A website has become a necessity for small to large business owners who want to reach their customers easily and conveniently and increase awareness about their website. Apparently, just any website won’t work these days. You need in terms of navigability, features, consistency, and content. When you’re competing with tens of thousands of other online sites, how do you stand out?
The answer is web design, and when it comes to designing a website, it’s the small details that distinguish the ordinary from the extraordinary.
Take Maserati. This luxury car has the same number of wheels, windows and doors, and seats as ordinary car. Because of the time spent by the designer on details, Maserati puts other cars to shame with its plush leather seats, prestigious wood interior, auto parking, entertainment system, and more.
The same is true in web design. A website that pays attention to details holds more value than generic sites.
Consider taking a closer look at a site that impresses you at first sight. You will realize that it’s the subtle details that set it apart from competition. The core concept here is value – you want a website that gives value to you and your customers.
Some web designers overwhelm a website with unnecessary details that it looks cluttered and overwhelming. What you want are details that are not only visually appealing, but also enhances user experience – be it the way your visitors perceive the theme of the site or the level of ease in navigating it.
To reiterate, esthetics and usability are the details you want to focus on in order to enhance user experience. By having a deep understanding of how the interplay of different visual elements – layout, contrast, negative space, etc – create a different impression, you will be able to manipulate them better in order to influence people’s perception and use of a website.
So how can a website create a difference? Here are some examples and tips.
- The Concentrate website is one of the most cited examples of a clever visual wordplay. Concentrate is an application designed to increase your productivity when you study or work by blocking distracting apps and websites. The website features an ad-like image of a halved orange beside a can of “Concentrate” juice.
- Don’t make your use of drop shadows too obvious. Drop shadows are great way for adding dept to a flat, 2-dimensional medium. When overdone or poorly executed, they can give a website an unprofessional look. Subtlety is essential. Also, make sure to use consistent lighting source. For instance, if you use two shadows, see to it that the source of light is the same. How intense a shadow appears will depend on the color of the background. Use dark shadows for darker backgrounds and light shadows for lighter backgrounds.
- As with drop shadows, practice subtlety when using gradients. Gradients can help pull in different elements together, but when overdone, they can make your website look heavy. Colors degradation should be smooth and stick to one color (when using gradient) to create a light, elegant effect.
- Emphasize call to actions and improve readability of navigation bar by selecting color wisely. When navigation buttons are easy to read, they increase navigability of a site.
- Make sure the elements are properly aligned to create a neat and organized effect. Grid system also improves white space as well as simplifies the designing process. You can use available grid systems or you can create your own.
- Use icons. Icons not only add personality to a website, they also make it easier for your visitors to quickly find the information they’re looking for. Hence, they help make your site interface is more user-friendly. Just make sure not to overload your site with icons.
- Attention to details can be measured up to pixel level. Pixel lines have many uses. One, they can be used to highlight a color. Two, they serve as good contrast between two colors. Three, they help make outlines more visual distinctive against other elements of the page.
- Scale fonts to a readable size. Texts should be arranged into scannable chucks to make your site look more elegant.
- Make sure background image or text does not overwhelm the page. Rather, make sure the background textures are muted. They should add style and personality, but they should not take away your attention from the main page.
As with any product, creating an extraordinary website requires patience and a great amount of attention to details. We have given you 9 useful tips, but there are lot more things you can actually do to create a visually stunning and useful website.