Consistency is key

Consistency and its importance to good web design

  • Michael Klooster

  • March 7, 2019

Imagine if you opened a book and found that the table of content was in the middle, the ending was at the beginning and the epilogue on the back of the cover. You would feel lost and would quickly put that book away, it’s the same story with websites. If your site feels inconsistent it won’t take long before users leave. A consistent design is beneficial to your website in many ways and a crucial part of a website’s usability. In this article we will be explaining the benefits of a consistent design.

Building a strong identity

First off and most importantly a good consistent design helps you build a strong identity. Using a set number of fonts, brand colors and layout thought your site are all things that help enforce your company’s identity. Users are more likely to trust you as a professional business if your website looks equally professional. On the other hand, if your site is using different colors, fonts and layouts for every page it creates confusion amongst your users and gives off an aura of unprofessionalism. Browsing your site quickly becomes a chore as it becomes more annoying for users to find the information they need.

Ease of use

Which brings me to my next topic. Ease of use. A consistent design makes information easier to find on your site and creates trust with your users. If information like text is displayed differently on every page it becomes harder for users to find what they are looking for. Users don’t want to re learn your site every time they go to a next page. If they go from home to the about us page and suddenly the color was different, the navigation was in the middle of the page and all text was smaller and positioned differently. That would really throw them off. You can have a different layout on different pages I’m not saying all your pages should be clones of each other. but the design cannot drastically change from one page to another, some elements must remain the same.

This also counts for mobile versions of your site, the mobile version can’t suddenly look totally different from the home page. Some things will change off course due to limitations off a phones screen but its important that your design translates correctly to mobile. Especially currently where so many people use their phones to browse the web daily.

" Users are more likely to trust you as a professional business if your website looks equally professional. "

There are tons of websites out there each with their own unique design however, some trends have remained the same thought the years on most websites and it’s a good idea to keep them that way when designing a website. One such example is having the navigation menu on the top right and the logo on the top left. Users are used to this and if they go looking for the navigation on your site only to find it on the bottom middle or hidden away behind some icon, you’ll quickly find yourself with one less client. That’s why its always good to look at similar sites before you begin designing your own, see what basic practices these sites use, where do most shops place the cart button, or where are search bars usually placed. Study their layout elements and include these in your design. As the saying goes you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Its not all bad

Inconsistency isn’t all bad though and there are off course times when you can be an inconsistent with your design, earlier I’ve mentioned this with pages having slightly different layouts. The keyword here though is slightly, if you don’t do it to often or if it’s not too drastic then its fine. You can use inconsistencies in your design to highlight certain information like a sign-up button to a newsletter having a different color compared to the rest of the site.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when creating a consistent web design. Users have learned certain habits from navigating different types of sites, and while you might be tempted sometimes to design something completely unique and out of the box. You must keep in mind that users don’t want to think they just want to act and get results. And if your design gets in the way of that then its going to lose you some clients.

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