I generally tell website clients from the start that even though I’ve worked with hundreds of web design projects over the years, I’m not a trained ‘designer’ formally. Many times, that’s okay because we all know what we like on a web page even if we don’t know what the current web design standards are.
Oftentimes, clients might say something like, “why don’t we try this logo over here” or “why not change the navigation and move it over here”, etc. I can make suggestions based on my personal preference, but in the end it’s always the call of the client no matter what argument I might put up.
The main reason that web designers (aside from color and font selections, etc) tend to stick with certain user interface elements in certain places the majority of the time is because they work.
That is, certain elements (like a logo) are in certain places because it’s ‘kind of a standard’ if you will. A design ‘standard’ is something that website visitors are very comfortable with and easily accept visit after visit no matter the website.
For instance, you won’t find find many websites (if any…ever) prominently featuring the company logo in the bottom right section of the footer. There are reasons for that aside being somewhat logical to most folks.
In the case of the study below (a study of the top 50 marketing websites examined against this list of 10 different practices, standard means at least 80% of the sites are in alignment with the practice in question.)
Design standards, though not always followed, help people get where they need to go on a website. Standards help us feel much better about the decisions that we make when it comes to our web projects and layouts. There is nothing worse that trying to navigate through pages that follow no logic or that are so ‘cute’ they are confusing…..goodbye new website visitor, goodbye potential conversion.
I remember the early days in website building when it seemed like every other site I ran across was displaying the ‘animated fire GIF’ (dancing flames) on the home page for no other reason than that they had figured out how to place that thing on the page!
So, let’s take a quick look at some web design standards that you may or may not be aware of. It was refreshing to see some of the list items below highlighted formally even though these are things that just seem to make sense (likely because I’ve seem them a million times on a multitude of websites through the years.)