Website Design Principles

Here is a list of website design principles which can be used for a new design or to tune the performance of an existing website.

Does the website portray the brand image?

It is imperative that the website presents the brand in the best possible light and that the look is appealing to the target audience.

Is it intuitive with clear navigation?

  • A website needs to present to the user the information the user wants in a clear intuitive manner. Users are by nature impatient and need to find what they want quickly and easily. It is important to ensure that search capabilities are user friendly and do not give a user 2 link options where 1 will do. They will just click one of them and be away!
  • And remember that users do not read they scan and look for links to get them to the information they want.

Focus on Usability and use clinics

  • Ensure the website is easy to use with clear and readable content and elicit feedback. Take a representative samples from your user population and run tests and clinics to get their feedback.
  • Go for instant gratification as this will reap rewards.

Technical considerations

  • Response times are critical so, check page load times and streamline the code if necessary. Slow response times mean high page bounce rates and lower conversion rates!
  • Browser compatibility is a key factor so check the layout and performance in different browsers specifically, IE, Firefox and Google Chrome to check for consistency.

Website Analysis

There are a spectrum of tools available to analyse websites, like Google Analytics but what should you do with the data? Some good analytics measures and techniques are shown below.

Anaytics Measures

  1. Average time on site and page views per visit are good measures to understand how interesting an compelling a website is.
  2. Mearurement of visits, unique visitors and new visitors are fundamental to assess traffic and use behaviour
  3. Bounce Rate measures how many visitors jump out from a particular page
  4. Conversion Rates and Goal Achievement will assess the number of successful transactions together with the origin of the traffic. Where there are intermediate stages, establishing goals in Google analytics enables these to be measured.

Anaysis Techniques

  1. Analyse bounce rate for all high traffic pages. If these are above the site average take action to look at the relevancy of content and investigate why users are leaving.
  2. Review all exit pages with a high exit rate to determine the reasons.
  3. Heat maps, which show click and hover density on a page, can be used to review user interaction areas on pages, but remember that people might be just reading content and not clicking!

It is important to design the website to promote the brand image and make it intuitive for the user. But it will never be right first time! The trick is to measure, analyse and continually improve.