Learning design is a daunting task.
When it comes to designing your website, it quickly accelerates. From learning to code, optimizing your site for SEO to ensuring a user-friendly platform... it's overwhelming.
This blog post will walk you through a few expert tips that will help non-designers nail down a few basics to creating a beautiful user-friendly website.
1 | Start with a sketch
Before you decide on a platform, purchase a domain or scroll through a template... sketch.
Sketching helps you get your ideas out in an easy creative outlet. You're not restrained by what you don't know how to do or taking valuable time just to play with ideas. Sketching is a vital first step to get the creative juices a-flowing.
To get started, you'll want to sketch a wireframe. A wireframe is the layout of a website that showcases what elements will be included on each page. When creating a wireframe it's best to keep it simple. Use squares to represent images, lines for text and circles for icons and logos.
Starting with a sketch gives you the opportunity to prepare your content, decide on the optimal layouts and purchase the appropriate number of images and graphics before you have invested any money.
During this stage you don't need to finalize anything, just get a better understanding of layout, elements and usability.
2 | Utilize your brands style guide
Your brand is your businesses home base, so it's important that your brand is properly represented.
When you are designing your website (or a professional designer is, hi!) you want to create brand consistency to reinforce brand recognition. This means pulling out your brands style guide to reference brand colors, patterns, icons, typography, brand collateral and anything else that encompasses your brand.
3 | Leave room to breathe
I'm a big believer in the power of white space.
White space is the intentional use of "negative space" in design. This translates into: anything without a design element is white space. Your website margins, columns, line breaks, etc.
White space gives your design the room to breathe. It's benefits are not just aesthetically pleasing, but tangible: increased legibility, higher comprehension and improved attention to your website.
4 | Fonts
I have a lot to say about fonts. I have a full blog post related to fonts, that I will link below, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
Use legible fonts.
Why? If people can't read it they won't share it. If they don't share it you don't grow a following and if you don't grow a following you don't make any money.
I'll reiterate: easy-to-read fonts equals making money.
5 | Simplify your navigation
Your navigation is a large factor in your websites usability.
An overwhelming navigation that doesn't drive action, sales or connections, isn't serving your purpose.
Try to break down your content into two to three categories: Primary navigation, secondary navigation and blog sidebar navigation. In your primary navigation you may include things like: products page, blog, webinar, shop, services page, etc. In a secondary navigation you may include: about page, contact page, legal and privacy, resources, etc. In a blog sidebar you might include: archives, popular blog posts, about page, resources, etc.
What's included in one should not be included in the other. Simplify.
6 | Invest in high-quality images and graphics
In the end, good design comes down to the details.
It's important to think of all the ways your brand could be simplified, enhanced or more user-friendly through the use of images and graphics. For example: icons, blog post graphics, social media templates, etc.
Not only should you invest in high-quality images for the sake of your audience, but you should also invest in these images for the sake of your brand. Low-quality, grainy, pixelated images make your brand look unprofessional. Investing a little money can go a long way. Consider looking into stock images, icons or templates on Creative Market*.
*I am an affiliate partner of Creative Market. If you purchase something through this link I may earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting JP | Designs!
7 | Mobile-friendly is a must
No website design is complete until it's mobile-friendly.
This is actually one of the reasons why I love Squarespace. All website comes equipped with mobile-friendliness. Plus, they make it really simple to view your mobile website from your computer just by resizing the screen.
"69% of consumers worldwide between 18 and 39 use mobile devices to research products before they buy". - Spade Technology
As the world continues to progress towards mobile dominance, it's important to stay up to date.
Which design tip do you plan on implementing first? Let me know in the comments section below!