Websites are a crucial part of most businesses these days. They’re one of the best ways we can present ourselves, deliver our message, and advertise our products and services. A lot goes into web design, both behind the scenes and at a front-end level. While every great website is unique in its own right, there are still a set of rules that every successful website needs to follow. By following these rules, you’ll ensure that you get the most out of your website, whether that be getting the conversions you want, being seen on Google, or making users return to your website time and time again.
The 8 Second Rule
The 8 Second Rule is one of the pillars of web design, and perhaps one of the most important rules your website should follow. It relates to the user experience (UX), and essentially states that if you don’t catch a user’s attention within 8 seconds of them landing on your website, then you’ve lost them for good. This doesn’t just apply to websites either, it can apply to all kinds of media.
When you think about it, it makes sense. We’re much more accustomed to reading posts on Twitter than reading books these days, and why try and find a recipe online when you can get one off TikTok in less than 20 seconds? For better or worse (and let’s be honest, it’s probably for the worse), the average attention span is shrinking. With this in mind, it’s worth taking the time to ensure your website conforms to The 8 Second Rule because it’s not going away any time soon. In fact, we might even see it become The 7 Second Rule before too long.
So how can we follow The 8 Second Rule? We’ll likely explore this in a future article, but some key tenants of the rule include focussing on the visual, minimising lag, maximising responsiveness, and showing that you understand the idea that less is more.
When we discuss accessibility in web design, we’re referring to making the content of the website accessible to all types of users, including those with disabilities. Those who are hard of hearing or have issues with their vision have the same rights as everyone else to view your content, so it’s important that we make it accessible to them. Google also rewards websites that have focussed on accessibility by making them more likely to tank. Therefore, implementing accessibility best practices helps other people as well as yourself, so it really is a win-win!
Learning basic HTML and CSS is pretty much essential to make your website more accessible. Wrapping text with a <p> tag as well as using the correct hierarchy for your headings is a really simple way to improve the accessibility of your website with really basic code. With a bit more knowledge (or plugins, but we recommend learning the code), you’ll be able to add alt text to images which will be read out to visually impaired users so they have a better understanding of the image. There’s so much you can do to make your website more accessible; we recommend checking out this guide.
Keep it simple
Websites need to be simple. If a user cannot find what they are looking for, they’ll simply look elsewhere. While fancy fonts, colours and animations can look nice, overdoing them will likely result in users feeling confused. You should only stick to one or two fonts for your website, and they should be bold and readable – none of this wavey stuff. Similarly, use basic colours and not too many – two, or at a push, three colours should be more than enough for most websites. While slide-in animations can work for certain elements, having every element on a page have some form of animation attached to it will be overbearing and probably slow down your page. Keep it simple!
Sticking with the theme of simplicity, your website should be extremely easy to navigate through. All of your main pages, including the About Us page, service pages / product categories, your blog and your contact page should be accessible from the header of your website. Similarly, internal links and buttons should be placed in suitable areas of your website to ensure that users never feel lost.
Active Internet Marketing (UK)
So there you have it; 3 really important rules that your website should follow. This isn’t everything by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some good starting points here that should massively improve your website if they’ve not been implemented already, or give you a headstart at designing a website that’s still in the early stages. Here at Active Internet Marketing (UK), our team of web developers are veterans in their craft, paying attention to these rules and much more. If you’re considering a new website and are unsure of where to start, get in touch with us today. You can give us a call on 01604 765 796, or fill in an online contact form and a member of the team will be in touch.