A cohesive website is a pleasure for the user and looks more professional than websites that are jarring and change formats throughout. The goal of a cohesive site should be having pages that each look like they belong together. Whether it’s a sales page, FAQ page, or an About page, each section of your site should provide the information or function it’s designed to do while also being attractive and representing your company. Take a look at your site and decide whether the entire thing looks like one website or if each page could belong to a different one. If you decide to make some changes, there are a few different ways to make things more cohesive.
Keep the Same Format
There’s no reason to change headers, footers, font, or the color scheme on most pages. Since a basic web design goal is to make things easy to look at, choosing a readable font and viewer-friendly colors is very important. Once you’ve settled on your layout and format, stick to it. This is one of the most influential factors in ensuring that your site looks cohesive. Consider basic principles of web design and viewer engagement before you choose a final layout for your site.
Speaking of colors, there are few elements that make as immediate an impact as the color palette of your site. Even if you aren’t using the same colors at every place on every page, consider keeping the colors complementary. It makes things more cohesive even when they don’t look exactly the same.
Another thing to consider is the photographic elements used on your webpages. If you’re using background images, you can either use the same one or use ones that are themed. Consider using images of the same size. Think about whether or not each image you’re using represents both the business you’re designing for and the purpose of the webpage. If it doesn’t, choose another image.
Backgrounds that aren’t photos are another thing to consider. The background you’re using should make the rest of the page elements easy to read and understand. There’s also not much reason to switch between backgrounds, especially if you’re using one with a pattern. Sometimes too much artistic designing for a basic or business webpage is actually over-designing. Keep it simple and the eyes of the people viewing it will appreciate it.
Use Adaptive Plugins
Another way to keep your site cohesive is to use plugins and programs that can be adapted to serve different purposes on different pages. Not only do these secondary software elements offer more utility, but they also keep your elements looking the same from one page to the next. Things like social media plugins and software for html forms can help you include the elements you need on each page without changing the design or format of each page.
Another key issue when choosing secondary software or elements for your design is that you want something you can customize to your own preferences. Using someone else’s design may not give you the results you want. Always look for software or plugins that offer some kind of personal options to change things up, whether it’s color or the number of input slots for answers that a person puts in.
Adaptive design is another key element in creating a cohesive website. If you aren’t coding with adaptive design, it’s time to start. Not only is it a positive SEO ranking factor, but it also makes it easier for people to see your website. Adaptive design means that people viewing your website on mobile devices or computers will still be able to see it and use it. If your site is only designed to be viewed on one screen and operating system, it’s not going to be ideal for every single person that tries to see it.
So design your site so that it changes and adapts to the way people view it. It will make your site much more cohesive and accessible. It will take a little more work but the end result will be well worth it. Lots of people access websites on such a large variety of devices that you’ll be serving a much larger audience.
Use the Site
It’s a basic web design principle, but use the site you’re designing like a normal user. Click through the pages and look for elements that seem out of place or jarring. Check to see if a picture, font, or background is popping out at you in the wrong way. You’re the first critic of your website and should be the first one to decide whether or not it’s cohesive.
This is another place where usability testing comes in handy. Have people use the site and point to elements that feel jarring. Ask them when they’re confused and review any places that more than one person mentions. It could be that something on the design that is confusing users and keeping them from navigating the site properly. That’s one of the benefits of a cohesive site; it’s easier for viewers to use.
Creating a cohesive website is just good design. Using the right tools, design principles, and feedback, you can make something that looks like every page belongs together. When people use your website, it will be easier and feel better because they’ll understand how the whole thing fits together and, more importantly, how it represents the principles of the entity behind the website.