1. The website should be very closely coupled to the brand of your organisation.
It should be almost impossible to separate the brand from the design and vice versa. Branding and design are, to a large extent, inseparable. “A brand is not your logo or ID system,” says Robert Brunner (most notable for his design work for Apple Computer in the early 1990s). “It’s a gut feeling people have about you. When two or more people have the same feeling, you have a brand. You get that feeling via smart design, which creates the experiences people have with the brand. Everything you do creates the brand experience, ergo design IS your brand.”
2. Get inside the head of your visitors
It is sometimes all too easy to be subjective about a website design without really thinking about your target audience and their preferences. Your favourite colour may be blue and blue is the number one corporate colour used on websites but if the audience you are trying to reach are housewives then you should think about using softer pastel shades (research shows that these are more appealing to women).
3. Provide high level areas of focus
Visitors don’t read websites, they scan them. If you think about how you skim letters that arrive in the post or a CV from a candidate, you tend to make a very fast overall judgement (is this interesting or not, if not bin it) and then drill down into the detail later. Similarly a website should provide very appealing high level areas of focus where the visitor can subsequently choose to delve deeper. This usually means using good graphic design, sensible headings (alot of headings) and a menu system structure that helps you to find a clear overview with access to more detailed content.
4. Don’t make users think
According to Steve Krug (author of Don’t Make Me Think) the first law of usability is that the web-page should be obvious and self-explanatory. When youâ€™re creating a website, your aim is to get rid of the question marks. There is a need to be very clear and obvious about what you do and why people should do business with you.