Small Web Design Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Think of web design as a fluid element. What was great web design years ago may not be up to today’s standards of web design. That goes for both, the style and the functionality. Even websites built within the last few years sometimes needs some updates to the web design every now and then.
If your website isn’t quite as fresh as it could be, there’s some good news. You may not need to scrap the entire site and start over. You may be able to simply update the web design to improve the look, feel, and even the functionality of your website.
Even better news, some of the smallest tweaks you can make to your existing web design can make a BIG difference.
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Quick Tips To Know Before Updating Your Web Design
Below, we’ll be going over specific examples of small changes you can make to your web design. But before we dive right into the deep end, let’s take a moment to talk about some web design best practices.
Good Web Design Stems From Good Research
Before you address any web design project, it pays dividends to do a discovery phase. In the discovery phase, you will gather all kinds of vital information.
While the discovery phase builds web design projects based on the needs of company stakeholders, business goals, and other internal information, customer personas also play a major role in the process.
By taking the time beforehand to fully examine and get to know your customers, you will ensure you’re making the right changes to your web design to suit their needs.
Simple Web Design Wins
First impressions count for a lot! Don’t overwhelm visitors to your site right off the bat with a busy interface that’s hard to navigate. Ask any web designer…Successful web design projects (big or small) require restraint and the ability to edit down.
I know, I know…it can be tempting to try to pack as much on a page as possible, but the numbers show, it’s just not effective. A website’s design needs to be clean and straightforward. On the same note, the navigation of your website needs to be intuitive.
Good Web Design Is Consistent, Not Monotonous
Using a consistent style across a website’s pages gives the user a predictable experience. That’s a good thing! It helps then understand where to look for information and, overall, just makes it easier to navigate the site.
However, it’s important to balance consistency with an artistic touch. In web design, artistic pops could be photos, videos, call-out boxes, and so forth. A good web designer will know how, where, and when to use these types of elements.
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6 Small Web Design Tweaks That Make A Big Difference
Now that we’ve covered some best practices, let’s talk about some small but mighty web design tweaks you can use to give your website a little pick me up.
1. Update Your Fonts
For starters, take a look at the fonts you are using on your website. Then, answer the following questions:
How many different fonts are there?
You would be surprised by how much a difference it makes to minimize the number of fonts your website uses.
In clean, impactful web design, two fonts sitewide works best.
One for the body text and a second font for headers that compliments the body text font.
These two fonts should be on every page of your website that has text. Avoid using two fonts on the homepage, a different set of fonts on the about us page, and so forth. Two fonts for the entire site. That’s really all you need to create a more seamless web design for your company site.
Yes, there are thousands of thousands of awesome fonts to choose from, but your job is to find two that look really great together. When selecting your fonts, think about how they work together. Here are some things to consider:
- Try pairing a serif with a sans serif font for a nice, balanced contrast
- Use a bold font for the header text and lighter font for body copy
Are the fonts modern and easy to read?
This one should go without saying, but it’s really important, so let’s go ahead and talk about it anyways. Simply stated, you must use readable fonts. If you’ve ever come across a website with a fancy script text that’s difficult to read, you know from a user’s experience why this one is a big one.
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If visitors to your site have to work just to make out what the words on the page actually say, it’s pretty safe to say they won’t stick around very long.
What size are the fonts (including headers and body text)?
Now, on top of the style of your fonts being readable, your web design should feature fonts that are also large enough to read—on all kinds of devices. In earlier years, a 12px font was considered standard sizing in web design. Well, times are changing!
Use a 14px for body text. You can even use a 16px or 18px font for short, punchy paragraphs like callout boxes. For headers, use a 24px to 32px font. Whatever font size you ultimately land on, remember to keep the sizes consistent throughout the website.
2. Update the Visuals In Your Web Design
How old are the images and graphics on your website? Are they aging your site? It could be time to replace them with graphics that are more modern in design. When selecting what kinds of images to use on your site, here are a few pointers:
Consider the user’s interests. When your selecting images for your website, don’t just choose images that appeal to you. Use images that appeal to your user base’s interests and relate to your company.
Use authentic photos. Rather than filling your site up with staged stock photos, use photos that give an authentic feel. Hire a photographer to come into your workspace and take shots of real employees and staff members to populate the About Us page on your site.
Pay attention to file size. While you want the images and graphics on your site to be clear and sharp, don’t add images that are too large or your page load speed will suffer. And when page load speed times go down, so do the number of visitors to your site.
Also, don’t go overboard with images. Make sure the images and graphics you do use on your site are intentionally placed. In fact, that leads us to our next point—embracing whitespace.
3. Use Whitespace Wisely
There’s this quote from Janis Krums of OPPORTUNITY that sums this up perfectly.
“Chances are, you’ve cluttered areas of your website as new ideas and content have emerged over the years. Take some time to review what is critical to your business and what is not. Remove what isn’t, and find new, cleaner ways to present the refined content.”
Krums recommends identifying the most important sections of your website. Then figure out a way to create additional white space around those. This will make sure your web design is working to lead the user’s eye where it needs to be going—looking at the important stuff.
4. Simplify Your Web Design
Have you ever heard of the phenomenon known as “mere exposure effect”? The American Psychological Association (APA) defines it as: “the finding that individuals show an increased preference (or liking) for a stimulus as a consequence of repeated exposure to that stimulus.”
In other words, the more familiar a person is with something the more they will like it.
What’s that have to do with web design?
A lot, actually.
Turns out, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or spend tons of resources coming up with creative, over-the-top ideas when it comes to web design.
According to the mere exposure effect theory, it’s better that your web design is similar to others in your market. You can make it your own by making it even more simple than the others.
And, the push to move web design standards to become the industry baseline only strengthens the argument.
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5. Standardize The Buttons Throughout Your Entire Web Design
Speaking of web design standards, the buttons on your website should be standardized sitewide. Again, this if for consistency, which users respond positively to. But in addition to that, it also aids in usability and functionality.
Use the same color button for all the buttons on your site. Especially actionable buttons like “Add To Cart”, “Signup”, “Checkout” and so forth. By keeping these the same throughout the site, you are making it easier for users to identify where they need to click.
If you want to experiment with different colors, one way to incorporate a bi-color button palette into your web design is by having the buttons change color when a user hovers over them.
6. Freshen Up The Copy
Now, you might be wondering what copywriting has to do with web design. But the reality is, website copy is just as important as the imagery. The entire point of web site copy is to motivate users to perform an action of some kind. Perhaps that will be to read additional blog articles, complete a purchase, or some other action.
Well, good web design has the same goal. Web design and copywriting go hand in hand.
Much like choosing imagery, there is a solid set of best practices you can follow when writing copy for your site.
First, make sure you use short sentences and short paragraphs. The last thing users want to encounter on a website is long walls of text. It comes off as daunting and unwelcoming. That’s why it pays to condense your messaging down into digestible bits of information.
Pay attention to the tone of your copy. Ideally, it will complement the style of your website.
On top of that, remove jargon and confusing language. Assume you’re writing for a 6th-grade reading level.
Essentially, the copywriting on your website needs to satisfy the following statements:
- The copy on your website reflects that your company understands your customer’s needs.
- Clearly explains how your company’s product’s and/or services will benefit your customers
- Creates a path forward to easily guide the user to whatever the next step in their buyer journey is.
If you can check off those three qualifications, your copywriting is off to a good start. You may also consider working with a professional copywriter. In some instances, your web design agency may even offer copywriting services.
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Give Your Web Design A Facelift
Don’t judge a book by the cover. We’ve all head that advice before. But, when it comes to web design, the advice is rarely heeded. It takes a visitor to your site all of 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of your site.
You read that correctly. In just 0.05 seconds, a visitor to your site has already decided whether or not they’re going to stay or click away.
If you’re feeling like your website is looking a little stale, you may not need to throw it all out and start over. Making a tweak here and there can help perk it up. Our web design experts are here to help you implement changes to your website quickly and efficiently. Get in touch with us today!