(English) How to make a working website

Julia Alexeenko
Jan 03, 2019

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Oval (1)Valentin Sauts designs user interfaces for over 12 years. He’s an experienced art director and a design guru TaxiStartup is extremely happy to have in-house. Years of experience haven’t made his heart tough though, and he’s still eager to share some no-bullshit insights on how to design a good website.

Learn and enjoy.

Tip 1. There’s too much information. Stand out

To begin with, there’s too much of everything nowadays. Posts on social media, news, fake news, pictures, videos, products, thoughts… We can get anything we want. Nothing sticks, nothing lasts, nobody seems to remember what was hype a year ago. The result is simple: to be memorable, you have to catch the eye.

Because of this need to be eye-catching, contemporary design is often aggressive, very bold, wild. The main purpose of being bold is being different, grasping attention. Because, well, if your audience won’t be able to tell the difference between you and all the other companies, your business is virtually dead.

At Stanford University, they’ve recently found out that about 50% of all people shape their opinion about the services based on how the website looks. When users don’t like the design, they are much more inclined to perceive all the information as unreliable.

This is why thorough client research is crucial for designing a good website. To know what kind of design you should create, you need to know what’s appealing to your target audience. A simple example: if you target young people, don’t hesitate to splash bright colors generously all over the website. Even without particularly liking the realization, people remember bright things.

Tip 2. A cool logo is a half battle

In terms of design, the company logo is the most important thing, ever. The logo is something you use on the website repeatedly, and many app owners initially create a logo with their eyes fixed on this aim. Somehow, they fail to foresee that a logo is used for branding on all sorts of things: vehicles, leaflets, T-shirts… This is why there are so many unreadable, messy logos out there.

The fact is, a logo is something people should recognize you by. Most humans have bad eyes and very little attention to perceive all the great details you put in your logo. What’s even worse, people cannot remember something they did not recognize.

Conclusion? Design a logo for your company (and your website, respectively) to be as simple as possible. Cut out all the coat-of-arms-like nonsense, don’t even start playing with an idea of giving it some additional or hidden meaning.

Here are some general recommendations to make a well-perceptible logo.

  • Do not use thin fonts. They are simply not readable from a distance.
  • Try not to use capital letters. In case it’s inevitable, make sure to increase the letter spacing so that the letters won’t stick together too much.
  • Try to make a monochromatic logo. The lesser the number of colors is used in the logo, the better it is to remember.
  • Do not implement any tiny details into the logo. Because it’s not only the website where you will use the logo, small details can really be a pain in the neck.
  • Avoid using icons in the logo. The icon itself distracts a person from perceiving the company’s name. Okay, if your company is Apple or Jaguar, there’s always space for the icon. But if you are a new business, do not even attempt it. There are so many icons on Earth already, the chance that you will be remembered for the icon is zero — while the company’s name is quite easy to memorize.

Tip 3. Right website layout is a king. Seriously

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The layout is basically the way your webpage looks, the way you place the information on it, how the things are arranged. There are several rules for creating a perfect layout for your app’s website.

First of all, never be afraid to be bold and noticeable. In fact, it’s better to set a trend than to follow one. Experiment with your layout, fight for attention — and you will win.
Another rule is understanding why people actually visit the website. After you’ve won the user’s attention, you have to retain it. The only way to keep users engaged is to give them exactly the information they’re looking for. Are they looking for a link to download the app? Put it in a prominent place!

The next point is that everything should be as easy as possible. People don’t like spending time reading huge promotional texts and watching long ads. Be straightforward and up-to-the-point. Make the website layout and the navigation clear. Is there a need to say the information should be structured? Just don’t talk about everything at the same time. In the world flooded with information, people are thankful for that.

“Less is more” is actually the best rule for creating a good website design. Less text, fewer pages, shorter pages length should be the priorities.

Probably the last advice — and the most important at the same time! — is that mobile website design should go first when you’re planning a layout. This approach is called “mobile first”. If you start with a desktop version, you have a feeling there’s a space to fit all the information in. On mobile, you don’t have this space. Scaling from mobile to desktop is therefore easy and painless while working another way around is labor-intensive and often more expensive. So why invest more if you can invest less?

Tip 4. Good fonts are essential for good website design

The drama of my life as a designer is that people don’t realize how important the fonts are. How a font can influence our perception. Every font has its own temper, and you need the one matching your brand appearance. Know “Harry Potter”? A good font is like a magic wand: it chooses you and makes you stronger.

So choose a good font. The right font is literally a half of the work one needs to do for a good website for a mobile app. It’s simply about creating a joyful experience for the people reading your texts.

Do not use more than two fonts on the website. Ideally, stick to just one. Select two or three text styles for headings, one for buttons, one for the basic text — this is right enough to make the webpage look good. Want to highlight something? Be careful: don’t highlight too many things at a time. Leave the text some space to breathe.

Whatever font you use, avoid long lines. The optimal length is between 5 and 7 words, like in newspapers and magazines. The optimal font size is 16 pt.

Tip 5. Make sure the website content speaks for your company. Out loud!

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The top-priority of making a website for an app is monetizing the app, right? Getting more downloads, attracting new clients, re-engaging the existing customer base. In other words, the design should work hard for your business.

This is why choosing the right content is essential for good design. First of all, figure out what kind of images can show the spirit of your product, photos or illustrations. If you go for photos, skip out on stock images, even if “real pictures” have poorer quality. Real shots are always more attractive to people — because humans basically love seeing other humans

Call-to-action buttons are a vital element of website design. They should be placed on the main page, in the middle of the site, at the end. Yet take care to not overdo it. It works the same way as in the real life: while networking, you tell people how cool you are and then give them a possibility to contact you — but you don’t force them to write down your cell number, huh?
Wanna know one universal rule on picking good website content? When in doubt if it’s interesting, don’t share it. Works perfectly for every element.

Good luck with being the brightest out there!

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