10 Steps to a Killer Web Design

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 7 years ago

10 Steps to a Killer Web Design
The Internet has become a central (and sometimes the only) place for many businesses to market their brand and products or services. A brand's website is now more important than ever. 

Does your website have a killer design? 

How do you get a great web design? 

Here are ten steps that will get you the design you need to grow your business online.

10 Steps to a Killer Web Design:

1. Mobile 

The world has gone mobile. But a shocking number of websites have not. A poorly displaying website will increase your bounce rate (people who leave your website immediately). It will also hurt your SEO (search engine optimization). Search engines, like Google, penalize sites that don’t display properly on mobile devices, meaning your website will not appear in search results and your customers won’t be able to find you.

How can you make sure your website is ready for mobile visitors? 

You can create a mobile version of your site, or you can use Responsive Web Design. Responsive Design is an approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the visitor's screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

Don’t wait – get a mobile-ready site today. You’re losing visitors and potential sales each day that passes without a mobile-friendly website! Ask us about our mobile design package.

2. Images

A killer web design means using carefully selected images. Images can set the mood for web visitors in an instant. Most people rely on emotions when making a purchasing decision, and the right images can be very effective at generating that emotional connection between your brand and potential customers.

How can you choose the best images for your website? Consider these things: 

Who is your audience and what kind of imagery will they relate to? Understanding your audience is the first step to any successful marketing endeavor, including your website design. Determine who your audience is, and then use that knowledge to pick imagery that would appeal to them. For example, if you are selling to mothers, choosing the image of a cute baby or child would be an effective way to create a positive emotional response.

Does the image serve a purpose? Does it depict someone using your product or service? Or, even better, does the image show the benefits of your product. For example, a skin care company might choose the image of a happy woman with glowing skin to show the positive benefits of using their skin care product.

3.  Loading time

Some of us older users might remember the days when waiting for a web page to load was normal. Now, users expect a web page to load in less than 7 seconds, optimally under 3 seconds. If your web page is loading slowly, your visitors will likely drop off and find another website that loads more quickly. Slow-loading websites will also be penalized by search engines, and not be shown in search results.

How can you make sure your webpage loads quickly? 

Check loading speed using a free service like Pingdom.com. Then make sure your website is optimized for quick loading.

4. Engagement (Experience Mapping)

When building a killer website, you need to consider how your visitors are going to be engaging with your website. Create an “experience map” of the experience each potential customer might go through to get to your call to action, or your goal for them. Do you want them to fill out a certain form? Consider how they might get there. How are they going to get to your products? This step in your deisgn process is all about user experience (UX). Your visitors should have clear and simple pathways to get the information they need to make a purchase or submit their contact information. Your web design should be optimized for these pathways.

How can you map visitor experience? 

Try drawing an actual map on paper and make sure you have the input of key people in your business. Be sure your sales, marketing, and customer service team are all contributing what they think are key components of the visitor experience. What might be barriers to a conversion? 

Knowing how your customers engage with your website is crucial to optimizing the design.

5.  White space

The right amount of white space (also called negative space) is very important in your website design. It might seem like a small thing, but a design that is too crowded or busy will not produce the result you want.

Users need a focal point, and they also need a place for their eyes to rest as they are scanning your website. The right amount of white space between your sections will make your website easier to scan. Your visitors will be able to better consume your content and find what they are looking for on your page.

What is the right amount of negative space in your design? 

There isn't a formula, but you should be able to easily scan your site. Each section should have a good buffer so it is easily distinguishable. 

6.  Details

The details of a design are often easily overlooked or brushed under the rug as unimportant. But for a truly spectacular design, you need to keep the details of design in mind. Things like shadows, alignment, and depth can all give users a good or bad impression of your website. Even an untrained eye will be uncomfortable scanning a web page that isn't properly aligned. Killer web designs have perfected the details.

What are crucial web design details?

Here are 5 commonly overlooked details for you to make a note of.

7. Building Trust

As I mentioned above, emotion plays a big role in how people feel about your website ad your brand as a whole. Connecting with users on an emotional level is crucial to a killer website design. One aspect of making an emotional connection is by building trust with your visitors.

How can you create trust? 

Include testimonials. Use symbols, such as a BBB accreditation or awards you've won. Give your business a personality that people can relate to. Trust is an important element to turning a visitor into a customer.

8. Familiarity

We all want to stand out. To be unique, original, one-of-a-kind. And there are many ways to have a great website that stands out from the competition. Custom images. Great color scheme. A memorable logo and tag line. A compelling video.

This may surprise you, but having an element of “familiarity” is also important. Users become accustomed to certain layouts. For example, you might expect to find social media icons in the top right hand corner of a web page. We like things being organized and easy-to-find, particularly when we are in a hurry. (Who isn't in a hurry these days?)

It might be tempting to do something completely different, but before taking that leap, consider the negative effects. If elements of your page are going to be difficult to find, or this unique design is hard to navigate, it is going to hurt your conversion rate more than help. Don’t create a design that is frustrating for your users. Remember, it is ok to use design standards or follow a familiar layout to keep your visitors happy. Killer web designs are equal parts user experience (UX) and the aesthetics. 

9.  Navigation

Helping your website visitors find what they are looking for is important. Navigation design is a crucial step in determining your website is both beautiful and usable.

How can you get better website navigation? Follow these 7 Steps to a Better Website Navigation.

10. Personality & Interaction

The web can be an impersonal place. Remember that consumers still value personable interaction. We all want to feel connected, even to brands. Human interaction is still important, even through the web experience.

How can you make your website more personable? 

Give your brand a personality that is apparent on your website. Connect with your users on an emotional level. Be transparent about your company and the people who run it. Consider using a live chat service to connect with your visitors.

Combine copy, animation, and sound together to create a more interactive experience for users. A good example provided by Website Magazine is of the pin drop on Apple Maps, making the user feel like the interaction is more realistic. Small elements used throughout a website will make a big difference for users.

It is a lot to take in. But if you can keep these elements in min when creating or working with a designer on your website, you can have a killer web design. What is your biggest web design concern?