There are plenty of books out there on the subject of web design, all offering great advice, but here are some basic ideas to keep in mind if you’re planning a new or revamped website for your society.
Be a minimalist
In general, people browse the internet quickly; they’re attracted by attractive, large images and short simple messages. Which of these two sites is more appealing to you?
So you should keep to a minimal design – particularly for your Home page - with lots of space, large images, large text and only the essential information you want to impart, such as what you do and how well you do it, in just a couple of short sentences.There is another, practical reason for this minimalist approach: your page needs to look just as good on a mobile device as on a PC and your essential information needs to fit on that tiny screen. Nowadays, web designers tend to build for mobiles first, then scale upwards. So keep it brief!
Put more information further down the page or with links to other pages – buttons are a more attractive way of doing this than a text link.
Your other pages can be busier than your Home page, but you should try to keep them as uncluttered as possible.
Keep a unified design by using the same 2 or 3 colours across your entire site. Use one main colour with a second colour as contrast – and use that sparingly. If needed, a third colour can be used for links, headers, etc. If you’ve chosen a particularly bright or strong colour as your main signature, don’t be afraid to use white as your background.
Choosing colours is not always easy. If you have a main colour, there are plenty of tools on the internet to help you choose complementary colours.
Modern browsers can cope with lots of different fonts (Google fonts has thousands to choose from, all are free and can be downloaded easily). But don’t get carried away and select a handwriting or quirky font to make your website stand out – it’s more likely to make your website annoyingly difficult to read. Choose a nice, clean font that’s a pleasure for your visitors to read.
As I stated earlier, people browse quickly and will move on if they can’t find what they’re looking for. So it’s important not to clutter up your menu. Amdram societies should be able to get by with 6-8 menu items. And do you really need drop down sub-menu items? I’d suggest not. Use your main menu to get to the category you want and, if necessary, have links (buttons) to sub-pages or to scroll down. If you have non-essential information that you want on every page, put it down in the footer. These days it’s more usual to have large footers and keep the top of each page simple.
You can spice up your website with loads of special effects these days, such as parallax sliders (where images move at different speeds when you scroll), animations, pop-up or slide-in windows, etc. While these can be fun, it’s best not to be tempted to use these all over the place so, once again, keep these to a minimum across your site. Otherwise, your groovy, fun website can just be annoying to your visitors.