More than often when I talk with people who are interested in a new web site, I realize they are not completely aware about the top common rules a web site should respect.
Because I always repeat myself, I thought it was a good idea summarizes some of them in the following list. Hopefully, some of these people will come by my web site and find the rules useful, thus avoiding to ask me the same information once more.
Do not misunderstand me. I’m happy to support people in their daily web-decision process. However, it is essential speed-up some of the task to be more efficient.
So, here my 8 golden rules for a new website design:
Make informative product pages and stand out from the crowd
Product information helps people make purchasing decision. Many web pages often lack of information and people need to go around looking for important pieces of the puzzle. Don’t let them bothered about your web site.
Improve readability using white space
White space between paragraphs, pictures, buttons and other items on the page help de-clutters a page by giving items room to breathe as well as give the right important on element showing the relationship between them.
Above the fold web sites
Jakob Nielsen’s study revealed that only 23% of visitors scroll on their first visit to a website. A very effective fast-to-load home page is essential for capture the audience.
Effective usability testing to fix your bugs
85% problems in a website are discovered by testing with 5 users. Organizing a small testing session with 15 users would find pretty much all problems. And if this is not enough, enabling a heatmap solution may show what user look at once landed on your web site. ClickHeat provides an interesting heatmaps solution.
Google Website Optimizer, instead, will be useful to run free A/B and Multivariate tests that enable measuring the various “what if” scenarios.
Don’t use “click here” to tell a user where to click
A link is a way to emphasize the content after all. When a link is provided, users expect to find a relevant page at the following page. Linking too much is not useful as well as providing fewer links.
Make sure to find a good balance on what you are emphasizing using useful linking text. If you can not figure out what the link is for, consider changing the word order or the link text.
Do not include “intro” pages into a site
Allow users to reach directly the home page without any (Flash) site introduction pages getting in the way. Strive to make the site “transparent” and fast to be loaded, without finery.
Main navigation menu must remain constant throughout the site
Ensure that the main navigation menu of a site remain the same throughout the entire site. It is possible to expand it with extra navigational elements according to specific area of the site, but the very top-level navigation menu should remain constant allowing quick switch between a website sections.
Consistency in fonts
All fonts in the website’ pages should belong to the same font family. A font can be changed to differentiate one group from another, but everything within the same group should be identical to reinforce the perception that all elements within that group belong together.
The text can be emphasized using different size or colours, but always using the same font family.