Imagine you go to your favorite supermarket to pick up a few items for dinner, but to your surprise, the shelves have been rearranged. What should have been a quick stop to the grocery store has now turned into a scavenger hunt for the items on your list.
Something similar happens when you visit a website and the design is inconsistent. Similar elements on different pages are not congruent, and you’re left playing hide and seek with what should have been information that’s easy to find.
Consistency in web design means keeping your design consistent or the same throughout the site and across different channels. This is important because it helps to establish trust with your audience. Additionally, it gives your visitors a more positive user experience, as they’ll know what to expect. It also enables them to browse through your site more easily and carry out tasks more efficiently.
To keep your site consistent, pay attention to elements, such as:
Keeping these elements consistent throughout your site gives your website a logical flow that grants visitors a familiar setting.
If your brand is becoming recognizable, you’ve probably worked hard to achieve that. Your brand needs to remain consistent throughout your design and all your social media channels. This consistency contributes to brand recognition and builds awareness.
Here are a few ways to build brand consistency:
Use your logo on all your assets. Keep your logo the same and use it wherever you can. Even a minor inconsistency in your logo will have people doubting if they’re interacting with your brand or a copycat.
Develop and use a set color palette. Like your logo, your color palette helps people recognize your brand. Use the same colors that represent your brand throughout your website.
Keep your brand consistent throughout your website and all other channels. Your website, social media channels, email marketing, and events should all reflect your brand. Think of everywhere your audience will see you and come up with ideas of how to incorporate your brand.
Brand consistency is key to generating trust among your audience.
Good typography contributes to the readability of web pages and the overall user experience. Text that is not legible can have users’ eyes straining and create a poor experience for your guests.
To ensure the optimal typography for your web pages, pay attention to:
Fonts. Keep the number of fonts to a minimum. If you use too many fonts, users won’t know what to focus on. Use a different font to highlight a point, not confuse the reader. Alternatively, you can use one font and bold the headings to show a contrast.
Spacing. Don’t use too much or too little space between the lines. The space between text lines is called line height. As a rule of thumb, your line height should be at least 2 points higher than the size of your text. Adding white space between paragraphs and blocks of content also improves readability.
Headings. Use headings and subheadings to create a nice flow. Use different size fonts to distinguish headings from subheadings.
Color contrast. Use the right color contrast to make text more readable. Don’t use similar colors for text and background. Clearly visible text makes it easier for readers to scan and find what they’re looking for.
Ignoring typography can make your content difficult to read and may end up driving users away.
Website navigation refers to how users go from one page to another or access different features and elements on your site. Having a navigation that is consistent creates a pleasant user experience for visitors.
To keep your navigation consistent, follow these tips:
Make all your links look similar. Text that is hyperlinked should stand out from standard text. Naturally, you may have links on all your pages. Make sure all your links are the same style and color, so users can distinguish links from regular text easily on all your pages.
Keep your menu style the same on each page. There are different ways you can display your navigation menu. You can add it at the top of the page, you can keep it as a left navigation bar, or you can use the hamburger menu. All of these are great choices, as long as you use the same style on each of your web pages.
Use the same format for your CTAs. Your calls to action (CTAs) are powerful marketing tools that can increase your conversion rate. Don’t camouflage your CTAs. Make them stand out, and make sure you use a similar format for all your CTAs across your website.
Before designing your navigation style, consider your website goals and how your navigation can help you achieve them.
Repeating layout styles create familiarity among users and build comfort. Templates are a good way to keep your layout consistent throughout your website. However, even without templates, you can still keep your layout consistent by having the same elements and placements on each page.
For example, here are some elements that should be consistent:
Menus. If you have menus on each page, keep them in the same position and use the same style.
Fonts. Use the same fonts for text, along with a similar size, thickness, contrast, and line height.
Background. Keep your backgrounds the same. Use your color palette throughout your site.
Doing this creates a smooth transition between your pages and makes it easier to design and add more content and pages.
Aside from keeping the space between text (line height) consistent throughout your pages, it’s also essential to use white space correctly. White space is the space between elements on your page. It is used deliberately in websites to avoid clutter and make text easier to read. The correct use of white space in text can increase readability by up to 20%.
Here are a few best practices for using white space in web design:
Leave wide margins on a page. Margins help preserve text legibility. Not all web pages will have the same margin size. To figure out the best size for your web page, focus more on line length. The optimal line length is 50 to 60 characters. By adjusting your line length, your margin space will be balanced as well, and you can make your content easier to read.
Add space in areas where your audience might tend to pause. If you don’t leave enough space in between your content or elements, your website will look unstructured. The problem with this is that if you have a lot of information, even if it’s valuable, users may face information overload. This can lead to content that’s difficult to consume and consequently, frustrated readers. Keep in mind that people want to get their answers as quickly as possible, so make the information scannable so users can get to where they want to go effortlessly.
Don’t go overboard. On the other hand, adding too much white space in between paragraphs or content blocks can cause a disconnect among viewers. If the space looks too empty, consider moving the paragraphs and other elements closer together.
Making proper use of white space makes your website easier to read and more user-friendly. Did you know? White space does not need to be white. It can be any color, texture, or background, as long as it helps focus users’ visual attention.
People can distinguish 7 million different colors. However, that doesn’t mean you have to use 7 million colors on your website. When it comes to website color strategy, less is more. The recommended number of colors to use for your website is actually 3. A few websites can pull off using up to 4 colors, but anything more than that is just unseemly.
What are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your color scheme?
Your colors are a part of your brand. Your choice of colors will become your identity and will help users recognize your brand across other platforms.
Your color palette can trigger different emotions in your audiences. Red prompts action, orange can create a sense of urgency, green implies balance, and blue gives a sense of calm. Use colors to communicate your message and say what you stand for.
Your color choice is an essential part of your web design and it will create a first and lasting impression on visitors.
Choosing the right color scheme can make your website visually attractive and influence your visitors’ decisions.
A header is the upper part of a web page, also referred to as site navigation. This is the first thing that people see when they visit your web pages.
Here are a few tips to keep your headers consistent:
Include essential information. Your header can include the logo, site menu, company mascot, search icon, or login options. However, don’t overload the header with too much information; keep only what you absolutely want your visitors to see.
Make use of a hamburger menu. If you have a lot of options that you want to place in your header, use a hamburger menu. Users typically know what this icon means, so you don’t need to label it or add an explanation. This element frees up space so that your header does not look too cluttered.
Use the same style for each page. Usually, your header goes on each of your web pages. Use the same style for all your pages. A popular design is a fixed header, one that stays in place as you scroll up or down. This style is useful for pages that have a lot of content so that users can quickly find their way back.
In the video below, notice how the header of this website is fixed in place, allowing for easier navigation.
A footer is the section of content at the bottom of your web pages. It marks the end of the page, and may include your company’s contact information. If leveraged properly, you can turn this small element into a strong conversion tool.
Keep it consistent with the web page. Make your footer design consistent with your overall website design. Use the right colors, fonts, and sizes to mark a smooth transition. More importantly, keep your footer looking the same on each of your pages.
Optimize your footer for mobile design. Some web designers opt for a big footer with lots of information. If this is the case, it may look good on a desktop screen, but since the majority of your visitors will be on a smaller device, include only the most necessary information to avoid having the user scroll endlessly.
Include one last CTA. If your visitors do scroll to the bottom of your page, they will have been familiarized with your brand and services. Adding one more CTA in your footer increases your conversion rate.
Buttons and Forms
The design of buttons and forms has come a long way since the start of web design. However, despite the change in style, there are a few fundamentals that remain the same. A button should serve to propel the user to take a desired action, and forms should be simple and easy to fill out. Keeping these elements consistent in your web design will improve usability.
To make sure your buttons and forms remain consistent, focus on:
Size - Buttons should be a minimum of 10cm x 10cm so that mobile users can press them easily. You should also keep the fields in forms easy to touch and type into.
Shape - Most designers lean towards flat buttons that are squares with rounded corners. You can choose the shape that you like the most, as long as you keep the shape of all your buttons the same. This helps users identify them easily.
Color - For primary buttons, use bright colors. You can also use secondary buttons with a lighter shade to show that they’re not as important as primary buttons. Keep your colors consistent throughout your website.
Placement - Consistent button placement is also important to guide users. If you choose to place your primary call-to-action on the right side, keep it to the right on all your forms. If you switch the placement, it will only confuse users.
Ensuring that your buttons and forms are consistent is a part of offering a good user experience.
Being consistent with even the smallest details of your website will contribute to an overall aesthetically pleasing design and create familiarity among users. Web design inconsistency will frustrate readers and increase your bounce rate. To avoid this, there are a few elements that need to remain consistent throughout your site. These are your branding, typography, navigation, layout, spacing, color scheme, headers, footers, buttons, and forms. Focusing on these elements will also provide a good user experience and ultimately, boost your search rankings.
Do you want to make your website more consistent? Ace Virtual Agency offers custom web design services for small businesses, startups, and freelancers. Our sites are built to offer visitors an excellent user experience. If you’d like to know how we can help, send us a message. We would love to work with you.