Before designing a professional website, there are many design factors and procedures prior to the launching of any website. Whether you are designing the website from scratch or re-designing, it is important to sit down seamlessly plan out your vision for any design or development projects. There are very strict guidelines that must be considered when working with government agencies, including necessary procedures that comply with the user requirements for website usability goals, strong professional website design, powerful content, and promising output. Every website serves a purpose and is directed to a particular target audience, with unique specific performance goals. Let’s take a glance at a few design evaluation elements that can help ensure your website matches the necessary requirements of success.
Listed below are 8 helpful website design tips to consider during the initial stages of any website design and development project.
- Define User Requirements & Website Goals: What is the ultimate goal for each user that lands on your website? The goal could be to inspire an action such as; product sale, a survey, a download, a donation, a contact form, etc. First define the goal, and then define a strategy to keep the user engaged long enough to complete that goal. Set and state the goals prior to the design and development process. Defining the goals for your website will help the design implementation render smoothly.
- Define/Know Your Target Audience: Knowing your target audience will help you understand their expectations. You should know where they hang out, what types websites they like to visit, understand their passions and motivations in life. Once you know what they expect from your site, you can go above and beyond their expectations, in order to truly stand out from you competition. This is a processes in itself, the more research and evaluation you place into understanding your audience, the easier it will be to capture their hearts.
- Content Creation/Placement: Content should be written carefully to match the vision of the website, capture the attention of the target audience and promote user-interaction. It is equally important to evaluate the placement of the content with proper categorization and navigation elements. Usually, re-arranging the content with optimized navigation can help produce the effectiveness of the website, and increase conversion rates tremendously.
- Design “Call to Actions”: When we think of design we think of colors and powerful graphics. The performance of the design is more important than the amount of colors and “eye popping” graphics. Design is not only about colors schemes, it is also about usability and navigation. Spending time on the navigation and design may help contribute to quicker conversion rates and completed goals.
- Compatible and Accessible: Website Accessibility is an important component to evaluate before the site is created. It is important to clearly state your expectations and requirements for accessibility to your website design and development team. Government agencies often require the site to be Section 508 Compliance. Browsers are continuously releasing new versions and feature updates, therefore it is important to fully implement cross browser compatibility. Although the latest version of Firefox is 5.0.1, some users may not have updated their browsers. When your website is not accessible to your target audience, you risk missing out on the full potential and value of your website.
- Consider SEO & Social Media Factors (Search Engine Visibility): The majority of businesses have adapted the social media marketing , SEO trends and the recent requirements for effective search engine visibility. Adding the latest social media plugins on each website page and website blog is important, not only for search engine marketing, but for overall branding awareness. Think of SEO and Social Media as useful tools to connect your brand to your target audience. With SEO, it is important to build your website on a solid foundation. On-site SEO includes website speed, URL’s, link structure, and etc. When you design your site with validated code, optimized for SEO, it will be of great value to you once you begin your online marketing campaigns. For more tips on designing a website to be SEO-friendly, you can read our previous article titled SEO Tips for Web Designers.
- Plan to Measure Design Performance: Once you launch your website you want to be able to track the performance of your goals. There are many tools used to implement tracking codes in order to understand the paths of the users. You can even measure multiple design layouts via on Website Optimization tools. These rotate a variety of designs to measure which combination of colors schemes, buttons and content blocks, contribute to the highest number of conversions. Implementing proper measuring techniques can help you understand and learn about how to revise content, designs and navigation –pushing you one step closer to your target audience.
- Group Testing: It is important to gather the opinions of the designs and goals from a variety of people. What you think looks nice, may not be appealing to another. It is not always necessary to specifically ask your target audience to advise you on how they would like the design and navigation of your website to be, however asking a variety of opinions can help add helpful contributions.
Planning is extremely important! Remember, design is the first impression of your website. The first impression is critical in order to keep your customers engaged. With proper planning and organization, your website can serve as a successful tool to meet your business goals and capture your target audience. Magic Logix is a Dallas Web Design Company that specializes in website design, web development, ecommerce solutions, SEO and Social Media Marketing. to learn more about Magic Logix, visit www.magiclogix.com.