How to Choose the Right Design for your Template
Nearly every online marketing and web development community recommends putting user experience, or UX, above all else in site design. From the perspective of the web development community, UX enhances site usability with ease and interaction. From the perspective of the online marketing community, UX reaffirms visitor expectations and increases the likelihood of sales.
From either perspective, one thing is clear: Choosing the right design for your template is important to visitors.
Despite this, we still see instances where this core principle is ignored, and instead of visually understanding a site's purpose, we continually see websites whose visual design almost contradicts their content. Here's what you must do if you want to convey a consistent message visually and textually.
Consider Your Audience's Age and Gender
To visually attract and retain visitors, you must first consider who your audience is. Is it a bunch of teenagers who are naturally attracted to multicolored and gamified themes? Is it an even younger audience who's attracted to bright colors, big fonts and animated characters? How about an older generation who might prefer muted minimal colors with a lot of white (empty) space and easy-to-read fonts.
Even though it may seem sexist, evidence shows a clear distinction between male and female design preferences. According to a paper written for the International Journal of Design, for example, females prefer ambiguous shapes while males prefer geometrical shapes. When it comes to color, other studies suggest over half of surveyed males favor blue much more than females, who like blue and purple almost equally.
Consider Your Site's Genre
Another thing you'll want to consider is your site's genre because in many instances, a site's genre dictates its design. It should anyway. Reality often points us to too many instances where we see designs more appropriate for hip-hop music financial reform or software programming websites. That's not only irrelevant and inappropriate, it's visually confusing as well, and it makes visitors question a site's seriousness and validity.
This doesn't mean every financial or software programming website or any other website has to look the same. Creativity is allowed here. You just have to make sure that your site's design matches its topic so that visitors are confident that they landed at the right place.
Consider the Design's Complexity
One of the great things about template designs is that they can be tweaked to accommodate site additions and/or changes. Problems can occur, however, when the programming behind the design is so complicated, one mistake can render an entire website useless. For this reason alone, it's important to select a template design that can be easily modified either by you or by someone who's familiar with the design's code.
A template design that's filled with HTML, for example, is much easier to modify than a template design that's filled with PHP or ASP. You may be hard-pressed to find a pure HTML template design these days, but it is well worth the hunt when you want to keep your programming investments at a minimum.
Consider the Design's Flexibility
A design's flexibility addresses how well it can accommodate changes to itself or to the data that it presents. Some designs are well equipped to display megabytes of data per second, while others may render the same data too slowly or not at all. The efficiency behind this part of a design, of course, rests in the way it was programmed. So again, you'll want to investigate a design's complexity as defined above with flexibility in mind.
If you plan to see specific results from your website, you cannot ignore the critical role of template design. And even though there's a great deal of discussion about the topic and even more related books, magazines, and instructional videos, their prevalence only emphasizes its importance. So use your design as an opportunity to increase and keep traffic while enabling future expansion. Your visitors will appreciate the time you took to deliver a unified message.