Web design can be a complex process, particularly if you aren’t familiar with the methods, skills and requirements that go into making a website. This is especially true when it comes to the more technical elements; there is much more to designing a website than just its colour palette, logo and content. So what are the do’s and don’ts of DIY web design?
Get your pencils out
Don’t be afraid to plan how you want things to look by drawing things on paper first. This will allow you to plan the timeline to the end result more efficiently if you’ve got a solid idea of the visuals, layout, pages etc. This can also seek to solve any impending usability problems, such as: will the design be easy to navigate around? Is the design functional?
It’s important any images incorporated in the design are compressed into a smaller file size (whilst retaining the image quality as much as possible). Graphics should be optimised as PNG or GIF files, and photos should be optimised as JPEGs. If you upload the images in their original large file sizes, the page will take longer to load. Having a bad pagespeed can ultimately impact your ranking by search engines, making it harder for people to find you.
Make navigation easy
Users need to be able to move fluidly from A to B. Even if the design itself looks amazing, it will have no use if it is simply too complicated to move around. This will in turn make site visitors click off instantly, making your bounce rate soar (which for SEO purposes is bad news). Make sure to include a search bar, and get rid of any broken links.
Visually capture people’s attention
Different components of web design entice users more than others, but the key here is to keep it simple and maintain a balance: too much visual material (such as lots of images and videos) on a page can be distracting, so divide up the design by incorporating subtle dynamics (such as patterns and image & text carousels) amongst helpful content. By sticking to simple measures (such as focusing on the site being text heavy), it will result in a pleasant user experience (but, don’t leave too much white space!).
Incorporate written content
Embodying good, original and relevant content in your web design does wonders for your SEO. Use title and header tags, as well as a few relevant keywords for site-wide written content (on-page text, blogs, articles etc). Try and make the on-page text direct and to the point – users will get bored of having to read several paragraphs when all they needed was two sentences.
Build a site that’s entirely Flash
This is the ultimate no-no: aside from their visual presence sometimes being too overbearing (flashing images and videos and moving text), Flash web design means the written site content is difficult for Google to “crawl”, and therefore you won’t be able to rank very highly. On top of this, Flash designs can take a while to load and aren’t always compatible with different browsers.
Forget to test!
Some web designs don’t always format correctly (don’t fit the resolution, side scrolling etc) when on different devices and web browsers, so test the design across all of these platforms before you finish your project.
Make text unreadable
Choose a font that’s a readable size and colour, and don’t pair with a background where it’ll clash. Format all written correctly, using bold, italics, underline only where necessary.
If you don’t feel brave enough to take the plunge with your own DIY web design, that’s where we step in! We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to drop us a message about what we can do for you, or take a look at our web design page for more information.