There is more to creating a great website than simply making it look good. The best websites in the world share similar traits that we can all learn from and apply to our own work.
1) Designing for performance
Speed is a crucial factor for any website. If a user finds a site loads too slowly, they’ll close it and move on to another site – which can be devastating if your main source of income is your website. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how quick your website is.
Break it down
Behind the scenes, websites consist of many scripts and CSS styling files. The more there are, the slower your website loads. But it’s not necessary for all these files to load at once when a page is viewed. A CSS style can consist of hundreds or thousands of lines, why not then create a base stylesheet for the main components of your website, accompanied by other CSS files that only trigger when viewing specific pages?
This breaks the work into smaller parts, and makes your website work less – all improving your overall load times.
Video and images are great visual assets that draw the eyes of users, but they might also be slowing down your site significantly – to the point that users abandon your site and go to competing sites.
Upload similar images but in varying sizes that cater to different formats, and implement scripts that identify what size screen your site is loading on, and then chooses the optimal image to load for that platform.
2) User-friendly design
User-friendly design is all about predicting how users will interact with your site. Unfortunately it’s not an exact art, and might require some changes later as you learn more from users and their experiences with the site. That kind of information can be obtained from studying data from Google Analytics.
The layout of your user interface (UI) is the backbone of your site. Users need to be able to easily find whatever information they’re looking for. That’s easy enough if you have a portfolio website with only a few pages on your site, but what if you have a complex eCommerce site with thousands of products, multiple categories and more?
With mobile devices becoming increasingly popular, you should be focusing on mobile-friendly designs for all your sites (not just for better navigation, but for SEO-purposes too LINK).
Take into consideration that mobile users mainly use their thumbs to navigate their phones. Clickable elements should be larger and be surrounded by enough space in order not to click on the wrong link or object.