Putting together a quality website is important for your business. In fact, it is probably THE most important thing you can do to reach out to customers online, market your product and make money through the internet.

But nailing a website design is difficult, and 2019 has delivered a new set of challenges that add complexity to the task.

It might sound like a headache, but if you get web design right, you not only tick all the boxes for the big search engines, you also engage and excite potential customers.

Let’s look at the most critical web design best practices for 2019.

1. ADA Compliance

ADA Compliance laws came into place in the US in 2010. The Americans with Disabilities Act stipulated that companies must provide accessible designs for people with disabilities and additional needs.

Businesses initially interpreted the law as applying to their physical premises, but now the Department of Justice is looking into whether the regulations should also explicitly apply to online accessibility.

The law affects all private employers with 15 or more employees, so if you run a small business above the threshold, you may need to consider the layout of your website.

Being accessible to people with disabilities includes providing accessibility option for people with hearing, vision or physical capacity loss.

2. Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness refers to the idea that the layout and design of a website should respond to the device on which it is viewed. A person using a tablet should be able to see your site in one format, while a person on a phone with a smaller screen, should get another. The screen size should not affect the quality of their experience.

Websites need to display in four formats:

  • Widescreen desktop monitor size
  • Smaller monitors (such as those on notebooks)
  • Tablets
  • Phones.

If you check most websites, you’ll notice that the menu and layout change from format to format, but the essential features remain.

You can improve mobile responsiveness by optimizing the layout of your content (so that users can view your products easily), and you can adapt the design for mobile users so it displays the content they want.

For instance, mobile users looking at a restaurant website, might not care about how pretty it looks, they want to know if it’s open and how they can make a reservation.

3. Website Speed

Data suggests that website speed is one of the most important factors that users take into consideration when interacting with a company online. If they have to wait for pages to load, they will abandon your site, causing you to miss out on conversion opportunities.

Research by Google shows that 53 percent of mobile website visitors will leave a webpage if it does not load within three seconds. When you consider that average page load times on 3G is 19 seconds and 14 seconds on 4G, that’s a lot of missed opportunities for businesses wanting to connect with customers in the mobile space.

Speeding up your page loading times is possible, but you must invest in proper infrastructure. Consider the following:

  • Use a CDN (content delivery network)
  • Remove or delay Javascript elements
  • Minimize HTTP requests
  • Perform a compression audit
  • Use asynchronous loading for JavaScript files and CSS

4. Clear Call-To-Action (CTA)

Businesses don’t just want people to visit their sites, they want them to convert. Getting them to take action can be a challenge.

A call-to-action is usually a button that users click at the end of a sales pitch. Compelling calls-to-action are interesting and appear to offer customer value.

Good examples include “get your free trial,” “get advice straight to your inbox” and “save today.”

5. Keep Text to a Minimum

Text, or copy, is essential on any business website, but users might find too much of it to be overwhelming and unpleasant.

Sometimes you need lots of text for SEO, but when it comes to communicating with your customers about why they should consume your product, brevity is the name of the game.

When a user arrives at your website, what they want is to see the value you offer immediately. They don’t want to have to crawl through prose, looking for the features they desire. They need the selling points up front.

Amazon marketplace does this well. Yes, it offers reviews and descriptions, but the first thing that users see are the product features. Emphasize these features, regardless of what you sell.

6. Keep Sentences Short

Unless you’re writing a blog, it’s a good idea to keep sentences as short as possible. Longer sentences are hard to read and require more effort. Short sentences get your point across.

Say you want to sell air conditioning maintenance services. You could write something like “we offer a wide range of bespoke air conditioning maintenance services that will ensure that your units remain operational for the duration of their lifecycle”.

You could also keep it simple and say “get the most out of your air conditioning units with professional maintenance.” The second sentence is much easier to read and far more engaging than the first.

7. Keep Your CTAs Consistent

When a user visits your website, they might skip from page to page, ignoring your call-to-action.

Many businesses use reinforcement to encourage visitors to take action. With CTA’s, reinforcement means using the same one from page to page, reminding users to take a specific action to get value from your services.

This makes choosing a good CTA important. Your call-to-action should reflect the primary action you want people to take when they visit. If you offer accounting services, the CTA should focus on “getting in touch”.

If you run an e-commerce website, your focus should be “buy now.”

8. Keep Your Menu at the Top

When users visit a website, they see in their minds about what to expect. Sites that stray from this formula are unlikely to be successful because they disrupt user expectations.

Businesses need to stick with a conventional menu placement. Some websites put the menu in places other than right along the top bar, but these are often popular and successful sites that have built a following over the years.

Your customers want to visit your website to get information or a service, not to get a new online experience.

9. Use On-Site Optimization for SEO

When most company owners think of SEO, link building and content creation come to mind. For many companies, on-site optimization is becoming one of the most important SEO considerations, along with social media marketing.

What is on-site optimization?

It covers factors that give search engines evidence that your page offers their users timely and relevant information. On-site optimization includes providing a sitemap so Google can see that you don’t have duplicate content and making sure that your pages are regularly updated.

10. Use An Up-To-Date Branding Strategy

While choosing the right color scheme is important, on-site branding strategies have moved on a lot in 2019. If companies want to engage customers, they need to offer interesting visual cues that tie into the public image they want to create.

Illustrations are becoming a popular marketing feature on company websites, replacing photos and other visual imagery while offering additional engagement. Many illustrations move or become animated when a user hovers their cursor over them, creating interest and doing something different from other brands.

Choice of your background color is another important consideration. Customers want to feel as if a company’s website makes sense, and that means choosing color themes that match your branding.

Logos should be loud and bright, while themes more subtle and nuanced. Keep in mind there are exceptions to this.

11. A/B Test Your Pages

As a company, you’re always on the lookout for ways to improve customer experience. One of the best methods for doing this is to use A/B testing.

You can A/B test any aspect of your site to see which formula works best. Try varying the wording of your copy, the colors of your CTAs, your CTA copy, the location of your navigation bar, your images and more.

In 2019, your company needs to collect as much information as possible about the effectiveness of its elements to follow web design best practices.

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