Essential Elements of a modern website design

Website design has changed throughout the times with adaptations to whatever is new, trending or the specific client needs, however, there are core elements that are fundamentals which we all should align with.

July 1, 2021

So, it’s been a while - Yeah, shit sorry about that. 

As you’ll know back in 2017, livin’ my everyday life in Manchester,  I took a leap of faith and quit my job to pursue a new working dream in the world of modern website design. What seemed like a pretty wild thing to do, turned out to be the best decision of my life. Fast forward 4 years and here we are into 2021 with a massive bang and an immense amount of pride in the achievements of 2017 to date. 

Midway through 2021 and with the celebration of Forty3 Media reaching 4 years old as a leading Manchester website design agency, I thought it only right that I bring some info to the blog on what I actually do. Some of the gritty informative and less personal stuff. Yeah, madness right - chatting through what graft has actually got me here? ha. 

Get yourselves ready and take a read of the below where I discuss tips tricks ‘n’ all on how a web design agency in Manchester (and London), can be transformative in your every business needs. 

Website design has changed throughout the times with adaptations to whatever is new, trending or the specific client needs, however, there are core elements that are fundamentals which we all should align with. Think of it like best practice if you will, those pointers that keep you goin’ and shape you as a business from the beginning to end.

I like to think of the below 9 elements of a great website.

1. The overarching view 

The plan of action, the overarching view of the business and what its purpose is. What do they want to achieve, when and why. Will this website be more of a content driver or be one with intent for purchasing as differentiation is key in the deciding factor for how the business will push forward online. 

Any Marketing strategy needs to have well defined KPI’s and ways to measure their success to ensure growth and forward momentum. Knowing how a web design and site will fit into this 360 (and growing) view will inform the functionalities that are required on the page(s). Such as content, aesthetic, CTA etc.

Let's take a deeper dive into the many points below which collectively align with some common business website takeaways (and best practices) to ensure that everyone is happy, and for once it is not just the consumer.

2. Brand TOV (tone of voice) 

This might seem like a pretty easy one, a given or one you think everyone could ‘smash’, but a brand's TOV can actually be as effective in paving the way for their success, or failure. 

Tone of voice can become lost in a website design, with too much going on with clients asking for X, Y & Z when in reality only X is required. The best brands which you pick up as a direct thought, without questioning, are those of unmistakable voices and tones that translate through their whole business trajectory. Not just in one season. 

9/10 of the time, things are seriously just simpler the better. Remember that. 

Any that you love spring to mind?

3. Structure 

Architecture of any website design, and led by any good design agency, will be laid out in a logical, yet brand relative way. Ensuring that when your site is ‘hit’ it is entered in a way that gives ease of use with key pathways to relevant pages/ insights or CTA’s. 

Navigation will follow a flow of patterns that direct from one option to another with ease of use and information while confusing the user's flow. Because lets be honest, we’ve all been on a site where the layout/ organisation of the site has made us think WTF.

4. User experience

Relating and intertwining with the structure of a site, user experience within any website design is key. Also known as UX, this allows a website to transform from a basic creation and throws in those design elements that bring a site up from just being a place of view but one of engagement and continual click through. UX design allows the brand TOV, branding aesthetic and site offering to transform the experience for the consumer without being too O.T.T. 

Key elements to ensure great UX in an effective website: 

  • Order over fuss (also known as chaos)
  • The simpler the better. 
  • Teachability? Nah. Usability, yeah. 
  • Mobile device optimising.

5. Easy e-commerce

With the significant focus on e-commerce for brands globally, and online sales being a predominant driver in the rev share, the entire website design will revolve around ensuring  smooth initial customer satisfaction to a seamless add to bag experience. From product photos, product spec, customer reviews, differing angle shots, video footage - this all adds to the full informative view that as a consumer we need to make that click. 

We live in a lazy generation (sad, right?) where people like to be served in the quickest form possible and enabling your website design to tap into this, aligning with the above, and below, will ensure an easier e-commerce for all whether it's the consumer or the brand itself.

6. Font recognition

When you think of font recognition I bet there are so many that spring to your mind. Whether it be the global brands with huge brand penetration, or those smaller businesses you love, either-way they’re recognisable to you simply by the typography they utilise throughout the end to end process.

Typography should be consistent across all your mediums whether it be on the site, socials (where possible), CRM, and more. Keeping the same styling guidelines for font throughout your ‘body’ of the business ensures best practice within website design.

7. Updated content

This should come across as pretty self explanatory, but websites, like anything, need a refresh. They need that love and affection, care and attention to keep the BAU running up to date. Lets be honest we’ve all hit a website where the splash isn’t updated, the contact info doesn’t even have an email for CS (don’t get me started), and that blog post from 2019 is still pushing to stock thats not even available. 

Updating landing pages for seasonality, new embedded video content, top content, social interaction and feeds on site, trending articles and products - all of this keeps the business fresh but also shows that it’s still running and here to transact.

8. Contact? 

Yeah, it’s pretty vital right but yet some websites don’t facilitate this basic requirement at all. 

All website visitors should have easily accessible ways to contact a business whatever the query may be. Whether it be for a complaint (let's hope not), or praise, multiple methods of communication are required. 

Like I said, the consumer attention span is pretty short now with around 15 seconds of intent, and in that very minimal amount of time you need to ensure that they can come to you however they see fit. Social media? Boxed it. Email? Boxed it. Phone? Boxed it. 

Many businesses who go against this grain find that their brand authority, web design authority and trust is lower than others by simply omitting the important information required. 

Don't be that brand.

9. Recognisable colour pallets

Like many of the points I've touched upon throughout this blog, branding plays a huge role in any business success. Collectively everything from UX, font, TOV and even the colour pallet, ensures a seamless brand recognition. Web design of any brand or business should be incorporating all of this and its vital for the way in which the brand's reception is played out. Think Coca Cola, think red? Think Asda, think green? Think Costa, think maroon?

Web design for any business should touch into the brand colour hues, pallet and design to create a journey throughout the entering and exit stages of the consumer. Because we all want them to go from A-B and commit to purchase, yeah.

Any questions then be sure to hit the email button and reach out but until then I hope this blog post enables you to beast that website design, and if not…. Get in touch ;-)

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