Website Design & Development

Your website is your first impression and your virtual welcome mat to your business, and it requires dynamic form and function to attract visitors, hold their attention, and stand above your competition.

We’ve compiled a guideline of features and principles that comprise the framework between design and development of a web page that will help make your website effective, aesthetically eye-catching and user friendly.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., once said (when referring to the guts of the iconic iPod), “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

With that concept in mind, we explore how an individual page functions, what it should look like, and what the user experience should be when they come to that page specifically. These strategies are merely some of our suggestions of website design & development best practices. Yardstick Services creates pages with a laser focus on what we want the user to do, and ultimately, base our website designs on a strategy of aesthetics, usability, engagement, value, and relevance.

Our Top 8 Development & Design Strategies

1. The goal for a landing page is determined by your business objectives. We ensure the page has a clear purpose. If you want to increase sales with online orders, for example, align your content with that objective.

  • Keep your content in line with your goal
  • Make it clear what a users first interaction should be
  • Provide enough content to entice the user
  • Deliver an obvious avenue for the user to follow up (e.g. call to action)

2. By eliminating competing content that might confuse the message or distract the user, we maintain simple, easy-to-follow concepts.

  • Communicate meaningful and relevant content clearly and quickly
  • Simplify the decision making process for the user so they consume the content, and are provided with the next logical course of action
  • Ensure the user only has one option to do next, which continues them down the funnel
  • If you eliminate decision fatigue and automate the behaviour of the user once they hit the page, you’re going to be a lot more successful

3. To prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale, we incorporate a strong (but not too strong) call to action (CTA), which clearly informs the user exactly what to do next.

  • We recommend a single point of action on any given page
  • Avoid presenting a number of different choices so you can guide the user where they need to be; strive for clarity and directness, but avoid being aggressive
  • Good examples include: sign up today; contact us today; save on a subscription today
  • CTA button should be extremely obvious in what a users next action should be
  • Position CTA at the end of content for a logical flow so that users consume content and are then presented with the action point
  • Test the CTA button for effective placement (e.g. at the bottom, floating in the sidebar or tethered) with a random sampling of users to determine which position is actually converting and accomplishing the behaviour you desire. This is where A/B testing is valuable

4. In order to engage the audience, the page provides incentives for the users.

  • Ideally your CTA should be some type of offer or incentive for the user
  • “Sign up” (is not as effective) as sign up and receive a free e-book, or 10% off purchase, or risk-free trial, or get a free quote, etc.
  • Avoid CTAs that use pressure tactics
  • Providing value for signing up and completing the call to action will help increase your conversions

5. We always endeavour to incorporate an element to establish credibility reinforcement in our landing page design.

  • Testimonials can strengthen your credibility as an unbiased promotion; testimonials that include product/service benefits can help turn potential customers into conversions
  • Include logos of established companies; someone who has worked with you, which demonstrates your success rate; it validates that you are knowledgeable and your content is reliable
  • Without any of these elements, it’s easy for users to discount your message if they don’t believe the source is credible

6. To establish a hassle-free experience, we design effective navigation for the user.

  • Ensure the user can move around the page with ease so that it will lead them to take action
  • Users are more likely to stay on your page if they have a good experience finding a clear path to what they want, simply and quickly

7. We aim to adhere to the 3-second (or less) rule. We always incorporate attention-grabbing elements to make a page attractive and hook the visitor in mere seconds; otherwise, they’ll leave.

  • The use of white space creates a more scannable page, controlling the focus of the user, while emphasizing what’s important. White space doesn’t have to be white, it’s an uncluttered space — consider it breathing room for the user
  • Hero images (large photos that almost take up the entire page) are visually appealing and lend context to the content; the use of authentic imagery makes a more credible/relatable statement i.e. candid images vs. stock. Also, the right image can help with brand positioning; always be mindful of load time (it’s a ranking factor on Google) and optimize images (scale/size)
  • Vibrant, radiant colours are dynamic and eye-catching and best used with purpose (e.g. on CTAs); a carefully considered colour scheme will communicate with users on an emotional level and unify the theme (sometimes incorporating a company’s logo colours) of the design
  • Video and graphics attract users and help keep them engaged, think virtual tours, real time, live feeds, demo/product videos, etc. Videos continue to rise in popularity to keep users involved; it’s a compelling and impactful medium to communicate your message, and more memorable than text-based content
  • Typefaces play an integral role in captivating the user; typically we use sans serif font, which retains the shape whether big or small and is considered easier to read online than serif fonts. Ideally, incorporate 2-3 typefaces in your design that work well together

8. Responsive design is considered a necessity in today’s ever-changing web technology, and we diligently execute mobile-friendly designs, a priority we stress to all businesses.

  • Mobile devices are used more frequently than tablets, laptops, or desktops for searches and online purchases so it’s important your pages convert to each device
  • Placement of text and images is critical for optimal viewing on both platforms

Yardstick Services specializes in creating aesthetically pleasing, memorable and functional website pages by keeping these design elements in mind. However, these strategies should not be considered static. Although an element may presently be effective, it doesn’t mean it will remain applicable in the future. It’s important to routinely check the performance of your page/website; testing is vital to keep everything current and optimized because users’ behaviour will inevitably change, and so too will web trends and technology.

If your site is out-of-date, in need of optimization, or requires an entirely new build, we can help. If you have any questions about web development and design or any of our services, or are looking for support, please drop us a comment below, send an email or give us a call: 604.474.3631.