Web design is much more than just the appearance of a website. It also includes other aspects, such as the choice of content, your tone of voice, or how much fun users have on your site. In other words, the content of a website influences how we perceive the design. That’s why I consider these rather practical aspects content premises in web design. If you can’t convince people with your content, you will have a hard time to do so with your design. I put together a selection of seven tips that will help you build a solid foundation for your design.
1. Make it relevant
Offer information and content on your site that is relevant. Relevant can be anything from a good laugh to in-depth information. Even a picture that does not directly carry information can be essential for your user experience. So there is no need to drop every piece of content that does not inform your users, but drop the things that don’t add anything to either your user’s needs or their experience on your site. Start to focus on your users early to get some good insights into who they are and what they want to decide on what’s relevant to them and what is not.
2. Make it targeted
Make sure you speak your users’ language and apply a tone of voice that matches their expectations. The way you communicate with your users mainly depends on three aspects: the users themselves, the context of use, and your internal goals. Knowing who you are targeting and in what context these people visit your site will help you to address them appropriately. Your internal goals, such as the image you want to communicate and the relationship you want to have with your users are set in your tone of voice.
3. Make it real
People don’t like to interact with a machine, but they really appreciate to communicate with a real person. By showing your users that there are real people sitting behind your website will make them like and trust your site more. Show that you are available and open for feedback and questions, for example through clear contact information and a physical address. Also pictures are very powerful to make a website more personal.
4. Make it credible
This part is very important. Besides offering relevant content that actually interests your users, you must be credible. A nice topic that people are highly interested in will ultimately lead to frustration if it doesn’t keep up with people’s expectations. Also if you offer unspecific or even false information, you will loose credibility. On the one hand it is important to appear as an expert in your field to gain people’s trust and interest. On the other hand it is crucial that you really have that expertise in order to not disappoint your users.
5. Make it catchy
The Web offers a constantly growing choice of sources for information, services, and products. You might have the perfect mixture of targeted content, if you can’t manage to stand out and grab people’s attention, your website will not be worth a lot. You need to come up with something to make sure people will know who you are. This can be through great SEO, loads of advertisement, a video on Youtube going viral, or anything else that draws people in. Check out what your competitors do and let your creativity run free.
6. Make it usable
With the technology available and the expectations people have towards a website nowadays, usability has become a commodity. People will seldom say: “Hey, I like how this functionality matches my expectations.” But they will notice if something does not work. So make sure, you have considered basic usability aspects and your website is functional, understandable, and learnable. People should be able to effectively and efficiently find the content on your website that they came for.
7. Make it pleasurable
Even though this is the last point, it does not mean it is less important. Actually, for a successful website it might just be the most important one. If you can manage to convince people that it is fun to visit your website and use your product, or service, you can stretch their tolerance for other, less well-designed aspects of your site. Of course the idea is not to compensate the lack of one of the above aspects by offering a great user experience, but it illustrates how powerful this last point is. An emotional touch to your site and convincing content can dominate what people think of you and your site, or product. Engagement, interaction, and involvement can draw attention, awake trust and help people to remember you.