What should you focus on when designing your content or business website, should you focus more on readability, or is aesthetics the most important factor? Getting the right balance will provide a good user experience (UX) which is also good for SEO.
When it comes to designing, people’s natural temperament tends to push them in the direction that they want to focus on, such as readability & usability (UX) vs aesthetics (UI). Both are important, however depending on what type of website it is should tilt you in a certain direction. If it’s a content focused website with many articles, then readability should be the focus. If it’s a business website, then aesthetics and certain design features could be more important, so it gives the right first impression.
With content sites, like an article rich website or blog, then it has to be designed with that in mind. The articles are the primary focus, so you need a website which is comfortable to read. The standard white or light background, with black or similar dark text will create a contrast that’s easy to read. If you’re the creative type, that is sensitive to aesthetics and seeks uniqueness, it can be tempting to experiment with different colours and contrasts, however if it jeopardizes the user experience it’s probably not worth it.
Business websites can be focused more on the aesthetics and design side. As long as the important information is displayed and easy to read, you can go with a more feature rich and visually impressive website. An aesthetically pleasing and feature rich website can give the impression of professionalism and competence.
While there are differences in content rich and business websites, there are also some universal recommendations that can be made.
Simple to Navigate
Whatever type of website it is, it needs to be simple enough to navigate with ease. All important pages need to be easily visible and clearly labelled. With content websites, most people never go deeper than three links in, which is something to keep in mind. Plenty of internal linking is helpful for visitors, and it’s also good for SEO.
Good Colour Selection
Contrast is very important when it comes to a user experience, bad contrast can be hard on the eyes. Good colour selection also makes a website visually appealing. Colours can also be important when it comes to brand recognition. Colours are associated with different things, sometimes these associations are personal, however often they’re universal, giving visitors instant information about the website they are visiting, just from the colours used.
Images & Graphics
Website graphics can be used for a few different reasons. Info graphics can provide useful information, these can also be shared on image sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Images can also be there for enhancing visuals and the general aesthetics of the website. With a text rich website images are often good for breaking up the content and adding variety to the site. Ideally your image will do all these things. Something to keep in mind is, if you over use images they can slow down your website, harming the performance and user experience.
Font Size & Website Responsiveness
Font size and responsiveness of a website greatly influence the user experience. If the font is too small, it may prove difficult to read for some people, if it’s too big, it can ruin the aesthetics, so a balance is needed. Due to the wide variety of devices we browse the internet on, the website needs to adapt to those devices for good functionality and readability. Plus according to Google it’s also a ranking factor.
As mentioned before, too many images, or un-optimized images can slow down the site. You also need to make sure your website doesn’t have anything unnecessary running which can slow it down. A good example of this would be a WordPress website having too many unnecessary plugins or themes installed, which can slow it down. Website speed is a ranking factor in SEO, website speed affects bounce rates and user retention rates.