There are a few simple steps to successful WordPress website design that WordPress developers should master to ensure an impeccable layout.
You are not alone if, like other WordPress developers, you would rather turn your attention to the code you love rather than pay attention to the design details of your layout. However, design is both a necessary part of every successful web development project.
By simply adopting the following best practices in WordPress website design you can lessen your design dilemma:
Keeping up with all the ‘hot’ new design trends is not as hard as you may think. You have probably already noticed the current ‘slick new tricks’ in web design in your day-to-day web browsing, even if you aren’t consciously looking out for them. It is worth the extra effort to investigate key design trends to ensure you stay current.
Near the top of today’s list of most popular trends would have to be parallax scrolling. This motion design technique is when images in the foreground move at a faster pace than those in the background. The effect is simple, effective and eye-catching. Parallax scrolling gives depth to your page’s design, adding visual interest. What’s better is that it is easy to implement and will focus users on your headines.
Parallax is just one of the many developments that underscore the scroll-heavy emphasis of many current design trends. Although somewhat controversial, infinite scrolling is another hip technique. While it’s a blessing as it removes the need to constantly click “Next” to move on to the next page, infinite scrolling can also be a rabbit-warren style curse if used incorrectly.
Material design is a current trend worthy of your consideration: its aim is to ensure users have a seamless design experience across all platforms, focusing on mobile-first.
A current trend when it comes to stylish visual displays of condensed information is card-based design (think Pinterest). It is understandably popular due to the way in which it creates high-impact visual engagement.
Your take-away tip: you will up both your design sensibility and your marketable skillset by taking a little time out to intentionally explore major current design trends.
Remember size does matter.
There’s little more frustrating than an app or website that doesn’t function properly across all platforms or perform on all screen sizes: up to a third of website traffic can be lost by overlooking this one important design element. As a developer, you know it often isn’t an easy fix, but you also know that if your design doesn’t adjust to your user’s screen size, platform and device orientation they will simply click away.
Key takeaway: responsive design isn’t optional in a mobile-first world.
Keep it friendly.
The more appealing your website, the less likely people are to bounce. Make it unnecessarily hard for visitors and they’ll leave. Poor layout, low-quality content, lack of search options and confusing navigation are costly oversights. Make finding your content easy and accessible. Combine this with friendly navigation to deliver a great experience to your users.
What to take-away: Friendly navigation is a key design element if you want to keep your visitors happy.
Less is more.
For users to be intuitively visually drawn to the most important information on your website it is essential that it appears uncluttered and the use of white space is the most effective way of achieving this. White space emphasizes important information, improves your design aesthetic and actually improves your reader’s comprehension.
Key point: For a polished, elegant and timeless result, add white space to your design armoury.
Fake it with fonts.
Your font choices can be make or break, particularly with text-heavy websites. Choosing fonts, and pairing fonts, is worth your careful selection. Your font should enhance - not compete with - the rest of your website. Ensure your font does not draw attention away from your content or distract your user. With browswer support for web fonts, the only limit to finding font perfection is the amount of time you are able to dedicate to your search.
Key take away: Your font choices should seamlessly fit into your overall design.
Make it easy.
Forms are a pain to fill in and, let’s be honest, a boring chore at best. Unfortunately, they are essential in web design, no matter how much we’d enjoy their demise.
When it comes to lost password recoveries, user registrations, contact pages and online checkouts we absolutely rely on them, so taking the time to ensure they are user friendly, intuitively usable, stylish (and possibly even a bit of fun) will have it’s rewards.
Hot tip: Make forms easy and they are more likely to be filled in: make them friendly and you’ll make them somewhat less of a chore for your user, too!
Have some fun.
Every website needs an error page, even though we all hope they are never seen. God forbid your website has a broken link or the server goes down, but should it ever happen, anything looks better than a generic server error message.
A well-designed 404 error page will reassure your visitors while offering the impression everything is under control.
There are loads of great plugins you can utilise when you are using WordPress to create a custom 404 page with ease. You can be playful when creating your error page – a smile is a great way to circumvent anyone’s momentary irritation.
Tip: Take the time to create a custom 404 page that is simple, friendly and informative. Even have some fun if you can.
Sweat the small stuff. Yes, really.
Not a great mantra for life, but for effective WordPress Website Design sweating the small stuff will truly pay off. Probably the most important takeaway from our best practice tips will be found right here: design is all about the details.
Remember, each element of your website will be selected in isolation: elements such as your fonts, your responsiveness, use of white space and 404 pages just to name a few. When these elements are all put together they need to cohesively and seamlessly work together as one.
Good design is made up of many elements working together to create a cohesive whole. Your website design should appear consistent, interconnected and unified. This is achieved by considering each detail in isolation, yet remaining mindful during this process of how each element will eventually fit into the whole design.
Becoming a better designer is found in sweating the small stuff. Remember, attention to these finer details is where good design is born.
- Design trends are worth keeping up with.
- Responsive design is not optional.
- Ensure your content is easily accessible.
- Don’t forget white space only enhances your design.
- Fonts are important and worth taking care to select.
- Forms should not be difficult.
- Make your customised 404 pages fun and friendly.
- Small details are significant in the big picture.
These few points lay a solid foundation for your design talents to develop from. Your end users will thank you for the time you dedicate to enhancing your design literacy, as will your CV. Remember, your marketability as a web developer will increase substantially when you add these techniques to your skillset.
If you would like to discuss your website’s layout or design with us, feel free to contact us at any time.