28
May 2014

Website DO's and DON'Ts

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If done properly, your website can be one of the best marketing tools for your business. It's more than just a modern-day digital phone book ad (remember phone books?). Your site is an interactive online office or storefront that's open 24/7. Here are some basic DO's and DON'Ts that all websites should follow to ensure a great user experience:

Mobile

Do: Have a website that's optimized for smartphones and tablets. Whether it's a responsive design or a separate version from your desktop one, it's more than likely that at least 50% of your visitors are viewing your site with a device that's not a desktop or laptop.

Don't: Think that a fixed site framework is good enough. Having a website that's responsive to the user's viewing device means better usability for your existing and future customers.

Call To Action

Do: Keep the wording of the CTA as clear and short as possible - do your best to keep it under 4 words.

Don’t: Try not to let your CTA go unseen. If you want people to click through, don’t overlook the importance of placement (above to scroll).

Navigation

Do: Keep primary navigation simple. A good rule thumb with larger screens (a viewing width of more than 1280px) is to use a maximum of 5 to 7 links. With today's modern design frameworks it's possible to create multi-column drop down menus to keep things organized and only a mouse-over or click away!

When it comes to smartphones and tablets, today's standard is to use a simple drop down menu, or better yet, an off canvas menu that's toggled with the tap of an icon. Using a "Tap To Call" button for smartphones is also a convenient feature for the user.

Don't: Hide important contact links. Nothing is more annoying than having to click 3 times just to find a phone number!

Content

Do: Use proper header and paragraph structure. Search engines understand what takes priority with regards to content and will index it accordingly.

Don't: Use line breaks to space apart paragraphs. Properly designed sites will include styling rules that give headers and paragraphs the proper margins. Avoid overusing bold text or italics to emphasize content, and NEVER underline text if it's not linking to something!

Images

Do: Use high quality imagery that will draw your users in and peak their interest. Nothing says unprofessional more than a bad quality image.

Don’t: There’s no need to add every amazing pic you have at your disposal. A few solid images should be more than enough.

Audio & Video

Do: Take advantage of media providers like YouTube to store your videos (since YouTube is in itself a great search engine). Using YouTube as your video provider means you can embed your video quickly and easily into your own site, and you know it will work across iOS devices.

Don't: Automatically play video or audio when a page loads. Most users find that annoying which means their first impression of your site won't be a great one.

Flash

Don't: Since iOS doesn't support flash, anything using flash (page intros, navigation menus, audio & video) won't work. Best practice - ditch the flash!

Miscellaneous DO's

  • Keep content fresh and current - let your readers know your site is up to date
  • Include a Sitemap, both for your site's viewers and for search engines
  • Use white space/negative space to help separate grouped content
  • Keep your website's framework up to date and secure to help lessen the chance of being hacked
  • Use proper contrast and font-size for text
  • Follow the "Three Click Rule" - users should never be more than 3 clicks away from information

Miscellaneous DON'Ts

  • Page Intros - just, don't
  • Visible page counters - use Google Analytics instead
  • Use tables for anything other than tabular data
  • Style text with more than two fonts
  • Use "Click Here" - if it's properly linked, users know it
  • Use Pop-Ups!

Not sure if your site is up to snuff? Get in touch with us and we'll evaluate what works, what doesn't, and what can be done to ensure a great user experience!

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