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Designing your website

Woman on computerIn our Business Website session, Mark Bell from digital agency Dare said that getting an expert on board to help with the build of your site will help get the experience you want for your customers and that really reflects your business.  

However, you will still need to make lots of decisions when it comes to the visual identity of your business online.

With that in mind, Wayne Holder, Digital Design Director at strategic content agency Redwood, has put together his dos and don'ts for the design of any good website:


DO choose your brand colours carefully

If your brand is to exist online and in print, you need to establish which of your chosen colours will work well across both. This might mean building different colour palettes for online and print – try to keep at least one consistent colour to help with brand recognition.

DO consider using colour as signposting

You can help users find their way around your site by signposting certain sections with particular colours. However, try not to get carried away with too many colours as this can have the opposite effect and make your site really confusing. You can also use a particular colour to identify when an element onscreen is ‘hot' or clickable – a common example is using blue underlined links to indicate when text can be clicked, but you can use any colour as long as you're consistent.

DO make your site as clear and simple to read as possible

Limit the number of different fonts to a maximum of three. You may have a couple of brand fonts, which you want to use as part of your logo or as headings on the pages, but you will also need one that is completely legible onscreen. Go for a sans serif font, as they are generally better for this – Verdana, Arial or Helvetica are all popular for this.

DO familiarise yourself with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

WAI is a set of guidelines intended for web developers, authors, and designers – about how to make the web content accessible to people with disabilities. If your site lacks features, such as resizable fonts, or image descriptions, people may not be able to access your information.

DO use software such as Photoshop to create your design.

If you are creating designs for your website, use design software, such as Photoshop, as it enables you to cut your design up into slices, optimise their file size and export ready for importing into your HTML code. There are lots of free online video tutorials that can give you an overview on how to get started, as well as guidance on how to perform specific tasks using this software.

DO consider how your site will look on different devices

Whether you are building your website yourself or commissioning someone else, you will need to decide if it will be a responsive design, or in other words a design that responds to fit the size of the screen. This means that the site will display properly, whether it's viewed on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can check the responsiveness of your site's design by loading it in numerous different devices.



DON'T forget to test your site on a real person

You can either pay a professional testing company, or you can enlist the help of friends to test drive the site for you, checking they can navigate around the site easily, there are no broken links, all the images are displaying correctly and they can read everything.

DON'T forget to check your website is legible

Be prepared to be a bit more generous with font sizes and make sure there's enough of a contrast between foreground and background colours. There are many online colour checkers available, such as Check My Colours.

If you want more info on how to create a visual identity for you brand, take a look at expert and former creative director at Moo, Denise Wilton's golden rules now. And remember to make sure your fantastic visuals extend beyond your website, into your social media and online marketing.


Head to Barclays on Mumsnet for lots more:


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Last updated: over 3 years ago