Want your website to strike a chord with users? It has to include something that's just a little bit different to make that special connection.
Try one of these tips to help your website stand out.
1. Use Plenty of Space in the Design
White space is one of the best – and maybe least used – techniques in website design. Giving elements plenty of room can help draw users to see exactly what you want them to engage with.
White space also creates a more open and inviting design that will help your product or message stand out online.
To make the best use of white space, think about ways to streamline the overall design and add just a little more space between elements. Consider an extra half line of linespacing in text blocks or padding around photos and other elements to focus attention on what matters most.
Wine Down SF opts for plenty of space around the photo slider on the homepage, vertically and horizontally. The white space does a key thing for visitors – it helps create a focal point in the main image area. The space also makes text feel inviting and easy to read as users scroll down the page.
2. Maintain Consistent (or Cool) Branding
A recognizable website has a brand identity. You can make the most of your website design with a consistent use of branding throughout.
The logo can be used in multiple locations, as can the color scheme. Use branding elements on every page in the design and create a color or type palette so that you use those elements in the same way on every page as well. (this is easy to do in the Weebly Editor where you can set styles for body type, headlines and colors.)
Twee has this nifty little icon to represent the brand, with a funky lime green face with googly eyes. It's part of the logo and appears throughout the design. What's nice about using this brand identifier throughout the website is that it is a great little visual surprise for visitors – and it's a lot of fun!
3. Opt for Highly Visual Elements
Bright color and interesting shapes can be some of your greatest assets in your website design. Don't settle for the same light blue that everyone else uses or rectangle shapes for every design element.
A bold color palette is attention-grabbing and trendy. Users like colors that don't just fade into the background. (Just don't go too crazy. The best color palettes often stick to one, two or three colors.)
Interesting shapes for photos and user interface elements – think circles or rounded edges – can also be engaging. Think about it like this: If there is something you see on every other website, try to change your design slightly so that users will look at it twice.
Mama Peacock Baby Owl uses a great color combination that is mirrored throughout the design. Not only does the brand mark and logo use the color, but it is also used in product images. This subtle use of bold color is engaging and makes for a pleasant user experience.
4. Animate Something in the Design
Animated elements grab attention. From video to pop-ups that float onto the screen to sliding photos, a simple animation can make a user stop to spend more time on your page.
The trick to animation is not to go crazy with it. Find one element where movement works and stick to it. If everything on the screen is dancing around, users won't know where to look. If one element is in motion, it creates an obvious focal point.
My Lap Pet Bed proves that animated elements don't have to be fancy to be effective. The set of scrolling, moving images on the homepage are designed to make you look. (Who can turn away from cute animals?) The movement is just enough to grab the attention of users and encourage them to learn more about the product on the website.
5. Tell an Engaging Story with Photos
There's nothing like powerful images to tell a story. Use custom imagery to really make the design stand out.
Photos that include your product, location or fit your story are more authentic and genuine. They can show users that your content is unique and share a sense that it was created just for them.
MochiSu is more than a bag company; they are selling sun and fun with compelling images on the website. The main header photo is stunning, sharp and engaging. It shows a person with the product. Thanks to a social media photo feed, the website also shows actual users with the bags sharing their stories. It's an effective way to show that the company is more than a product — it's a lifestyle choice.
Freshening up your website design might be the only change you need to make it stand out a little more. You don't have to do all of these things either.
Pick one design element at a time – and one that matches your website style or personality – and make those changes first. Remember, the best way to engage with users is to provide a memorable experience with a personal connection. Images, branding and animation are all ways to accomplish that without a full-scale website redesign.