It’s important as a designer to think about who exactly you are creating your site for. What kind of consumer? What kind of audience? Some designers find it helpful to sketch out the characteristics of the visitors of their site, what’s important to them, what are they there to achieve, and what might deter them from using your site.
Through the rest of the design process, keep referring back to this initial sketch you’ve created of your target audience. This gives your site a focus that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t throughly thought about who the visitors of your site would be or if you thought that your visitors was a wide range of people.
The next most important thing to consider is the how you display and create a navigation system for the information that your visitors are looking for. Visitors will stuggle to find what they want if it’s surrounded by clutter or useless content. All elements of the your webpage should be helping create the story of your site, and if they don’t help, then you should remove them. An example of this is site decoration, graphics and images should help tell visitors instantly what your site is about. A florist’s site should show flowers, a car salesmen’s site should show the vehicles they have for sale. This lets people visiting the site know right away that they’re in the right place.
Images you use should help to explain your content and adverts should be relevant to things that readers are likely to care about.
Then when it comes to text on a site, most designers will cut the amount of text the have by 50%, integrating images and visual features along side the text so that it your site feels more concise and less cluttered. It’s also important to find fonts which are legible on the screen to make sure visitors can easily read and understand the information on your site.
This video gives some tips and tricks for figuring out good layout and design: