A well built website can act as your best sales person, therefore careful planning and execution of website design and layout is a crucial element in creating a positive user experience and increasing direct revenue. I am involved as a key member in developing, on an average 20 websites a month with full testing and browser compatibility.
Top 9 Website Design Standards
1. Logo Placement
As a business, you want to establish your branding from the moment the user enters your website. The best way to do this is by prominently displaying your logo above the fold. If the design aesthetic allows for it, the best location for your logo is the upper left-hand corner of the site. Research has proven that the upper left-hand corner is the first place a user’s eye goes. Additionally, this creates another opportunity to link to the homepage from all internal pages of the site.
2. Main Navigation- Revenue Impacting Items
Major revenue impacting items should appear at the top in a vertically displayed navigation. In a horizontal navigation, they should appear from left to right, with the most important items on the left. These layout standards are intuitive and ease users through the site.
Great photography is key to the success of design in your website. The use of wide panoramic images in both the main image area and the photo gallery are a great way to entice a potential customer into wanting to see and learn more about the property. Whenever possible, the images should include lifestyle shots that target your demographic. The best way to help a potential customer envision the experience of the hotel or DMO is to get them to see someone “like them” who is enjoying the experience.
4. Static Lead Rate
Whenever possible, the lead rate should remain static and prominently displayed above the fold. Potential customers are looking for this rate upon entering the site to see what the lowest possible price per night your hotel is offering. This information is key to your potential customers.
5. Footer Navigation
Include all elements that are found in the main and utility navigation in the footer navigation as well. This is especially important if your main navigational area is in flash as search engines cannot recognize text located within flash design.
6. Address and Contact Information
Contact information should appear in system text on the site for improved SEO purposes. Whether it’s in the footer, utility navigation, or side panel, this information should be included on every page, and it should not be displayed as an image.
7. Text Readability
A light background with dark text is better for those with impaired vision. Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to use this color combination for that reason. Additionally, websites should use web safe fonts to maintain the consistency in design of your sites across all browsers.
8. Screen Resolution
The majority of users have a 1024×768 screen resolution. Your site should be built to this screen resolution, but also have the ability to fluidly scale for those users who have a larger monitor.
9. Social Networking
Social networking icons (such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) should always be included if you regularly update these marketing tools. Linking users to these sites offers an opportunity to market your brand across several different types of internet media.
- Ankur Goel