Believe it or not, having a great website isn’t particularly hard. The overall key is simplicity and efficiency over flashiness. Present the most essential content in an attractive and easy-to-digest way. Function comes before presentation. A great website will drastically improve a person’s/business’s credibility. Conversely, a poor website can greatly hurt credibility. Here are important items for your checklist.
Responsive. A responsive website is one that has the content adjust to the screen size automatically, so that viewing it on your desktop, mobile, and tablet is a relatively uniform experience. Most websites are not responsive (especially for small businesses), so if yours is, you’re already way ahead of the competition! Google ranks responsive websites higher in its search engine results than sites that aren’t. If you visit a website on your mobile phone or tablet and you have to zoom in/out and scroll all around, it’s not responsive.
White space. Have plenty of unused space between content on your page (doesn't have to be the color white). Clutter is overwhelming. Give people breathing room.
Have only a few colors and have them coordinate. This is not only good for simplicity, but for branding purposes. Adobe Kuler is a great tool for assistance with picking a color palette.
Don’t have “walls of text.” This is hard to read. Less is more with text.
Stop using Adobe Flash. Flash does not work on iPhones, and therefore pages with Flash are unviewable on iPhones (a large % of mobile devices). Flash is also slow/clunky and outdated.
No auto-playing music on your site. I don’t care if it’s your favorite song. Never have music automatically play; it can ruin even the most perfect website. Regardless of the quality of the music, nobody will want to stay on your site for more than thirty seconds.
High-resolution photos when possible. Websites should have a lot of visual appeal, so it makes sense to use high-resolution photos whenever possible. Photos that are blocky or have been oddly stretched/shrunken look unprofessional.
Only a few fonts. Have fonts that are easy to read (no elaborate cursive fonts, for example). Fonts that are similar usually coordinate well. Too many fonts can be distracting for the user.
Simple navigation. There should be only one navigation bar on the page (and one small list of links in the footer, if you like). A navigation bar should be as simple and intuitive as possible. This is how users get around on your site, and you want them to do so, so pay special attention to making this part of your website be easy to use. Often times, a horizontal navigation bar on the top of the page is best.
Do you feel strongly about the way any particular products or websites are designed? Comment or share below!