When designing a personalized virtual space, for yourself or your business, there are a few important principles to consider.
1. Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good
The worst type of expenditures is unnecessary expenditures. Nothing eats into your profit margins more quickly than superfluous financial outlays which accomplish next to nothing.
Applying this principle to web design, we arrive at the idea of leaving well enough alone. If you have a functional website, it is getting reliable page views, the metrics show that it holds a sufficient appeal among its target audience, and you are getting few if any complaints from users, then you have succeeded.
Too many people spend countless man-hours and untold sums on consultants and advisors in an attempt to make their site absolutely flawless before it goes live. This is a missed opportunity.
It’s best to publish as soon as you have a working product so that you are generating revenue from the outset. You can then experiment with different layouts and iterate on your basic theme in different markets. It turns a large initial sunk-cost into a more manageable periodic business expense, one whose results you can see immediately.
Don’t pay people to tell you what might work; release what you have, and then make modifications as you continuously figure out what does work.
2. Menus are a Two-Edged Sword
Properly-formatted menus will make-or-break your website.
On the one hand, you want the user to be able to see as much of what you have on offer at any given time as possible. For example, say you sell electronics. If a potential customer wants to purchase a television, the last thing you want is for them to click on your homepage and see the exact television they had in mind, and only that television.
Far better to show them that you also sell speakers, and wall mounts, and other related products that would complement their new TV quite nicely.
But at the same time, you don’t want to put thirty-five clicks and fifteen menus between them and the purchase they came there to make.
Discovering the balance between these two extremes is critical for any good design.
3. Be Comfortably Different
There is a distinct yet critical gulf that exists between being just different enough and being too different
You obviously want to create a unique online space, one that sets your brand apart and easily distinguishes it from all your competitors. But you don’t want to confuse your prospective buyer. They should intuitively understand the layout of your site, without you needing to explain it or teach them how it works.
Buttons and menus should be in the places where they are naturally expected. Graphical elements and flourishes should be eye-catching, but not to the point of being overwhelming or distracting.
Colors are also very important – and we’ve found that grey is the secret colour of web design.
Keeping these tips firmly in mind as you design your website will send you well on your way to success before you have even begun, and save you no end of heartache as you move into the future.