color palette for a website>
                    <figcaption class=A website color palette pulled from one image

A Website's User Experience Should Be Enjoyable

We use these rules of thumb when we design a commercial website, to ensure that visiting it a pleasurable user experience:

  • Colors: Use pleasing, coordinated colors that don't jar or grate on the eye. These colors can vary greatly depending on your target audience. Years ago, there was a lot of concern about whether various monitors could display certain colors: most of them display millions of colors now so it's no longer a problem and you don't need to stick with "web safe" colors. provides a free tool can help you pick a color palette for your site based on the colors in any image you like; Color Palette Generator.
  • Text Content: Write text that's easy to read, maybe even fun to read, then proofread it and check the spelling and grammar. Grammatical and typing errors cause discomfort and rejection when they are spotted by the reader. You want people to laugh with you, not at you.
  • Text Style: Make your text big enough to see easily, in a font that's easy to read. The baby boomers are getting older and if you want to appeal to them, don't make it a strain on their (my!) aging eyes.
  • Text Color: Have enough contrast against the background so it is not a strain on the eyes, but not so much contrast that it is glaring.
  • Images: Use professional-quality images. Reduce the file sizes (by adjusting image height and width and image quality settings) for faster downloading. Make the pages quick to load. The site you are on now is, itself, mostly streamlined in that regard. Most of the images on this site are minimized to the smallest possible file size in order to achieve the fastst possible loading time.
  • Whitespace: Don't crowd the screen—leave adequate margins around blocks of text and images, else people will get confused by all the clutter.
  • Page Length: Don't make the pages too long. Some of the pages on our website are borderline too long, but we're getting better at condensing things. Believe it or not, this page used to be about ten times longer than it is. Try to summarize, and use hyperlinks to other pages or websites that offer more information about particular topics. That's sort of what the web is all about, no?
  • Navigation: Make it easy to get around your website, and make it difficult to get lost. Provide "Breadcrumb" links as well as navigation links, if you can.
  • Mobile-Friendly: Make sure the pages of the site load properly on smart phones and tablets as well as on laptops and desktop monitors. Google buries websites that are not mobile-friendly.

Now you can add in your "designer" factors—how you want the site to look and feel. But remember, you are always playing within the rules above. Colors that are "pleasing and coordinated" to a 14-year old games enthusiast (Black, Red and Orange?) are probably going to grate heavily on said enthusiast's grandmother. You need to know what types of people you are likely to attract to your website (to buy your products) and cater the site to theirvisual tastes.

Too many web designers started out as "graphic designers", or want to be graphic designers. That's where the glory is for web designers; designing a visually stunning, "killer" website. Your website offers them a chance to do this and have you pay them for it! But if all their attention is on the look and feel and coolness of the site and not on the other guidelines we list here, they may be shortchanging you without either of you realizing it.

By way of example, THIS website is designed with all these text, color, image and navigation points in mind. We may not follow every rule to the letter, but we always have a reason (which seems valid to us, anyway) for breaking a rule if we decide to break it.

If you believe your website needs help on any of these points, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Article updated Jan. 2022

25 years of online marketing

Celebrating 25 Years of Creating an Island of
Stability In the Sea of Online Confusion

Copyright © 1997-2023 Words in a Row - All Rights Reserved.