Our Laws of Attraction: Design Tips to Keep Users Drawn to Your Website

Chalk drawing of a hand holding a magnet collecting different social media icons

People around the world would have a different opinion on what the perfect website should look like, and that’s because a website’s design is based on people’s experience and perspective. One look may be liked by many, but it might not be by others. I tried going by the name Eugene for a bit and some people in the office actually started calling me that (and liked it for a bit), but ultimately, I think Cedric suited me best because that’s just who I am. I also thought I’d look good with a shaved head, but ask me again after I’ve had a pint of Guinness.

There are many factors that contribute to successful web design. That’s why our team of well-rounded and knowledgeable designers and I compiled a bunch of tips to help you keep your website looking snappy and running smooth.

Plan your site design (and your audience)

A pair of hands writing on a blank notebook with a set of pencils, a laptop, and a cell phone scattered on the desk.

Don’t start designing your website without a plan. If you have an idea for what you want your visitors to learn and see on your site, you should consider what might look better for your visitors, content they would want to read and information that they want to look for—you should essentially know who your audience is!

Information is the key

A woman holding a large magnifying glass standing beside a large computer window with a pie chart on it, with another woman standing on top and a guy standing opposite the guy

Gather as much data as possible to help you map out your next design strategy.  Take what you already know about your existing customers’ preferences and use that data to plan your design strategy. Again, it’s all about knowing who your audience is and making the right choices to keep them glued to the page.

Implement Calls-to-Action

A red button with the words "get started" marked on top and a white hand pointing at ito click on it

Most visitors don’t know what to do next after they’ve landed on your site, especially for new visitors. Since they’re not familiar with your website, they wouldn’t know how to respond to the information that’s presented to them. Calls-to-Action elements, like forms or buttons, are implemented by many websites to suggest what steps their visitors should take next. By implementing call-to-action elements on your site, you can help your visitors browse your site and lead them to where they should go next.

Use the right images

A collage of photos jumbled together

Images sometimes carry the design to your page and offer the most visual flair, but if you’re not using the right images, they can leave users confused about what you’re trying to tell them. It’s also important that your using images that aren’t owned or photographed by other people without their permission because that’s a legal battle that nobody ever wants to go through. The best way to tackle both of these things are to grab stock images from reliable sources—some are free and some are not, so it’s totally your preference. Using stock images help to build trust with your visitors, while the right implementation of the image will bring more realism to your site and help legitimize your brand, so choose them wisely.

Familiarity

Some guy looking at a bunch of drawing that look like computer windows

A huge study was done by Google that shows visitors prefer websites with more simple and familiar designs, compared to something a little more complex. Keep your site design simple and make sure it follows proper design guidelines, like having your logo on the top left, the main navigation across the top of the page, social media icons in the footer, etc. Much like a really difficult relationship, the more complex it is to navigate the less beautiful people tend to perceive it.

Include social share and follow buttons

Facebook and youtube share buttons that look like keyboard keys

You’re missing out on so many potential users if you don’t have social shares and follow buttons already. These are small buttons added all around the site, usually seen below a featured item on your site, header or footer. Social share buttons will help you boost your chances of getting new visitors when existing customers share your site to their social media pages (unless those particular customers just share slacktivist rants on Facebook, or flood their Instagram page with unnecessary selfies in front of a dirty mirror, in which case, no one will want to see what they post). These share buttons will help increase your site’s traffic without being too pushy and it’s a must-have feature to have on your site.

Mobile Optimization

a tablet, smartphone, laptop computer, and desktop computer all showing the same image that says responsive design

Nowadays, the majority of users browse the internet on their mobile devices or tablets because everybody’s got them (it’d be weird if they didn’t in this day and age). If your site is not mobile friendly, there’s a big chance that’s the reason why you’re not getting new visitors to your site, or even worse, losing your existing visitors.

Reference new trends

The words "What's New" written in white etchings and a hand that looks like it's writing that

Referencing competitors and new trends is a good tool to improve your design. Checking what’s trending and applying them to your site will most likely catch the eyes of your viewers and potentially get new ones as well.

Keep it simple

The words "keep it simple" in a white background written in permanent marker

Just like some superhero movies and sci-fi epics that come to mind, too many special effects, explosions, spaceships and robots just blur together and mute what’s going on in the movie—and It goes the same with your design. Don’t add too many special effects like gradients, shadows and font styles to your website because you’ll quickly move toward a bloated and aesthetically-muted image. Just use enough “special effects” to touch up your design, like removing those awkward cables holding up Superman by the crotch harness so it looks like he’s actually flying.

Creativity and originality

A lightbulb drawn in crayon with the words creativity and ideas written inside of it

Always look for opportunities to push your creative abilities and web design skills. Find ways to stay above industry standards and achieve creating the most original graphics possible. Don’t be afraid to experiment, be inventive, or combine different design techniques.

Once you are comfortable with your expertise, you can start setting trends and creating designs that correspond with your own unique style, leaving a personal stamp on your work. If you think your website still needs more simple and mobile-friendly design, Strathcom’s got some of the best web designers on the block!

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