2472 Huntz Lane, Leominster, MA 01453

A Comprehensive Guide To Web Design

Web design is tricky. Designers and developers have to take a lot of things into account when designing a website, from visual appearance (how the website looks) to functional design (how the website works). To simplify the task, we’ve prepared this little guide.

In this article, I’ll focus on the main principles, heuristics, and approaches that will help you to create a great user experience for your website. I’ll start with global things like the user journey (how to define the “skeleton” of the website) and work down to the individual page (what should be considered during web page design). We’ll also cover other essential aspects of design, such as mobile considerations and testing.

Designing The User Journey #

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE #

People often use the term “information architecture” (IA) to mean the menus on a website. But that’s not correct. While menus are a part of IA, they are only one aspect of it.

IA is all about the organization of information in a clear and logical way. Such organization follows a clear purpose: helping users to navigate a complex set of information. Good IA creates a hierarchy that aligns with user’s expectations. But good hierarchy and intuitive navigation don’t happen by chance. They are a result of proper user research and testing.

There are a number of ways to research user needs. Often, an information architect will take an active part in user interviews or card sorting, where they would hear of user expectations directly or see how prospective users would categorize a variety of information groups. Information architects also need access to the results of usability tests to see whether users are able to navigate efficiently.A menu structure would be created based on the results of user interviews, and card sorting would be tested for whether it satisfies the user’s mental model. UX researchers use a technique called “tree testing” to prove that it will work. This happens before designing the actual interface.

Navigation is a cornerstone of usability. It doesn’t matter how good your website is if users can’t find their way around it. That’s why navigation on your website should adhere to a few principles:

  • Simplicity Navigation should be designed in a way that gets visitors where they want to go with the fewest clicks possible.
  • Clarity There shouldn’t be any guessing about what each navigation option means. Every navigation option should be self-evident to visitors.
  • Consistency The navigation system should be the same for all pages on the website.

Consider a few things when designing navigation:

  • Select a navigation pattern based on the user’s needs. Navigation should accommodate the needs of the majority of your app’s users. A given target group expects a particular type of interaction with your website, so make these expectations work in your favor. For example, avoid hamburger-menu navigation if the majority of your users aren’t familiar with the meaning of the icon itself.
  • Prioritize navigation options. One simple way to prioritize navigation options is to assign different priority levels (high, medium, low) to common user tasks, and then give prominence in the layout to paths and destinations with high priority levels and frequent use.
Photo of author

Cedric McArthur

Leave a Comment