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Before I started work in web design and marketing, I thought that any website that looked cool with moving objects, funky icons, and bright colors was an amazing website. That is, until I couldn’t figure out how to leave the homepage.
On the opposite end, a website with little aesthetic appeal but direct and easy functionality can and will slip through the cracks.
Every site should work to combine aesthetic appeal and functionality to make a unique, well balanced, and useful website. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when designing the aesthetics of your website:
1. Know your position in the industry
You want to create an e-commerce website that sells life insurance to young parents. This site should look clean, established, and trustworthy. It wouldn’t be helpful to have a flash animation graphic of a cow jumping over the moon, but maybe a cute child friendly icon somewhere would make you stand out from other insurance companies.
2. No user left behind
Any and all websites have a specific target audience they try to appeal to. These people are extremely important, but try not to create a design that is so closed off and niche that it excludes any other potential users that fall out of the target audience circle. Aim to impress with bold aspects in a simple and user-friendly design that makes any viewer’s user experience enjoyable and memorable.
3. Be Useful
When planning the artistic range and look of your site, remember that your site is not a painting. Users are visiting to be wowed, but most of all to utilize a helpful resource. Always have a goal set that your website is working to achieve.
4. Color in the Lines
I wear a lot of earth tones. White, black, brown, beige- they are nice ambiguous colors. I find that when I throw in a red top or some turquoise jewelry I get the most compliments. Color shouldn’t be distracting in a confusing way, but splashes of color in a Switzerland design will evoke excitement and interest. Use color and contrast to reflect the emotions a user should feel when experiencing your brand.
5. Balance is Key
Too much artistic range or too much clean cut functionality can break your website. Your site should always work to maintain a balance between aesthetic and function. Ask yourself- how will my users scan the page? Where will his/her eye be drawn first? What elements do I want them to focus on? Organize your content with these questions in mind and without content clutter. Don’t be afraid of white space- Steve Jobs wasn’t!