At GreenMellen, we are all about embracing the latest and greatest ideas for innovating the Web, but some things were not meant to be reinvented. As more and more people rely on the Internet to do everything from grocery delivery to buying a house, some elements have become intuitive with how users interact with all websites, and it’s these things that shouldn’t be “reimagined” for the sake of reimagining it.
For the best user experience on your website, here are the top five website design conventions that need to stay the same.
Users typically scan web pages in a Z format and start at the top left corner of your website, go across to the top right corner, then make their way down the page by rescanning from right to left (making a Z pattern). Because of this, logos are usually found on the upper left corner on a website and usually serve as a go-to button to the homepage.
By consistently placing your logo on the top left, users will know they are still on your website and can click your logo to go back to the homepage. Sure, there are ways you can get creative with logo placement (such as placing it in the center of your navigation), but don’t make it so unique that people can’t find it easily.
Foolproof Content Hierarchy
Your website content should be organized in a way that makes sense for the user to consume. H1 text needs to be at the top and contain your most important message, while H2 and lower should follow in sequence. Not only will this aid in your organic SEO efforts, but they also help users understand the important message. When you mix these around on your web pages, your users will feel confused and may not take away any message from your site.
Website owners don’t give much thought to hyperlink design, which is shocking since they are fundamental to the Web. These linked words continue the browsing journey for users, and if these words are linked to important pages, they cannot be overlooked.
Hyperlinks need to stick out in your content and clearly say, “You can click on me to go somewhere else.” The standard practice is to use blue-and-underlined text to represent links, as this is what users have become accustomed to, but maybe that blue does not follow your brand guide. If that’s the case, we would recommend using a color that’s cohesive with your website’s main calls-to-actions and ideally keep them underlined. That way, your hyperlinks will never go unnoticed.
You should also avoid using phrases like, “click me” when adding a hyperlink. As long as you’ve formatted them properly, people know that links are for clicking. Instead, simply link the words that reference the topic, as we’ve done in this post. This is good for users, but also can help Google gain a better understanding of your site and boost your SEO.
Web trends have explored main navigation placement everywhere from the side of the web page to…nonexistent. No matter the current trend, users have come to expect to see the navigation across the top of a website. Think about navigations like a table of contents; you know the table of content is going to be at the forefront of a book, and you should expect the same with website navigations.
Trust us when we say this: if users cannot find your website’s navigation, they will get frustrated and ultimately leave your site.
Everyone who has been on the Internet for more than 10 minutes knows what a button’s purpose is: to click and go to a different web page/download an item/submit information, etc. Obviously, buttons can have many uses, but no matter the website, always make sure your buttons link to something.
Furthermore, your buttons need to deliver on the call-to-action. For example, if you click a button that says, “Sign Up Now,” don’t take them to a page explaining all the great things that will happen if they sign up. They have already completed that step in the user journey, so they should be sent to an online form with various fields to fill in and a submit button.
Breaking website design conventions could cause confusion, which could hurt your sales and/or website analytics. There is always a time and place to create something original when it comes to websites, but let’s keep the online browsers, buyers, and in-betweeners happy and leave these elements untouched!
To learn more about website design or have questions about your website, give us a shout!