Web design – the difference between good design and great design

Effective Web Design Guidelines

So that we as web designers can use best design practices, we first must understand how people use a web interface and learn their behaviours.

“Here’s a menu of everything. Good luck finding stuff!”
web designer
John Doe
Poor Designer

So, how do web-users think?

Essentially, peoples’ habits on a website are not that much different than those of a customer entering a shop on the high street (remember those?)

When customers enter a shop, they quickly scan the immediate area to see where they need to head over to first. If they know the layout and are familiar with the shop, they will know where to go but first time visitors need a bit of help. They need a sign.

It’s the same with web design. Sure, there’s the menu system we’ve grown up with but that’s the same as a long list of product categories on a sign in the shop. It’s a chore to read through it all. And does ‘hardware’ include electrical items? Probably, but better check the whole list before you he’d up 6 flights of stairs only to find that the electrical stuff is in the basement.

So, how does that compare to a website? We can still include a menu, that’s fine. But we should also design in some pointers to the main event. We can add big images or graphics and an obvious link to the ‘contact us’ page or the main services.

Let’s say to the website user – “here’s a couple of pointers to the main things you probably want” and not: “Here’s a menu of everything. Good luck finding stuff!”

Website users scan, they don’t read. A quick scan of the page is all they need.

Find the main event and ‘click’.

Got it, thanks.

Extracted from this article about web design.