At it’s core, a business website conveys useful information about the business to customers. But that’s not really very helpful when it comes to talking about the difference between a website that simply does its job and one that helps elevate the brand and makes users want to return again, and again. According to Sydney website design company Magic dust “your website is an extension of your brand—it should reflect the experience you want them to have in your store or wherever you work”.
Attributes of Website Design
How do you achieve that goal? It comes down to six key attributes that make award-winning websites remarkable.
1. The Structure and Navigation
A remarkable website begins with the structure and navigation—the website’s framework, content organization, the information architecture, and the means by which you navigate around the site. These things are the foundation upon which it is built—and it shows in how users are able to easily move through the site, finding what they need almost intuitively. When the proper attention is paid to structure and navigation, visitors to intellectually know where they want to go and have full access to the breadth and depth of the content on the website.
2. The Visual Design
The visual design is often what visitors notice first—it’s the graphics and the layout. It’s the fun stuff. Visual design is also about more than having an attractive homepage with the coolest new functionality. In fact, often cutting edge or on-trend features are not necessary or right for the brand. Effective visual design takes into consideration the brand, the purpose of the site (as detailed in step 1), and the user experience. An excellent design is one that is both appealing to the audience and relevant to the company’s message.
3. The Content
Content is the life of a website. It is what information you provide to your users, and the way you do it. It is text, video, audio, imagery – anything that communicates the information you want your users to have. Great website content is engaging, relevant, and appropriate for your audience. In fact, in order to be those things, great content is all about your audience and their needs. It is clear and concise. Great content has a strong voice and a point of view.
Functionality is about how the website uses technology. Great functionality brings the experience to center stage and makes the technology imperceptible. A functional website operates effectively—the site loads rapidly, has live links, and any new technology implemented works. A functional website also works across platforms and is browser agnostic. Websites that are highly functional foresee the diversity in users’ requirements, from personalized content to conditional CSS. The most functional websites also take into account those users with special access needs.
Interactivity is the manner in which a website allows a user to undertake an action. Having interactive elements is what distinguishes the internet from other forms of media. Interactivity is something users don’t notice with it is good, but definitely notice when it’s not done properly. It’s more than a rollover or choosing what to click on next—great interactivity allows the user to both give and to receive. This includes aspects such as searches, chat rooms, eCommerce, gaming or notification agents, personalization, and feedback in real time. Interactivity is what leads to customer engagement—it’s the tools that make that possible.
Read: Web Design Inspiration
The overall website experience is more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s a holistic experience that incorporates content, interactivity, visual design, functionality, and structure and navigation. The overall experience is what makes a visitor stay or leave—if the experience is positive, they’ll stay or come back. It’s that simple. By incorporating these five attributes of award-winning web design, you’ll be well on the way to creating a valuable user experience in your website design.