In the current world we live in, most people access information digitally. Some refer to this period as the age of information or the digital age. With that in mind you should be aware that your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. A visually appealing and well-designed website can significantly impact user engagement, credibility, and conversion rates. To ensure that your website makes a lasting impression, consider implementing these seven ways to visually improve it.
- Responsive Design
In today’s world people access websites on various devices, so ensuring a responsive design is paramount. A responsive website adapts to different screen sizes and orientations, providing a seamless browsing experience on smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Google also favors responsive websites in its search rankings, making it essential for SEO.Take a moment and think about the information you access on a daily basis. Do you get frustrated needing to pinch, zoom, scroll, just to read that information? Do you want your website visitors to face that same frustration?
- Streamlined Navigation
Simplify your website’s navigation menu to make it intuitive and user- friendly. Use clear labels, concise descriptions, and a logical hierarchy to help visitors find what they’re looking for quickly. Consider implementing a sticky menu that stays visible as users scroll down the page for easy access to essential links.One area I see many website owners fail at is with mobile navigation. Ideally your website navigation should switch to a mobile menu also known as the hamburger menu. You may have seen this on some websites which appear as three stacked lines. When you click on that icon the menu scrolls out displaying the full menu.Furthermore, something to consider in the near future is being compliant for ADA. The American Disabilities Act has a set of standards for website owners to follow to make their websites compliant. While I won’t cover that in this article, look for an upcoming article on that topic.
- Typography Matters
Pay close attention to typography choices. Select fonts that are easy to read and align with your brand’s personality. Establish a consistent hierarchy with different font sizes, styles, and weights for headings, subheadings, and body text. Adequate line spacing (leading) and line length are also crucial for readability.Too often I see a hodgepodge of sizes and font styles on the same page and throughout the website. What many website owners don’t realize is that font settings can be set globally for the website with the use of CSS. Cascading style sheets is a simple code that can be applied to your site to keep things uniform. The good news is that your website most likely has a place in your admin section to set these changes via your user interface.
- Color Scheme and Contrast
Choose an appealing color scheme that reflects your brand identity. Use colors strategically to guide users’ attention to important elements like calls to action (CTAs) and headlines. Ensure there’s sufficient contrast between text and background to enhance readability and consider color psychology to evoke specific emotions in your audience.Once again, these settings can generally be set in your site’s administration panel. This makes it easier to keep things uniform and keep from needing to guess the exact color every time. Since we mentioned ADA earlier, I’d like to point out here a consideration should be made for color blindness. There are services where you can check your color palette for that as well.
- High-Quality Imagery and Graphics
As a web guy and graphic artist, this is a touchy subject for me—quality images and graphics that align with your brand and message. Avoid stock photos that look out of place and are not up to the quality of the rest of your website. If possible, opt for original and relevant visuals whenever you can. Optimize images for the web to ensure fast loading times without sacrificing quality.Our phones can take high quality images and are much larger than needed for the web. There are compression plugins you can add to your website to help optimize the images you choose to use. Consider using custom illustrations or icons to add a unique touch to your website. You can also find many icon style images searching vector stock photos.
- Whitespace and Layout
Embrace whitespace, also known as negative space, to give your content room to breathe. A cluttered layout can overwhelm visitors and make your website appear unprofessional. Use grids and alignment to create a visually pleasing and organized structure. Balance content and visuals to maintain a clean and inviting design. We talked about fonts and spacing earlier and the same is true here. By utilizing padding and margins you can add whitespace to make the text area less crowded.
- Consistent Branding
Brand consistency is vital for building trust and recognition. It’s important to be consistent with colors, logos, and typography across your website and other digital channels. Implement brand guidelines to ensure that every element adheres to your brand’s visual identity. There are many brands we think of that do this. Coca-Cola always comes to mind with their signature cursive font and their red color. You identify that immediately to them. You should do the same anywhere your branding is utilized.
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- Interactive Elements Enhance user engagement with interactive elements such as hover effects, animations, and micro interactions. These subtle touches can make your website more engaging and memorable. But don’t overdo it; simplicity leads to better user experiences. I’m sure you’ve visited a website and noticed something a little extra that gave you a wow moment.
For me, it could be when I click on a button and the button color changes as I hover and again when I click. It gives me the satisfaction of knowing I’m in the right spot, and I know I’ve clicked instead of a lifeless button that remains the same. I’ve seen other elements such as an image that grows slightly when you hover over it—just to give that extra effect. Many times, these little things are not difficult but make you stand out just that much more.
In conclusion, a visually appealing website is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining visitors. By implementing responsive design, intuitive navigation, thoughtful typography, a cohesive color scheme, high-quality visuals, proper layout, and consistent branding, you can create a website that not only looks great but also effectively communicates your message and drives user engagement. If done right, your prospects and customers will hopefully tell others about your website just because they were impressed with the content and usability.
I feel it is important to regularly assess and update your website’s design to stay current and relevant in the ever-evolving digital landscape. I often recommend a website owner to have others look over their website or hire someone for a quick website review or consultation every few years to make sure their website is up to date and visually pleasing!