If you’re thinking about creating a new website, you are not alone. There are countless sites online, each vying for the attention of consumers and casual web surfers alike. Learn how to focus your design ambitions on the end-user and in doing so, create a website that truly engages and stands apart from the rest.
1. Know and understand your audience. Depending on your product, service or content, you will be drawing a specific group of people and it’s important that you know who they are and what sets them apart from the general population. Study statistics for your intended audience and know things like average age, income, preferences, politics and more. The greater your knowledge about them, the greater your appeal can be in presenting them with images and information.
2. Keep the site clean and simple. What people want most from a website is ease of use, not pages filled with flashing ads and hidden icons or electronic gnomes that pop out of text they are trying to read. Design a site that is attractive without being overwhelming and make sure it’s easy to use for a layperson.
3. Make it interactive and enticing. Placing videos and miscellaneous tidbits enrich the experience for the user and help you connect with them. Make the overall impression your site gives a favorable one by captivating people and making them forget about the meeting they have that afternoon or the floor that must be mopped soon.
4. Give them a way to talk to you. Leaving feedback about a site makes people feel important and shows that you value them and the experience they have on your site. Make it easy for them to post a comment about your site, products, or content and answer them within a reasonable amount of time, even if it’s just with a simple “thanks for stopping by.” Monitor visitor comments for annoying spam or hecklers too, but otherwise leave it open and relaxed.
5. Feature a fantastic menu. People need to know how to reach a certain destination on your site from the homepage, otherwise they may click away quickly. Invite people to investigate all that you have to offer with an easy to follow menu and make it clear where everything is right from the start. This offers them the suggestion to stay and have a look around!
6. Leave them wanting more. A great site with awesome content all tailored to your target audience makes a great first impression. Give them reasons to keep coming back with future announcements and follow-up. As you design your site, think of the different ways you can keep it fresh and updated. Anticipate a following and know in advance how you will keep their curiosity peaked and satisfied.
7. Always test and debug prior to launch. No matter how well designed your site is or how good it looks, it all must work! Have test users try it out and intentionally try to find bugs, glitches and vulnerabilities that you should be aware of before launch. Keep immaculate records of the site’s development from the onset so you can easily retrace your steps to locate problems and patch code.