A little more than five years ago, my career path took an interesting trajectory. I had just finished up my Masters in Sociology at the University of Chicago when I was offered a year-long assignment with a local social services agency that was revamping the website it used to collect data from its consumers. My role was to provide input into the wording of the questions. Essentially, I was to ensure that the content was culturally sensitive and appropriate.
As I worked on the project, I became more and more fascinated with the web design process itself. In fact, I saw many similarities between my chosen discipline and web design. After all, sociologists and web designers have to predict and recognize patterns in human behavior. Eventually, I asked to shadow some of the front end designers. I also began taking a couple of web design classes.
When the project ended, I decided to pursue web design full time. What I have learned is that there is a very fine line between a basic, functional website, and a high-quality website that provides great user experience. The following is an overview of some web design elements that truly take websites from mainstream to extraordinary.
Most brands have adopted personalization when it comes to email marketing. That’s why you receive emails from businesses addressing you by name. Unfortunately, too many companies have failed to use personalization when designing website UX.
So, how do you incorporate personalization into web design? There are several ways to do this. Here are just a few of them:
- Allow Visitors to Choose Their Experience Based on Their Purpose And Preferences. Use buyer personas to drive these experiences.
- Highlight Products For Users Based on Previous Purchases
- Create Localized Home Pages
- Customize Content Based on Funnel Position: For Example Link to a Product Demo From a Landing Page Designed For a Paid Advertisement
Taking Visuals to a New Level
If I had to name the just one difference between web pages that exude professionalism and that earn engagement, I would point to use of visual content. Good websites invest in high-quality images, videos with great production values, and infographic and other visual content that look as if they were produced by someone who knows what they were doing.
You may not be able to hire a full-time graphic designer or a video production company. However, there are things that you can do. For example, you can invest in having professional portraits taken of yourself and your team member to share on your ‘About Us’ page. You can also ensure that the images you put on your website are optimized.
Getting Visitors to Lean in With Typography
Speaking of thin lines, it really can be the seemingly smallest things that make a difference between a top quality website and an average one. Carefully selecting the fonts that you are going to use may not seem very important. This is especially true when you are trying to launch your site and are concerned with details such as ensuring that your customers can make purchases, and navigate your site using their smartphones. But, the truth is that this visual element really does make a big difference. Here are some great examples of use, of typography in web design.
When done correctly, a background video can add to the story that you are telling, and it can build on the aesthetic you have already worked on creating with the rest of your web design. However, if you decide to use this element, there are some best practices to follow. These includes:
- Do not play sound with your video. If it has sound be sure to auto mute it.
- Make sure that visitors won’t be left waiting for the page to load because of your video.
- Have a clearly defined purpose for your background video.
- If you can’t afford a well-produced video, skip this element.
You already know that great websites have great content. This is why you work hard to ensure that you post new blog content on the regular, and why you may have relied on top quality content reviews to help you create your web content when you first launched. Use some tools or services such as Get Academic Help to improve your content.
Here’s a new question, when was the last time you revamped your web content? Sure, product pages often get updated, as do landing pages, but what about your home page or your company history information? High-quality websites revamp all of their content on a regular basis. Pro tip: pay particular attention to content that contains dates, or references to future events.
Parallax scrolling is a web design technique that involves the background of a web page scrolling more slowly than the foreground. While that doesn’t sound very exciting, it’s actually quite genius. For one thing, if you opt to use a single page website, parallax scrolling will allow you to tell your story in an ingenious way. You can also use Parallax scrolling to allow images of your products to pop out of your page as if they were in 3D.
If you are active on Pinterest, you’ve experienced what card design looks like. This simple, yet elegant method of organizing content is popular largely because of its flexibility. It doesn’t matter if you are designing a website selling high-end home decor items, a site for an insurance company, or one for a political humor site. You can implement card design in any one of these scenarios.
A hero image is a large image that dominates a web page. In some cases, it may serve as the entire background of a web page. In other cases, it is part of a larger than average header at the top of the page. This is yet another visual element that can really add to the aesthetic value of a website.
Try to incorporate some of the elements named in this article into your next web design project. You may be surprised at how effectively these work to take your design to the next level.
About the author: Malia Keirsey is an ambitious blogger and web designer from Chicago. She’s gotten a masters degree in Sociology and started her career a few years ago. Her articles mostly related to the writing, marketing, and digital area. If you have questions, you can contact her via Facebook or Twitter.
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