Essential Design Elements in Website Templates for Online Businesses

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The world of online business is always changing, and the ability of small companies to access and deploy sophisticated Internet portals is enhanced by the availability of user-friendly eCommerce platforms and their offerings. Previously, an entrepreneur needed the services of a graphic designer, webmaster, and a small team using complex creative suites to produce a website. However, the expense is considerably reduced today via the use of templates that can be altered to accommodate many different types of business, and the company branding to make the web presence a productive one.

Why You Don’t Have to Hire A Designer

There are different types of websites you can choose for your business, but consider the different options that are out there nowadays. This is especially useful if you’re in the process of either establishing a startup or rebranding your entire company. Reinventing your presence on the Internet is simple, and there are many options to choose from, ranging from eCommerce tools such as online store templates and sales systems available at Shopify, to basing your website entirely on a blog platform. The ease with which you can ramp up your presence on the Internet and make your site both user-friendly and engaging is easier and more affordable than ever before. Gone are the days when you had to hire a separate webmaster to oversee updating and monitoring your website.
With basic do-it-yourself tools, you don’t have to be a tech expert to decide how you want to present yourself online. Simple and responsive designs are key to attracting and retaining customers, and there are many options to choose from that require little more than a point and click to maintain. Sites like Shopify are designed with small businesses in mind, and not only do the work of a designer, but also help with the everyday, practical issues all small companies face, such as the company blog, inventory management, and payment systems. Always display that your payment system is secure. It’s one of the most important ways to protect and enhance your business’s reputation.

Flat Design and Image Tiles

Realism and all its bells and whistles is fast becoming outdated as minimalist web design takes center stage, according to Econsultancy. Beveling and embossing, drop shadowing, and lighting flares that once seemed essential to the user interface now appear heavy-handed and dated, as well as taking more “weight” in terms of loading time. Since the Internet is no longer solely a desktop nor laptop environment, streamlining a site to load quickly on all mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, has become a survival necessity. Flat “tiles” are easier to shrink down, enlarge, and rearrange when viewed on different screen sizes, or to tap with a finger or cursor. Flat design also allows the customer to focus on your offerings rather than be distracted or confused by a busy design. After all, they are not buying your creative suite.


More Information Delivered Effectively

More content and richer content available to the customer on one page pushes the responsive experience, according to Practical Ecommerce. Instead of the customer manipulating the site, clicking back and forth between pages to find the information they want, a quick-view module can open a window on top of the browsing page. Watch out for pop-up blockers, though. Adding richer content to individual product pages such as videos, full-motion gifs, reviews, and “in the wild” product shots and demos allows your customer to see the merchandise in use, and to visualize themselves using it, too.
Responsive websites with rich, customer-directed content create a dialogue that is memorable, and there is no greater way to empower your brand than through intellectual engagement. The test of good design is whether it’s effective. Your site should never put style over substance, because the goal of interactive website design is to draw the user in and create meaningful interactions. Enrich your site with varied but easily accessible content, and you’ll give the customer a reason to stick around and explore.

Scrolling and Navigation

Scrolling is no longer based on an up and down, or left and right binary, but now has several variations that you might consider incorporating into your design. Many templates now also support parallax scrolling, where the foreground image moves faster than the background image, column-based scrolling, and even infinite scrolling. Infinite scrolling isn’t a popular choice, though, due to the fact that it can increase load times, and sometimes does more harm than good when viewed in certain browsers.

Navigation also needs attention to detail, with responsive but not intrusive drop-down or sliding menus. Particular attention to mobile design pays off here, since the smaller a device screen, the greater the need for economical and tap/swipe responsive design. Navigation menus should be simple but comprehensive, with links to contact forms, product pages, and a search function so that the customer can find what they are looking for quickly. Logins for mobile sites also need to be simplified for ease of use on a smaller screen.
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