elements-of-a-redesigning-a-websiteThe time has come for your website’s inevitable overhaul. Perhaps you’ve examined your content to see what works and what doesn’t, outlined the information architecture for the new site, maybe even picked a new CMS platform. But how can you make sure you’re getting the most from the time, expense, and hard work of a website relaunch? Here are some of the most critical elements of making your next redesign a great one.

Readability and Ease of Use

  • Strategic Layout. One of the most important elements of design is gently pushing customers in the direction you want them to go. Want them to check out your online store? Sign up for your newsletter? Like your Facebook page? Adjust your design to nudge them toward that goal. Your content should also encourage them toward your desired goals, but good design will make it easy and appealing for them to go in the direction you want.
  • Simple Navigation. Complicated navigation serves no one. Most users want to visit a website, get the information they need, and get out fast. This means finding their way around with an absolute minimum of effort. Reducing navigational clutter is a key step. For example, many modern websites are changing to a hamburger menu over more traditional menu navigation, making it easier for users to move around quickly.
  • Accessibility. In 2016, everyone knows a mobile version is key to your success — but your website design should also take other accessibility issues into account, such as vision-impaired users. Making your website friendly to screen readers isn’t strictly necessary, but it will make a huge difference to users who may otherwise look elsewhere. Lots of white space for readability won’t hurt, either.
  • Search. The best content ever created is no good to anyone if they can’t find it. Have a readily available search function available on your site, and make sure content that normally might not be searchable (like infographics) is indexed properly. You and your users will be grateful for it months or years from now.

Visual Design

  • Bold Colors and Images. It’s 2016, and there’s no need to be shy about color and imagery anymore. An attention-grabbing image and a well-designed color palette can make a huge difference in how your website is perceived. Hire a photographer or pay for a premium and unique stock photo to start your website off with a bang.
  • Logo Refresh. Don’t forget to give your logo a colorful or modern makeover, too. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are a variety of options for getting a logo designed these days.
  • Web Fonts. The days of Times New Roman and Arial are over. Web fonts can help developers maintain a consistent typography without having to use images for headers, menus, and other typographical elements. Google’s web font repository is a great place to start.

Branding

  • Mission Statement. A good “about” page can (and should) tell customers a lot about your company: how you started, what you stand for, and what they can expect from you. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect with potential customers.
  • Contact Information. Customers should be able to get in touch with you with little or no effort — one or two clicks, at the very most. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, your contact information should be the first thing they see.
  • Graphics and Typography. Even though colors and images are covered above, it’s worth repeating: a bold, unique choice in typography, consistently applied across your website, can make a definitive statement about your brand. Choose a font carefully and implement it site-wide.

Conversion

  • Calls to Action. This is another point worth repeating. If you’ve gone to the trouble of redesigning your website, you don’t want them to just look around and leave.  Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, browsing your web store, or getting in touch with you, your design should urge the customer toward something. Put a call to action — whether it’s in the content or the design itself — on every page.
  • Free Stuff. Customers love free stuff; anything from a free ebook to a coupon code. Exchanging free goodies for a newsletter sign-up has become a time-honored tradition for a reason: it works.
  • Sharing and Interaction. One of the biggest favors you can do your visitors is make it easy for them to share your website. Place social media sharing buttons prominently on your site. If you have a blog (and have the resources to moderate), enable comments so customers can interact with you. Being accessible means more than just easy-to-use design.

Redesigning a website is hard work, and keeping up-to-date with the latest design trends is always a challenge. But implement these proven strategies in your next relaunch, and you’ll have a website that will keep your customers coming back.

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