Websites all look very different but they all have a few elements in common. These elements help make the website, a website. Everything from navigation, white space, to CTA’s we’ll cover all the elements we consider to be necessary for every website.
Clear navigation is important right from the get go. The navigation element of your website should be simple and straight forward, it should not overwhelm visitors. It should be also easier to use for users who are browsing and visiting your site from a mobile device. The Navigation menu should have around 5-10 categories on display.
If your site navigation relies on scrolling, you should add some navigational arrows to prompt users. The easier and simple it is to use the more likely they are the interact with the features. If users can’t figure out how to move through your site or find it frustrating they will leave very quickly.
Successful websites have navigation menus that are the same on every page on the site. This consistency is vital for visitors. Users also want to know where they are on a site this may achievable by simply adding a highlight to the category they are on at the top. They also want to know how to get back home.
Contact info usually appears in two ways on your site; at the top in the site header and on it’s own dedicated page, which can be easily found at the top in the main pages. The Contact page needs to be easily found and it should stand out. The content of the page should be simple and straight forward, you don’t want people to be scanning through lots of chunks of texts or scrolling down too much on this page, just deliver the information upfront.
Adding a contact form saves the user time, considering adding one so that the visitor doesn’t have to copy your email address and open up a new window. Contact details will help to show your visitors that you a legitimate professional business.
The search feature on the website is usually located at the top. Search bars are great for websites with a lot of content. Visitors look for search bars when what they’re looking for is not easily found in the main categories tabs at the top of the site. To stop your visitors feeling frustrated if they can’t find something I would suggest adding a search bar. The top right is usually the location of the search bar.
Any buttons on your site should look like actual buttons, otherwise people won’t click them. Usually buttons are call to actions, where you are getting your visitors to do something – Sign up, Create a free account etc. If you are having numerous buttons on your site, they should all follow the same design and fit seamlessly with your brand.
It goes without saying but a professional website should have high quality images that your target audience can relate to. If you’re an insurance company selling family insurance and your target audience is young couples with families, you’re not going to have an elderly couple in your main image. Remember a picture can speak a thousand words, so if you where trying to explain something why not have an illustration or even better an informative video to help your visitors.
I know that stock images are usually the best quality and professional looking, but having too many can look a bit impersonal. Some designers and companies have started taking their own photos and videos for their site, which can show the visitor that the company is dedicated to what they do and want to achieve that unique visual experience.
The About Us Page is often the place where companies can give visitors an insight into how they got where they are, what they’ve accomplished and their goals. This page is great for giving visitors a little bit of extra information into the company. Remember not to make it too long and too heavy, it should be easy to scan through. Why not add photos of your team as a way to personalise it.
Every website should have these, they are essential in creating conversions. Whether it’s to make a sale or gather contact information, they should stand out and lead customers to it. Your CTA should be designed in a way where your website leads your eyes to it. Usually the CTA can be found above the fold (the first half of the website that you see before you scroll down).
Before you just create a button randomly you need to establish what you’re site is supposed to be doing, what do you want your visitors to do? Design the site so that the colours, the space, the font, the contrast all help your eyes to lead towards this Call to Action.
Don’t underestimate the power of space on your website. Open space can really dictate the flow of the site, spacing between text can really make the text stand out and form a statement. Spacing around images and text should be consistent throughout the whole site. Space can become the main focus of a site if done correctly as it should divert your gaze.
White space refers to negative space. If you have an image with a large white space around it, it will make the image stand out and look more important that if it where to be crammed in with text surrounding it. White space refers to negative space.
We think the above elements are a must on almost all sites but some websites can work without! What other elements do you consider are necessary of a great website? Share yours below!