All Web professionals are searching for ways to better our websites: increase traffic, increase conversion rates, increase sales.
For those do-it-yourself types, there's a lot to learn especially when it comes to design. Whether it's designing graphics for a website or graphically designing its layout or color scheme, site owners need to know a few things.
For starters, it's very important to understand the role aesthetics in Web design, as it pertains to the philosophical side of graphic design. This side is crucial because it pertains to the visual aspect of converting users to customers.
Graphic Design Tips
Clutter: Stay away from it. Clutter strains the eyes and leaves the users with an uncomfortable feeling. Have you seen the meme on Facebook with the kid's bedroom floor entirely full of Lego's? You instantly want nothing to do with anything in that room. The same goes for design work. It may not send them to your competition but it certainly will not help your cause.
Rounded corners versus square corners: Rounded corners are easier on the eyes and therefore more desirable. Sometimes square corners will work but most of the time rounded is better. The appearance of rounded corners puts off a "soft and pleasurable" vibe. Here you can see Macintosh developers took this fact into consideration.
Create the graphic with a clear purpose: Every graphic/image/element on your website should have a meaningful purpose. If you cannot think of why a certain graphic should be where it is...take it off. Never create graphics to fill in a white space, blank space is okay in moderation.
Fonts: These are important. Studies have shown hard to read fonts tend to make people associate the text with a task that is too difficult. It makes sense to stick with fonts that are easily read and do not strain the eyes. When choosing fonts, make sure that the font sets you choose go well together. In other words, you want to pick fonts that follow the theme of the graphic but also flow together and stand out if needed.
Colors: Choose them wisely. There are a lot of different opinions in this area but colors tend to spark up emotions in people. For example, orange is considered a stimulant color and excites people to action. Here is a pretty good read about color and the psychology behind it. Another tip for colors is make sure to use contrast. Light color backgrounds with dark color font (or vice-versa) will help the text stand out.
Create relevant and compelling graphics: Have you ever looked at a graphic and just thought "Wow, that is cool!" That's what you want to create. When users get that reaction they tend to feel a connection to the graphic or website. That connection is important to making users feel comfortable with your website, with comfort comes trust.
When it's all said and done, you don't want to be that guy/gal that believes they're great at design but has a website that even Google doesn't want to crawl. Be open to criticism and learn from it. Don't take friendly advice as personal attacks. We all started somewhere and most of us learned by failing. As you read the various articles about graphic/web design and gather all of the information in your mind you will start to pump out top notch graphics that help your cause. The best part about it is that the first one is the hardest, it only gets easier from there.
Have a Plan
If you are creating a graphic for the purpose of aiding in sales and/or conversion on a website, this is for you. I learned the hard way (as usual) with this and wasted many hours editing. Dissect the purpose of the graphic, really break it down to the nitty-gritty. Take all of the above factors into consideration before you start your design, this will be a big game changer and time saver.
Many people blindly open up their design software and just start pushing buttons or use a DIY website builder and do the same. After hours of mouse clicks, mouse drags and Ctrl Z's they are left with a design that may or may not work for them. Leave the guessing game out of it. When you draw out a plan, you are essentially creating a blueprint to follow. Just like a house builder will not start until he knows what he is creating, we should do the same.
Do you have any ground breaking tips of your own? Let us know in the comments.
Richard Nation is owner of Sheeble.com. In his spare time he is an inspired blogger who enjoys researching things and spreading the news about them. Check him out on Twitter.