First impressions matter the most, especially when it comes to your website. The overall look and feel of your website can turn visitors into clients. There are five important aesthetic elements that you should consider during the web design process.
The most important thing about designing your website is the layout of text, images, search fields, links, widgets, and ads. Think ease of navigation. Ensure that users can easily find information, and that your links lead them to the right place. Users should also be able to find what they’re looking for as efficiently as possible. For example, your website logo should always link back to your homepage.
Choose one colour (or two) and commit to it. Websites that use just one colour are the most aesthetically pleasing. Facebook uses blue in different degrees of saturation and Apple uses gray. Think simplicity. Remember to also pay attention to the colour of your text in contrast to the background colour to increase readability.
Use the same font throughout your website. If two different pages of your website have different fonts, it must be intentional and motivated by something tangible. For example, you may use different fonts to target two distinct audiences.
This isn’t exactly an aesthetic issue, but in some cases it can be. Even though high-speed Internet connections are common, some users still use slower connections and access the Internet through mobile devices.
Avoid using Flash and scripts as they can decrease the speed of a web page. While designing your website, be aware of the speed at which elements on your web pages load. Use GIFs and PNGs for image files with few distinct colours, like black and white photographs or charts. JPGs should be used for other images, such as colour photographs.
Customization is a great thing, but it’s best to keep it simple. You should maintain how your website looks because it’s important. Last.fm allows users to ‘Paint it Black,’ which is enough customization for users to feel like they have control over their web experience.
In some cases, it makes sense to allow complete customization. Gmail, for example, started offering various themes in 2008 to make the inbox a more personal experience. This works because the only person seeing the user’s inbox is the user.
Summarized from http://bit.ly/bTOsky and modified.