Small Business Web Design For The Modern World

The web design landscape has changed drastically in the last few years. Gone are the cluttered and over complicated websites of the past; replaced by simple, clean and universally accessible pages. Current trends are leading away from over exposing the user to an abundance of information and instead focus on limiting what you see and interact with. This increases responsiveness, speed and user interaction, leading to increased traffic, engagement and search presence. Yes, believe it or not, search engines like Google have also adapted with the times, and now look at how users interact with your websites, not just who clicks on what links. The result? A cleaner, simpler and more user-friendly internet.

Responsive Design and Consistency

The most important rule of web design, responsive content. Your finished product should look great on any sized screen, from a smartphone to a large retina display. This means that you need to design your website from the ground up with all screen sizes in mind. The easiest way to do this is to focus on mobile devices. Depending on what source you look at, mobile traffic is responsible for 45 to 65 percent of total website traffic. This means, that depending on your customers, a large percentage of them might be viewing your website on their smartphones. Designing your website around mobile users is a great way to ensure your website caters to a large group of users and allowing for easier scaling to other devices.

Responsive design is great, but what happens if a user comes back to your site on their computer? Your website should look familiar to them no matter what device it is accessed from. This means that consistency in design is key. Not too long ago, when smartphone browsers were just starting to see an increase in use, many websites chose to go a different route. Instead of focusing on redesigning with a responsive architecture in mind, they simply focused on making a mobile version targeted towards smartphones. These early attempts at catering to smartphone users resulted in poor usability, ugly designs, and slow, clunky UI's. In fact, these mobile versions were so bad that most mobile browsers were forced to add functions to the browser that forced the desktop version of a website to display instead of mobile. What lesson can we learn from this? You don't need separate websites for a mobile user and a desktop user, in fact, you shouldn't have them at all. Focus on a clean simple website that can easily adjust to the users' screen size, hiding unnecessarily content to take advantage of smaller screen real-estate.

Take Advantage of Frameworks

Don't be scared of using existing frameworks to speed up your designs. Bootstrap and Foundation are great tools that every designer should become familiar with. Having a pre-built, tested and robust grid system can save you tons of time on development and let you focus on usability and design. Just don't forget to add your own flavor to the frameworks. Bootstrap and Foundation are intended to be easily customized with proper class specificity. Focus on designing a site that looks fresh and unique, modifying the look of default framework elements to create a consistent design and color scheme.

Keep it Simple

There is no reason to overcomplicate your website layout. Limit the number of elements present in a single view and be conservative with interactivity. You shouldn't be using dropdown elements and JavaScript to display content. That means you need to limit your accordions, your modals, popovers and collapses. Content should be available as soon as a user scrolls to it, not hidden behind a click or a tap. You want to add interactivity make it automated. Bind your accordions and popovers to scroll events, using transitions to naturally and smoothly grab your users attention. Just don't forget about speed. Cluttering your page with unnecessary scripts can increase load times, slow your users' devices and lead to cross-browser issues. Always consider these things before adding another script. If you do plan on using a lot of these features on your site, then perhaps building a web app will be a better approach. Web apps are designed with interactivity in mind, using frameworks like Angular to do the heavy lifting of handling interactions and server requests. These app frameworks and developed for speed and efficiency, allowing for heavier use of interactive elements without impacting speed as much as plain JavaScript.


Need Help?

No problem. All this can be difficult to accomplish, especially while you're busy with day to day business. That's where Dozen Pixels comes in. We can take care of all your marketing needs. From managing your Social Media presence to creating an effective advertising campaign, we are here to help. Our services range from web design to marketing and consulting. Not sure where to begin? Get in touch and we can discuss your goals and business needs.

Let's Chat.

Each client is unique, and so prices and solutions vary. No cookie cutter work here, so get in touch with us tell us a bit about your goals and needs, and we will layout a custom plan for you. No commitment, no hassle.