10 Best Web Design Practices Checklist
May 3, 2017
The present world is the world of web. People all over the world are connected through web. Today we find the maximum population on internet through one or the other medium. Everyone is online these days.
Internet has become the source of first hand information for the people. People have become so dependent on the internet that internet has become one of the most important factor in their decision making. More or less they have become habituated or addicted of internet. It can be positive but sometimes can be negative also.
We have lot of websites dealing with various things available on the web. Many websites of the same type for example we have many shopping websites, like, Flipkart, Amazon, Shop Clues, etc. many government websites for the betterment of the citizen and to bridge the gap between government and its citizen, many educational websites etc. The main purpose of these websites is to help and serve the society in a better way.
In this online competition we see a lot of website on web. Popularity of a particular website depends on its page rank. Popularity of a website is directly proportional to its page rank given to it by various search engines, such as Google. Therefore owners make best use of their SEOs (Search Engine Optimization), to have a higher page rank.
In such cases the very first question which comes to one’s mind is how the website should look like? What should be its basic features? What is the standard framework of a website? And many more like these. There is no such basic protocol which is mandatory to follow while making a website except one and that is that it should be user friendly. In short a website should be made in such a manner that the user finds it easy to use.
People are habituated of seeing some particular thing which has become a practice or cult, for example some of common features in all most all websites are: companies logo on top left side of the page; home page on the top left corner; contacts on the top right corner; main navigation across the top; home page slide show; search feature in the header; sign up box in the footer; social media icons in the footer; etc. these are the some common features or the basic rules which is almost similar to all websites.
However it is not mandatory that it has to be this way only. There can be exceptions. It’s just that these practices have been inculcated automatically on a global level.
Following are some practices or rules which you can follow to frame your website in a better way:
- Roots of a website:
It is always necessary to know, what is the main reason behind any action? Why it is being done? What is its goal? What identity it holds? Who are going to benefit by this? Many more question come to users mind when they start surfing on the internet. Your website should be answerable to the users for these questions without taking much time. If you fail to do so then it is very obvious that the user is not going to continue with your website.
Answers to these questions serve as the basic information or the background information of your website. Therefore the users should get these answers within few seconds so that they can realize they have got into the right place else it won’t take a second for them in leaving the website.
Here are some basic points which you should keep in mind while designing your website:
As the name suggests it helps in finding a resource on web. You can follow the 3S principle to select an URL for your website. These 3S are: Short; Simple; and Sweet.
Be selective in choosing a URL for your website. It should be ‘Short’ but at the same time it should be descriptive enough to describe the whole summary of the website. It should finely define the content of the website. As it serves as the heading or the title of the website or the content it should be brief but at the same time should be descriptive also.
The user shouldn’t find it too vague and unclear. It should be crystal clear so that the user understands it without any difficulty. Therefore it should be ‘Simple’. Try avoiding some difficult vocabulary to make the user confused. It should be simple enough to be understood by every common user.
Last but not the least it should be ‘Sweet’ enough to attract more people. Sometimes the title itself is so interesting that the people find it difficult to stop themselves from reading the article or going through a website. It should seek their attention and concentration.
- Target Audience
You should always keep in mind that who are going to be your customers, your audience. It is highly important to identify who are going to be your clients whom are you going to serve. Identifying your audience helps in designing your website more effectively.
It should be clear that whom you are going to serve only then you can deliver your services better. For example, some people are interested in cricket, some in shopping, some in grooming, some in pets, some in poetry, some in songs, some in movies, some in politics, and yet some in articles, essays, stories, etc. in such case you need to find out to which section of the society are you going to serve. Suppose you are going to make an educational website then you are students the youngsters are going to be your audience. It’s them who are going to visit your website so it should be beneficial for them and it should be updated according to their requirements and no the others.
The purpose of making a website should be clear cut in your mind while designing a website. It should not be too vague to make it complex for the users. It should be clearly realized by the users that whether it is of their interest or not. For example you should be clear of the theme of your website that whether you making it for entertainment purpose, for social welfare purpose, for educational purpose, or for social service purpose.
The clarity of your purpose will help you design it better and attract you audience more towards your website and would also help you deliver your service in much more effective way.
There always remains confusion on how your websites page layout should be, what are the things you should use in your website, how it should appear to the public, what should be the content, how should be the display, what should be the background, how to make it attractive, etc. these questions are simpler but yet difficult to manage if not handled with care. Following are some of the tips which can help you decide your page layout:
- Appealing to the audience
Page layout is something which plays a very important role in any website. It gives the first impression to the people so it should be appealing to the audiences. People should feel more live with the website. It shouldn’t be like something which is very outdated. It should be compatible with the present cult. Audience should feel attracted towards the website with its first look itself. It should attract their attention I such a manner that even if they are not much interested, they would take a few minutes to take a glimpse of it.
It should consist, the logo of the company. Logo of any company is the pictorial representation of what you website is all about. A logo explains the summary of the content of the website and summary of the company’s name, motto, work, etc. your logo symbolizes the overview of your company therefore you should be very careful and specific in designing your logo as it gives a bird eye view of your company. It should have navigation area also.
A proper title should be given to the website which describes your company, organization or institution name. Title should effectively describe the crux of the website that what it is all about. A first time visitor to the website should be satisfied from the title itself that he is found the right thing and that he can go through the website. Title serves as the essence of the website therefore it should be selected in such a manner that with just reading the title itself the user could understand the whole concept of the website and for what purpose it’s going to serve.
The next very important thing that you should mention in your website is your contact details. It can include you company’s address, e-mail address, contact number etc. this makes your website more user friendly and enables the users to reach you with a very simple step. It also makes your website more, customer centric which encourages people to use and promote your website instead of choosing other websites available on web as your competitors. It also let people realize that your interest is more in serving your user in the best possible way you can.
- Last update
You should keep your website up to date. You can actually keep a separate part in your website dedicated to the updates which you keep doing in your website. This let the users aware of the progress or growth which your company is going through time to time. It gives them an opportunity to analyze your website through the landmarks of your websites which you have been updating from the day its been made. It also gives an effective view to your websites as a summary of your success. You can actually show you your growth through your last updates and by keeping it updated from time to time to make it more relevant with changing time.
- Browser capability
Design your website in such a manner that adjusts the page layout without the scrolling. Also make sure that it shouldn’t be a difficulty in opening it mobile view. The layout should adjust itself accordingly with every search engine. It should appear the same without any changes when opened through different browsers, be it, explorer, UC browser, Firefox, Safari or anything for that matter. Irrespective of the browser it should easily be accessible to the users through all browsers irrespective of the device they are using, be it, Mac, PC, Tab or Mobile.
- Color and Graphics
There should be kept in mind that the context are clearly visible and are readable with the background color not overshadowing the context written it. The combination of the background color and the content color should be in a way which user should find easily recognizable and readable. Color should me minimum use to three to four types plus some neutral colors.
Graphics are to be used only when necessary just to add as an alternative. However it should be kept in mind that it should slower the functioning of the website as in increasing the download time in a browser. Use of graphics should serve its purposes in all means and ways.
Pictures to be used should be of high resolution so that the user gets a clear view of the images you have used in your website. It gives an idea to the user as in what the website is all about, or what is going in the company, or what company is all about. Visual things attract more attention of the users. It gives an overview of the company’s area of work, its achievements, its functions, etc.
It should cover all the brief information. A detail of what your company is all about, what is the key role it plays, what are the services you provide, who can be benefited through your website, what’s your working strategy, how is your website helpful, why one should prefer your website over the other, what are the procedure you follow, etc. rest all the information which are required and necessarily should be there on the website.
- Social media icon
You can also add social media icons to your website which will easily promote your social media marketing. The more it is on social media the more it is promoted among public. It also helps in getting a higher page rank to your website. This will not only publicize your website but will help you in expanding through worldwide.
- Feedback or Comment
Feedback is something which helps in improvements. It serves as a guide following which you can do improvements in your website. You can add the feedback tab or the comment tab open for public opinion to the users. This will help you analyze your website’s pros and cons. It would also give you motivation to work hard to get the required changes according to the public opinion to make your website much better to serve better in future.
- Your homepage download shouldn’t take a longer time at least not more than 10 seconds as this will give a negative impression to the user and the user might not visit your website again.
- Sometimes it is seen that the website appear different in Smart phones or sometimes it loses it basic structure itself. To prevent your website from these errors you can use Viewport Meta tags which will also enhance your display on Smart Phones.
Navigation links are something which is present in almost every website. It cannot be possible to have a website without the navigation link. In such case there should be proper management of navigation. For example,
- You should present your main navigation link with proper titles and subheadings. This would ease the process of identifying the functionalities by the users;
- The audience shouldn’t find any difficulty in using the navigation links;
- Proper text should be provided for the main navigation links which contains images or Flash;
- You should maintain unordered list to maintain good structure of Main navigation;
- You can also use various navigation aids such as site map, skip navigation link, etc.;
- Make sure that all navigation hyperlinks are properly working without any disturbances.
The above mentioned use of navigation can help you design your website more effective and to give it a perfect look.
You always have an option to enhance your website content by using multimedia files. Sometimes people find it very boring to go through the website and reading all the stuff. Pictorial representations, audios, videos, are something which attracts the present generation. Therefore even you can use the following methods to use the multimedia system in your website effectively:
- Each audio, video or Flash files used should serve a clear purpose and should be relevant to the website’s theme, it should not diverted from the core of the website;
- The audio, video or Flash files should be used as an enhancer rather than as a distraction from the site, it should be used just to create more interest in the site so that they decide to continue with the site and above all it should be impressive and should encourage them to read more about website or use it further times in future;
- You can always use captions for the audio, video or flash files you have used so that the user can have an idea before listening it or watching it, the theme of the audio or the video should be clear to the audience;
- It’s always better to indicate the download time of the multimedia files you have used so that the user can get to know in advance what amount of attention he has to give to the video and can easily decide on whether he wants to watch it or not;
- The multimedia files used should not be much time taking, the message for which the audio or video files are being used should be delivered within a shorter period of time, and it shouldn’t be much time taking and a longer time because the attention period of any individual is of a shorter time period.
- Content Presentation
Content presentation is yet another thing which if not done properly can cause you the greater loss. After all what matters is the content of your website. For example if you have designed your website in a very beautiful way, your page layout is very appealing to the audience, you have a fabulous title and logo for your website, you have used multimedia files and graphics very impressively etc. yet there can be chance of getting your website least view among the public and the very main cause behind it, would be your poor presentation of your content in the website. Now I hope you understand the importance of content presentation. There can be many ways to present your content. However you can follow following suggestions to present your content better.
- You should use Common fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman as these are the basic standard one which is used mostly. You should use these fonts also because these are widely accepted and can be easily read. Suppose if you use some calligraphy kind of font which might be difficult to read by many users and this can even lead to less popularity of your website in a long run. Your content is for people and not for fashion so it should be rightly presented in a simpler and easier way so that every user can understand it;
- Not more than one web font should be used. You need to follow one font throughout your content. There is no point in using different fonts for a content it will not only deteriorate your content presentation but might also affect the users view point. The user might get irritated and might also lose the interest in reading it completely;
- Some Techniques which can be used as writing for the Web are: headings, bullet points, brief paragraphs. These techniques help the user to understand the content in a better way and also arouse and extra interest in reading. It makes the things simpler and makes it easy for the user to grasp it in a shorter period of time;
- Fonts, font sizes, and font colors should consistently used;
- Content should provide meaningful and useful information. You need not write stories for conveying on simple message. It should be short and brief enough to make the user understand its essence at the moment he read it. Try not to prolong the content just for sake of writing. Few sentences should be enough to make the user understand the context;
- Content should be organized in a consistent manner;
- Information should be easy to find. This means that the information should be found with the minimal clicks and the user doesn’t find any difficulty in finding any particular information. After all it’s not a treasure hunt game where they have to keep hunting for the information. It should be made easily available to them;
- Timeliness: The date of the last revision and/or copyright date should be accurate. This helps the user finding its relevancy at the present time as well he would be more willing to relay on the information as it would be updated and a new one;
- Content should not include outdated material. Facts and figures mentioned, if any, should be the latest one and should be taken from a proper source. A false information in the content can mislead the user at the same tie it can affect your impression and reputation as well. Therefore never keep outdated things in your content. Try to maintain a balance between your content and its relevancy with the contemporary period;
- Content should be free of typographical and grammatical errors;
- Content should provide links to other useful sites which can be your source of information also. It can also help in your marketing strategy through adding some famous websites to your website. It might help the user to gather some extra information he wanted;
- You should avoid the use of “Click here” when writing text for hyperlinks. People should be willingly do or take any action. You cannot guide or command any user to follow your website according to your wish;
- For Hyperlinks use a consistent set of colors to indicate visited/non-visited status. This would decrease the user confusion on which he has already visited and which he is yet to visit. You can prefer this when you use more hyperlinks;
- If you are using graphics to convey meaning then the alternate text equivalent should be provided;
- Last but not the least if you are using media to convey meaning then the alternate text equivalent should be provided.
When any website is made it should work properly. There can be some server issue due to which it might happen that the webpage doesn’t get open so these kind of issues should be reduced to minimal and if at all occur should be tackled as soon as possible.
- You use many multimedia files in your website which attracts the user a lot but what happens if they are not working playing. It gives a negative impression on the user therefore make sure that the multimedia files are working properly.
- Many a times it happens that the links you have added doesn’t work due to some or the other reason. Therefore make sure that both your internal and external hyperlink works and serves the purpose for which they are there in the website.
- Make sure that your functionality work according to the way they are expected to. As your website is new to the user he shouldn’t confuse regarding its functionality. It should work the way they are expected to work.
A website is after all made for the use of the common masses. In that case it should be easily accessible and easily understandable to them. There is no point in making your website complicated with lot of additional link and many other similar things. It should be as simple as it can be.
- Your website should have browser compatibility so that it can be viewed and can be accessed through all the browsers with the same standard and that too without any error.
- Proper captions and headings to be provided for each additional information; this would make the users work easier and would also help in using it more effectively.
- User should be in a position to access the data he requires from your website. For example if he wants some of the information you have provided in a form of table then it should be accessible to him. Other information also which might help the user in any way should be accessible.
- You can also give information about your company, its foundation, its working, its achievements, its growth, etc. this would bring you much closer to the user and also would give a positive impact on the user.
- You can also Use attributes designed to improve accessibility such as title when appropriate. These things will glorify your content as well as would give a better idea of the content to the user.
- Use of the id and headers attributes are done to improve the accessibility of table data which could be beneficiary for both user and provider
- You get an option of configuring frames with frame titles and place meaningful content in the no frames area. These draw an effective distinction between the two and intensify the content.
- The html element’s attribute can be used to indicate the spoken language of the page, which can be much more effective in its own way.
- Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimizations are the methods or the practices which can help you increase your page rank. It’s always desired by the website owners that their website should have a higher page rank and it appears first on the webpage list. This requires a lot of hard work and smart work.
There are basically two types of SEO which are practiced and these are namely On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. You can use both the methods to promote yor website and get a good page rank.
You can always use SEO to get a higher page rank this will not only help you compete your competitors but will also help you in making your own stand among the users. Some of the best tip to manage your SEO through your website design can be:
- Title tag length: You can use 55 to 60 characters length including spaces for your title tag. Length up to 60 characters might occur as trouble as anything longer will be truncated in search results. Title should just serve the purpose for which it is used. It should be brief enough to give a clear picture of the content to the users.
- Meta Description Tag: A Meta description is used to identify the content within the page. You can use 150 to 160 characters including spaces.
- URL Tips: Make your post URL short and sweet that describes the content as best as possible. Don’t use numbers in URL. Use lesser words with hyphen (-) to separate words within the URL. URLs are the first things which are viewed by the users. It serves as the first impression of your website therefore it should be attention seeking. This helps in deciding the users whether they should go for the website or not. Therefore it should be attractive enough to seek the attention of the user so that even if the user is not so interested in your website, by seeing the name at least he would get a feel to check the website just for once. You will get at least a view to your website, a visit to your website which in long run can help you generate more interest among the users.
We exist in a world where speed is that one factor which plays an important factor in any decision making process. People are lot more concentrated in saving their time from their busy schedule and making things faster. Every user desires to get their work done with the fraction of seconds. In that case if your website takes too much time to get downloaded then users will be least bothered to wait until that, even if the content of your website might be the best but it wouldn’t take much time for the users to leave the page within few seconds if it takes a longer time in downloading.
You should keep your performance level as high as you can because this is going to decide your fate, popularity, use etc. in the competitive market world. Some of the measure which you can follow to enhance your performance can be:
- You can leverage browser caching and reducing server response time. This would provide easy and fast access to your website through any browser which is the demand of the present day users.
- Have a tendency to optimize images by reducing the size with the use of Alt and title tags. This would help you in adjusting your contents and the page layout within a particular frame so that it can easily adjust itself according to the screen and the browser.
In this present world security is something which has acquired great importance. With the growing use and advancement of new technologies threat to security is always maintained. Security is a matter which has become a greater issue of concern almost among every website owner or the web developers. Following are some tips which might help you keep your website secure, although these are not perfect in nature and doesn’t gives 100% surety, but it will help you secure your website in a much better way.
- Always take back up of your website regularly and keep your backups physically secure. Practicing this will always keep you in a position to replace the data if at all its lost due to any reason. It’s always better to have an alternative option available to you in case of any urgency.
- You should keep your web server computer physically secure and use strong password for your website so that any one couldn’t misuse your website and couldn’t dismantle with it.
- If you use database then use database libraries that protect against SQL injection in a systematic way. It would provide security to your database as well as prevent it from getting used by other persons for wrong purposes.
- You should guard your website against XSS and CSRF attacks so that it should be free from any kind of ill effects.
- You can use CAPTCHAs to slow down potential spammers and attackers which would not only enhance your website security but would also prevent it from getting misused by others.
- Protect Session Data – Session information is written to a temp directory and in the case of a shared hosting server, it can be easily read by someone else other than you. Therefore, you should not keep your sensitive information like passwords or credit card information in a session.
These were some of the practices which would help you design your website in a better way. Keep in mind that there is nothing like standard protocol which is mandatory to follow but you can always take precautionary steps to give a better and advanced look to your website which has its own identity and should be sound enough to have its own stand among your competitors.