Web Design Aesthetics
Beauty Is Skin Deep: Paying Attention to the Aesthetics of Your Website
Granted, a great website goes beyond simply using the right colours or perfectly complementary fonts, but there are times when the aesthetics of your website matter more than anything else. Depending on how a user locates your website, you might only have a few seconds to impress them or face losing them to a competitor. The aesthetics of your site do not only serve to please the eyes, but can evoke certain feelings as well.
Whether you’re just starting out building your website or you intend to redesign an existing site, this article will present pertinent points that must be considered in order to come up with the right aesthetics for your website.
Your Website is for the Users, Not You
You may be a long-standing entrepreneur or could be new to the game; whatever the case, you might make the mistake of building a site that you like, rather than one visitors will like. Perhaps it’s not easy for some people , but you need to be able to look at your site’s aesthetics from the viewpoint of an outsider - and not just anyone, but your potential customer or target audience.
It’s not possible to cater for every single person, because two people with similar interests may have different preferences. For instance, one may prefer lively and colourful, while the other likes mysterious and dark. Therefore, you need to understand what it is about your website or business that attracts different people and then play that up whilst taking into account the persona of your core users.
Start with Your Brand Aesthetics
The fact that your brand should be reflected on your site should be obvious. Customers need to see the colours and logo on the site and instantly feel a connection to you. To encourage this, your branding needs to reflect your company’s personality and give off a positive vibe. You need to get your branding right from the start, because this is what makes you memorable. It has to be consistent across every aspect of your business which your customers are going to come into contact with.
If you’re not happy with your current brand aesthetic, get a graphic artist to design something else with the precise imagery, typeface, colours and mood that will work for your company. If customers or potential clients see that your branding is consistent across various aspects of your business - from your brochures to your website - your will be viewed as professional and trustworthy.
Have You Chosen the Right Colour Scheme?
Choosing the colours for your website is not simply a matter of throwing a bunch of complementary colours together. There has to be a solid reason why you chose those colours - just as your brand colours must have been selected for a reason. So, you’ll see why brand aesthetics need to come first; since you have to maintain consistency across all aspects of your business, your brand colours will inform your choice of the colour scheme you use for your site.
You need to think about the mood you want the colours on your website to evoke, what they represent and how they will be interpreted. Though you’ll want your colour scheme to be warm and inviting, your niche remains an important consideration.
Switch up Your Photography
Photographs are important elements of the aesthetics of just about any website, regardless the industry. As a general rule, try to avoid using stock photos, because people can often tell when you do so. Even if you’re unable to use 100% original photos across your site, endeavour to use more original ones. Too many stock photos can make customers less likely to trust your company.
An important note on using photographs: you need to be careful about using too many photographs across your website. File size matters, because to many large photos can slow down your website. Apart from the size of your photos, choosing the right web host, the amount of client-side processing and the number of parallel requests (amongst other factors) can affect the load time of your site. If your site is slow, all your hard work in making sure your aesthetics are right could amount to nothing.
Does Your Website Flow Nicely?
Call it flow or navigation, your website needs to have a straightforward navigation that makes it easy for users to find any content that interests them. If a page’s URL reads www.freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting/, users will want to actually be able to search for domain names. While you’ll want to keep it simple, you also need that page to be easily navigated and to fit into the aesthetic of the entire site.
For you to design navigation that works, you need to have a clearly thought out information architecture (IA) in place. To do this, you must be able to look at the content of your site from the perspective of the user. Consider the main goal each type of user has for being on your site, the allowances that need to be made for future content, the purpose of every page in the wider scheme and the exact pages your website requires.
Use White Space Adequately
Great aesthetics are easy on the eye - and to achieve that, you need to avoid crowding your web pages. As they say, “less is more”. You can’t have your Calls to Action (CTA) and images crowded with even more Calls to Action and images. To make your content easier to read, break up your blog pages with indentations, block quotes, headlines and bulleted lists.
There is a lot that can be achieved using whitespace, including the ability to create balance. You can use it to highlight Calls to Action and other important content, as well as to define your style. For instance, the use of whitespace is fundamental to minimalist design. You can do even more with whitespace by letting your fancy typography stand out.
So, are you ready to design or redesign your site for better aesthetics? Give it a go!