Web Design and Development – Simplify Navigation to Attract and Keep Those Visitors

Clear and easy navigation is a central part of effective website design. Effective navigation can enhance user experience, build trust and loyalty and add to your client base. Conversely, difficulty in accessing information and outdated links can greatly degrade the reputation of your business and make you lose your customers.

Before you start designing your website, determine the number of pages it will have, the content of each page and how the pages will be linked to each other. Linked pages should use consistent font styles, graphics and colors. You can also look at the styles, colors and graphics of other popular websites and how they change from one link the next. There should never be any conflicting information on linked pages, as this can negatively influence your reputation and diminish your client base. Additionally, a web page must have all relevant links to enhance customer experience and satisfaction.

Quick and Easy Search

Your website should be designed in a way that it facilitates quick and easy search of desired information. In general, it should not take more than two to three clicks for customers to access the required information. If they cannot easily find what they are looking for, and have to browse through several pages before reaching their search items, they will get bored and turn their attention to other websites. Easy search capabilities make visitors’ browsing experience an enjoyable one.

As a rule of thumb, do not use more than five navigation bars. Additionally, provide options for your customers to review previously viewed content areas without having to use three or four links. In other words, it is always advisable to provide a link to the homepage on every web page of your site. Site maps can help customers and search engines to find web pages on your sites.

Selecting Navigation Links

Depending on the types of your business, you may need to provide links to different elements. The commonly highlighted elements include customer testimonials, return, guarantee, privacy and warrantee policies, credentials, discount and promotional offers, contact information, shipping cost, tracking information, site maps and the like.

Personalizing Navigation

It is always a good practice to personalize your website design and navigation to make your web pages more intuitive. Let us say you run a pet care service. Navigation buttons at the top of the page may include Home, Cat owners, Dog owners, Services, Rates, Contact. The faster your customers can navigate through your website and find what they are looking for, the more likely you are to get repeat visits from them.

Adding Links for Alternative Online Payment Methods

If you are selling products or services through your website, you should provide your customers with an alternative payment option. This could include an online order form and fax line or toll-free number. This gives cautious customers who do not want to use their credit cards online, an excellent payment option. This link should be included along with all other payment links.

Testing your Navigation Scheme

Once you implement a navigation scheme, get your friends, family and customers to test it out. Get people of different ages and backgrounds to use your website and evaluate the link and navigation structure. Their feedback will help you to assess its effectiveness and how it can be improved and refined. Further, your website links should be functional on more than one browser, for instance, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Monitoring Links

Regularly monitor your links to ensure proper functionality. Outdated links are annoying and may seriously affect your business reputation.

Simplicity and logical consistency in your navigation design makes it easy for customers to search desired pages and also puts your business in the best light and wins loyalty for your brand.

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing a Website

Repeatedly, web developers unintentionally make the same mistakes, and at the same time they don’t always take into consideration the importance of their client’s business. Sometimes, web developer’s end up doing some pretty outrageous things to their client’s website when trying to attract attention towards it, however, they end up scaring potential clients away.

You may be thinking, “Well, how do I know if what I’m doing is a little tacky?” The best way to go about figuring it out is by testing your elements. After a few runs, you and your client will see what works best for grabbing attention without so much gaudiness.

Another way of perking up your web development skill is to peruse other websites and take note of what stands out, whether negative or positive. Most likely, if you find something that is annoying, others will probably have that in common right along with you.

Here are 4 things you should avoid when developing a website:

Background Music: If you client is a music publisher, recording engineer or the like, music would be a great idea. However, if they aren’t in the music business, there really is no need for distracting music. If your client wants music on their site, give the visitor the option of turning it off with a button or volume controller.

Giant Font: When visitors come to the site and they see GIANT FONT, they may feel as though you are yelling at them. However, if the site is for those who are visually impaired, GIANT FONT may be a good idea. The same goes for really tiny font.

Pop-ups: Time and time again, when browsing the web we’re always dealing with those aggravating pop-ups, ads and everything else. If you can help it, don’t add any pop-ups to your site, it’s just plain annoying.

A Video Player: Video has become quite popular in cyberspace, and by all means, we’re not saying “don’t use them.” Definitely use them, but a.) Keep it to a minimum and b.) Give the visitor the option to play it if they want. Don’t force them to watch it, let them choose. However, if it is really an asset to your client, always test either option first and see what kind of response you get.

When you’re developing a website, always keep your client’s needs ahead of your own and at the same time, work to get the message out there. If the website you’re creating starts to look annoying or you have a feeling that it’s not “right,” try testing it out with an audience first and then decide.

Choose the Best Web Designer to Developed Your Site

It’s hard to make a choice between a freelance web designer and a web designing company for preparing a customized website for your business. Generally, it seems easier to deal with an individual rather than firm with a number of experts. However, it depends on the size of your company that the website is going to serve.

You will able to identify numerous positive and negative points if you make a comparative study between the two options. However, the selection depends on your perception and objective of your website.

Sometimes people prefer freelancers over companies with the idea that it’s easier to maintain understanding with an individual rather than a firm with a number of staffs dealing with the same job. However, you should remember that as an online business operator you have to get ready to handle lots of professionals for your website’s sake.

Since, web designing is a specialized job; you need specialists for developing various aspects of your website successfully. You can face some problems by appointing a freelance web designer for the simple reason that a single person may not have similar expertise in all sections of web development. It’s a fact that your chances of getting a better service from a web designing company are always higher than an individual. A company is expected to serve you better with its multidimensional resources.

A freelancer generally designs websites in cheaper cost than a company. For obvious reasons clients get attracted to them instantly but this can be suicidal. Keep in mind that compromising your website’s quality for expenses is not advisable. You have to select the one who can serve you in the best possible way in an affordable price. Here your own market survey and research can prove useful.

Most of the companies offer post-launch modification and maintenance services. You may not get that from an individual web designer. Not only that making last minute adjustments can be easier with a team of experts who can give you multiple suggestions. But a lone freelancer may not able to do this.

However, an experienced freelancer can serve you convincingly in a very low production cost if he has a professional outlook towards his work. Another advantage of appointing a freelancer is that he will concentrate more on the project in hand rather than finding ways of profit making. He alone gets the scope to organize the whole web building process as per the client’s choice. No other expert can interfere in it. On the other hand interference of multiple people is very common in web designing companies. The client should give the web designer a free-hand so that he can produce his best work for you.