Web Design Strategy – 7 Tips for 2018

Web Design Strategy – 7 Tips for 2018

Last Updated: November 19, 2018

Technical skills are essential in effective website design, especially for business websites. However, strategic thinking, informed by the latest trends from across the online publishing space—and, occasionally, traditional off-line publishing—is just as important when planning a website that is going to snag the attention of your visitors and convert visits into sales or clicks.

 

Tips to Improve Your Web Design Strategy

Taking a long view of these trends and techniques helps to fortify your web design strategy, and keep your product fully on-trend with the best of what’s happening online. Start devising a web design strategy today, with these 7 tips.
 

Web Design Strategy TipFurther Information

1. First prepare your design off-site

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2. Consider preparing a House Style Guide for your site

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3. Go for large and clean typefaces

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4. Use only the slickest imagery

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5. Streamline and declutter your website navigation

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6. Make sure your design is mobile responsive - it's non-negotiable!

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7. Always stay attuned to the latest developments

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1. Design Off-Site First

If you’re a coding ninja, it’s tempting to design your template on-site at top speed, and worry about editing and fine-tuning as you go. So, try an alternative approach and get it right first time. Sketch a design or site structure on a notepad or a whiteboard. It gives a much clearer idea of how every single element relates to the overall. If this hard-copy approach is unappealingly old-school, there are numerous prototype offsite design tools and wireframe packages available. Either way, visualising your ideas prior to working on site development is surprisingly effective

 

 

2. Consider a House Style Guide

A notable trend in web design strategy in recent years has been an inexorable shift towards a spacious, uncluttered visual style with a clear hierarchical structure and intuitive navigation for end-users. Some of the best designs have the same feel as classic print periodical magazines.

Traditional media maintained their consistency by rigidly adhering to a house style guide. Many of these documents are freely available online. For example, the style guides for Associated Press or Reuters tell writers all they need to know about textual presentation and grammatical style, to ensure that everything sent over the newswires is identifiably Reuters or AP.

The visual style guide of a print publication, whether a newspaper or magazine, designates design grids for the pages, and specifies maximum and minimum sizes for imagery, groupings of typeface weights and sizes for the typography used in any part of the design (headlines, intros, photograph captions, body text, etc), colour, and so on.

A style guide is a key weapon for web designers, helping them achieve a consistent visual style for the website. Maintaining one is a great way of helping to optimise your site, through consistently logical structure. A good example is Google’s guide for its Material Design language for web and mobile products, which drills down into grid-based layouts, transitions and responsive animations, padding, as well as lighting and shadow effects. Interestingly, at the launch of Material Design, Google stated that its new design language was based on “paper and ink”.

 

 

3. Use Large, Clean Typefaces

The move towards mobile responsive web design has hastened an already palpable preference for large, clean typefaces and minimalist design that had already become more popular in recent years. Large sans serif type is potent. It’s attractive, focuses the reader’s attention on content, and remains readable even on mobile devices.

Some sites use font sizes of up to 18 point for body text, but bear in mind that this will not suit every situation. However, larger faces have become essential for homepages, especially those whose calling card is a large standalone image, rather than one that is predominantly textual. The best advice is to go for a typeface that is web-friendly and will scale well across multiple platforms.

 

 

4. Use the Slickest Imagery

Imagery is something that is well worth investing time in, especially if you are using stock photographs from free online providers. The last thing that you need is an image that is almost or exactly identical to one used by your competitors.

Getting stock imagery right takes significant time and research. Other options are to invest in a subscription to a premium stock images provider, or to commission a photographer to create your own set of images.

Either way, it is a proven fact that slick, well-produced imagery is one of the fastest routes to online engagement with your target market. So whether this is something that you expend time or money in, there are no shortcuts if you want your site to stand out from the crowd.

 

 

5. Streamline & Declutter Navigation

Devise a structure that enables a visitor to swiftly navigate from any one location to any other, or to where you would like them to be. Don’t create a multiplicity of links on the navigation menu, sidebar or the homepage. Too many options creates ‘overload’, which runs the risk of people deciding to leave the site entirely.

Hand-in-hand with the classic approach to typography should be a clean-cut approach to navigation. Eliminate clutter, including sidebars. The latter were once regarded as a cool way to link users with widely-shared or strategically identified content, or recent and popular posts. However, their use as spaces for posting links to promotional items has led site visitors to avoid them

Rather than expending valuable time and energy on something, according to research, that is not used by most people, and which can negatively impact on your design or compromise your navigational structure, instead focus on devising clearer pathways for your target market.

 

 

6. Mobile-Responsive is Non-Negotiable

Mobile web usage continues to increase, every day, meaning that websites not properly designed with mobile handsets in mind are increasingly a non-runner. For this reason, make it a cornerstone of your web design strategy that mobile responsiveness is non-negotiable, to the extent that some web designers are beginning to embrace the concept of mobile-first design.

Responsive design is a complex process, and should not be considered as a ‘bolt-on’ if you are planning a website for your business. As mobile technology evolves, designers of mobile sites must not only consider fluid layout, but also imagery, positioning of hamburger menus for navigation, as well as factors such as transitions, responsive animation, lighting, shadow and the other effects which Google has identified in its Material Design language for its web and app products.

 

 

7. Keep Attuned for New Tools & Developments

Good designers always assiduously research tools that will make their tasks easier. And there is a good reason why there is no shortage of advice about web design tips—they are fed by the responses to an ongoing succession of new apps and tools, free and premium, and upgrades to perennial design sector favourites. Constant reading and research is the lifeblood of a web design strategy that will never date.

 

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