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National Restaurant Association - The art of web design

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The art of web design

As with all things, there most certainly is a broad range of quality when it comes to websites. When done well, the subtly appealing cues and nuances of skillful web design make it a true art form. The best sites just feel right, whereas even a minor detail inexpertly approached can serve as a major distraction – and therefore a major detraction to your site’s look and effectiveness.

Be mindful of the following general guidelines, which will go a long way toward ensuring that your website looks beautiful and inspires your customers to act.

  1. Digital feng shui. Think of every web page as a piece of real estate. You have limited space to work with, so you don’t want to waste a single pixel. All elements should be placed optimally so that they get the appropriate level of exposure and do not compete with each other visually. Basically, you want all the pieces of your site to have a balanced arrangement, just like you do for your restaurant itself, not to mention every dish you serve.
  2. Fly your true colors. An expertly coordinated color palette is a natural part of all great websites. You don’t want colors to clash, obviously. But it’s more than that: The color scheme of your site can reflect an emotional vibe and create a mood for your restaurant. Which colors work best for you? It all depends on your own sense of style, and even how your actual restaurant looks. Again, balance is key here.
  3. Typography equals personality. You wouldn’t believe how important fonts can be to the perception of your business. This is one of the easiest parts to get right, but it’s also one of the most common oversights. A professional designer will be able to suggest typography directions for your site and should give you a choice among strictly excellent options – no rinky-dink fonts allowed.
  4. Speak clearly. Let’s be frank. Nobody’s going to curl up with a bottle of wine and read your site. You need to make every word count and be mindful of your visitors’ time. Be concise, be direct, and make sure you’re communicating a message that is appropriate to how you want your restaurant to be perceived.
  5. Graphic awesomeness. Sleek, professional high-definition video. Crisp, vibrant photography. The advantage of these is self-evident: What would you want to look at on a website? Certainly not just a block of single-spaced text (even if it’s in an amazing font). A good rule of thumb is that for every five lines of copy, you’ll want a nice image.
  6. Inspire action. Obviously, you want lots of visitors to your site, and you want them to keep coming back. But what is it that you want them to do there? Your goal might be to get them to watch a video, call for a reservation, place a to-go order, sign up for your email list or connect with you via social media. In all likelihood it’s a number of things. You’ll need to prioritize these desired actions and make it really easy for people to take them. This involves clear calls to action, such as prominent, clickable buttons, and is directly related to point No. 1 above.
  7. Lead the way. If you want to ensure a positive user experience on your website (hint: you do), it must be easy to navigate, and it must be consistent. Every page must look the same, with the same colors and spacing and fonts – and every page must work the same, too. Your visitors should find it completely obvious what to do, where to go and how to get there. Again, the architecture analogy works well here. Just as every building has subtle design cues that mirror its intended use, so should your website.

With all that said, it’s important to keep something else in mind. As with all art forms, there are not always “correct” answers per se. Your personality, your restaurant and your tastes all play a role in forming a website that right’s for you. Variety is the spice of virtual life, too, so always be yourself.

This content was provided by Mopro.

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