A website is a place on the web – a junction – and the makeup of a site is itself a system with attributes that link to one another. A website creator needs to be able to adapt to the evolving web, which has trends emerging every year (this year it’s fashionable to have large video banners on homepages) and new user technologies to work with. But there are also fundamentals that a website designer must adhere to in order to ensure a website is moving with the times.
Designing a website in 2015 requires many considerations, but most are geared towards user experience (UX). Whether these considerations are based on content, navigation, branding or flow, each reaches its optimal state when driven by UX. SEO and UX work hand in hand; they are not separate entities there just to battle it out with each other. They form a strong bond for both users and web crawlers.
If UX is the enveloping theme for a contemporary website, then a second layer that is fundamental to the success of UX is simplicity. For example, if you create a site that is easy to navigate, then you are helping a user recognise what to do and how best to interact with your site.
Flow: Design & Responsiveness
The next link to designing a successful website is the flow. This refers to the process and rhythm a user experiences when surfing your site. If that flow is seamless from entry to conversion, then a site has worked its magic. Web design will need to have cohesive navigation and layout to achieve this kind of UX (it will already be simple to look at!) and therefore considerations on how the interface affects the user will be an important feature to master.
For a user to be visually engaged on their journey through your site, incorporating graphic design will be a huge benefit as it can employ imagery and storytelling to create an attractive experience for your audience to be a part of.
Responsiveness is also an element of flow; a website should respond to its environment, for example, when a user moves from a desktop in their office to a tablet on their sofa, the website should make the adjustment too, or when a mobile user flips their phone from portrait to landscape mode, the site should change accordingly.
Speed is the next fundamental to consider; swift loading times are what is needed and this can be accomplished by keeping things up-to-date and optimising images for the web.
Next up on a 2015 UX driven website is brand identity and a website which embodies a brand will succeed in allowing the user to experience the brand at every touch point. If your brand is about innovation then a website’s design should reflect innovation. Too many webmasters focus on keywords alone and not enough on topics and subject matters. There are only so many times that one can be told to create ‘quality content’ without a full understanding of exactly ‘what’ quality is. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past and the focus on UX is here now and for the long term.
A popular CMS platform for developing websites in 2015 is WordPress and this is widely used at RAD SEO. Its open-source foundation and versatility has seen it move beyond being solely a blogging platform, integrating such frontiers as education, e-commerce, event management and directories. There are many others out there including Joomla, Drupal and concrete5 amongst others and each has their own benefits.
Finally, to create a user-friendly website there is nowhere better to start than with the end user by talking to them to learn about their needs and to validate any assumptions you have. You can then establish long-term communication with them via newsletters, content and multimedia.
With these fundamentals in tow, a website design can embrace any trends and changes to the web.
Talk to RAD about your web design requirements 01223 914007