The Science of Web Development vs The Emotion of Design: Part I – The Science of Web Development

We live in an increasingly digitised world; one that is evolving literally on a second-by-second basis.

Designing a website is no longer a simple task of putting together a template and hoping it looks nice – these days a designer must focus on user-experience and conversion aspects, a side effect to aesthetic appeal.

But, with the world changing so quickly, how can we possibly bring all of these aspects together to make a successful website that appeals as broadly as possible?

The Building Blocks of Web Design That Works

a hand assembling building blocks

As we’ve mentioned, the internet moves like a cat chasing a fly: quick, skittish, agile and utterly unforgiving. This is why web developers must load their armoury with all manner of weapons to ensure they keep themselves on the cusp of what is defined as best practice at any given time.

Below we’ve highlighted three fundamentals you should address before all else.

Conversion

The primary goal of creating a website in the first place is to ensure you’re converting visitors through your chosen call-to-action; whether that be email sign-ups or product purchases.

Ensuring that the customer can perform your desired action with minimum disruption is precisely what you want.

Below are three things to remember:

  • Create Interesting Landing Pages – Creating beautiful landing pages with video, images and well-written content is not only good for the search engines but a significant conversion point for the customer too.
  • Use Subtle Cues – Guide your user’s attention to the areas of the site you want them to see. This could be achieved by using a different colour or font.
  • Design Above the Fold – Magazines and newspapers have been doing this for as long as we’ve been reading them. In short, ‘above the fold’ means ensuring that your users can find what they need without having to scroll and scroll.

User-Friendly Design 

User-friendly design is similar to designing for a conversion, and together they form a large part of the foundation of modern day SEO.

There are four essential elements to remember when it comes to designing for user experience:

  • Navigation – Does the site include a search feature? Is it easy to see from the navigation bar? Are the company’s contact details easy to find? Thinking from the perspective of the user is the best way to understand what and how they could be looking for something.
  • Readability – Is the text easy to see? Is it large enough and is it sufficiently contrasting with the background to allow easy reading of the text? 
  • Load Time – If your site loads for more than 5 seconds, you’re in trouble. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds in fact, you’re likely to lose valuable opportunities to increase your conversion rates. 
  • Clean & Clear Design – If your pages are too clumsy and cluttered, then take the time to organise them. Creating a sitemap is a great way to visualise your site as well as giving you some further keyword targeting opportunities for further down the line.

Think Mobile First

Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, have redefined the way an entire generation lives, works, eats and socialises. Responsive designs are the reaction to this trend, where 52.2% of internet traffic comes through a mobile device.

Having a responsive website is a critical cog in the machine of effective design. It’s relevant to both customers and search engines.

There’s nothing worse than finding a product you like on your phone, only to click through and discover the page is a jumbled mess – you’ll just go elsewhere.

Responsive design essentially morphs to suit whatever the page diameters of the device, and if this isn’t something you’re doing, then you’re just driving your custom into the arms of a competitor, so it’s worth making the effort, especially with the Mobile First algorithm now up and running.

 

Bringing all these elements together, in theory, is just the start. Adding them into the mixing bowl and creating something is a different beast entirely.

Getting this part wrong could cost money, valuable resources and ultimately business, so it pays to take a little extra time to get things right.

 

In Part II, we’ll be discussing the more aesthetic elements to your website, the emotions behind design, colours and which could work best for your site.