There are a lot of aspects to web design that most people aren’t aware of, and today, with the fact that anyone can pitch and promote themselves as a web designer via sites like Fiverr and Freelancer, it’s important to have some background information – as a lot of people on these sites, are simply using templates and drag and drop editors to create the same old site, just with different content.
Of course, professional web designers are a different kettle of fish and whilst they tend to be more expensive they often offer much better value in terms of the end result. Indeed, when it comes to getting “cheap” web design services, the term “buy cheap buy twice” comes to mind – and sometimes, many business owners find that they would often pay double the amount they paid in the first place, just to avoid the headache of dealing with a freelancer that wasn’t as professional as an established company are.
Therefore, whether you’re working with freelancers or considering developing your website yourself, it’s good to equip yourself with some fundamental things to test before your website goes live, as unlike with a professional company who will do all these tests and much more – when it comes to freelancers, you are responsible for ensuring quality control and that the final output is fit for purpose.
For non-techy people, this process of testing websites might seem a little overwhelming at first, which is why this article breaks it down into some simple steps and aspects to consider – by asking a checklist of questions.
1. DOES IT LOAD FAST?
The speed at which your website loads is of critical importance to success, as if it loads any slower than three seconds, it’s likely that many users will click off the page before they’ve even had chance to look at the content. It’s a sad reality, and though we all like to imagine people will stick around for the grand unveiling of our wonderful content, the reality is they won’t.
Therefore, if you’re looking to increase your traffic to your website, one of the things you need to think about is ensuring a fast loading speed. There are tools such as Pingdom that can help test your load speed and diagnose what’s causing the site to perform slower than you would like it to, which is very helpful for most website owners.
2. DOES IT WORK ON ALL BROWSERS?
It’s important you test your site on all browsers, rather than just the one that you tend to use – people use a variety of browsers including Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox. There are many others, but as these are the main ones, it’s especially important to ensure your website loads as it should on these four.
3. DOES IT LOOK GOOD ON ALL SCREEN SIZES (AND IS IT RESPONSIVE)?
A lot of people will be accessing your website on a variety of screen sizes – some will access your site on a tablet, a phone, a laptop, a desktop, and some will access it on a huge monitor; the technical jargon you need to understand when looking at this is a term called “viewports” and to make a site responsive, you will want to create different rules (or designs) for each breakpoint.
Now, a breakpoint is a rule that states a specific design will be used for that screen resolution, for instance, you might want to have a large hero image banner appear on a desktop screen, but have this removed on a mobile device – this way, you are presenting a different version of the same site, with the same content, but rearranged to ensure an optimal user experience depending on the size of screen the user is viewing the content on.
The point being that not everyone will see your site exactly the way you see it on your screen, when designing your website, so you need to ensure it looks good on all devices and screen sizes – meaning you need to test it out on as many different phones, laptops, tablets and big screens as possible.
4. DOES IT WORK WELL ON MOBILES?
The paradigm today is that we should be designing “mobile first” meaning, design for mobile users should come first and desktop users second, due to the fact so many people are accessing content on their mobile devices and this trend shows no signs of slowing.