likely they will go there. Here’s an excellent example of button use that Tingalls Graphic Design created for The Village of Orangeville …
The copy on your website, including your headlines, also needs to be clear, specific and benefit driven — while being engaging and customer friendly. Nobody cares if you’ve won 20 awards. Customers care whether or not you can solve a problem, or tend to a pain point they have. Make sure you tell them how you can do this for them.
Thank you for visiting Tingalls Graphic Design! If you need any type of assistance with your website, please contact us to set up a complimentary meeting to discuss your needs further.