Best Website Design Practices for 2020

Jan 20 ~ by Mike V

Best Website Design Practices for 2019

9 Best Practices for Website Design Going into the New Year

For marketers, design standards aren't something you think about a lot. But for web design, they're critical.

Website design standards and best practices. A set of rules that web designers follow, knowing that they meet with visitors' expectations. Guidelines for clarity and user ability.

What is standard, really?

Let's take a look at the top 50 marketing websites to see how they compare.

Using guidelines from an earlier NN Group article, we use the following thresholds:

Note: The sites included in this research are the top marketing website designs in the business for "marketing & advertising" category on Alexa.


1. Logo in the top Left

100% of the website designs researched had a clickable logo in the upper left corner of every page on the site. That's a standard!

2. Contact in top right

44% have the contact button or link in the top right corner of every page. Although this placement is very common and considered best practices, it cannot be considered standard.

3. Main Navigation across the top

88% of the web designs had the main navigation located in the header at the top of every page, making horizontal top-level navigation a web design standard.

4. Home page slideshow

32% of the website designs have a home page slideshow with a rotating series of images and messages.

This is one that website designers are watching carefully, as more sites seem to be favoring a static featured image, rather than a rotating series of images. Research is mixed on the effectiveness of each option. Results vary. Choose the best option for your site, your message and your visitors. NS Modern recently switched from using a slide show for the longest time to a single photo to create better aesthetics.

5. Value proposition high up on the home page

80% of marketing website designs have an explicit value proposition located high on the home page. So the majority of websites explain their value to visitors before the scroll. The remaining didn't have a clear value proposition at all.

6. Call to Action high up on the home page

78% of the website designs had visually prominent call to action links.

7. Search feature in the header

54% of web designs have a search feature in the header. About half of all marketing sites do not have a search feature that appears "globally" on every page either as a link, icon or search box.

This isn't surprising to us. Search tools aren't necessary unless the website contains a large amount of content. A search tool is often a "crutch" for a poorly organized website.

8. Signup box in the footer

24% of websites allow visitors to sign up and subscribe to email updates in the footer. So this is a common place to gather email addresses, but not a convention or a standard.

The most common content for footers is copyright, privacy, legal, sitemap and contact links. Visitors expect to find contact information in the bottom right or bottom center of websites.

9. Responsive design

68% of websites are mobile-friendly using responsive web design. This gives visitors a great experience regardless of the device - phone, tablet or desktop.

It's a combination of website design and programming that is difficult to add after a site is built. More often, it's part of a redesign, which may explain why it's a convention, but not a standard.

Responsive website design has been best practices for years. At NS Modern we are glad to see this become more common in web design and we expect this feature to be standard eventually.


For review...

Custom Design is Dominant. Not all design standards are standard after all. Except for the placement of the logo, the main navigation and the value proposition, there is not standards for web design.

Web design conventions include a prominent call to action, search tool in the header, social media icons in the footer and responsive web design.

Other common design features may still be considered best practices, but may not be used by the majority of websites. Custom web design, specific to the business and its audience, rules the day. Contact NS Modern for a Free Consultation.

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