The fundamental concepts for a good website

Whether you are about to embark on the design and build of a new recruitment website or feel your existing website needs a boost or a shift in direction, there are a number of concepts that are important to think about. We’re not talking about the nitty-gritty of the design here, that comes later. These are the concepts that you need ironed out first. They will form the guiding principles of your website and are therefore a crucial first step.  

Define your direction and your users

Before you begin any sort of design framework you need to establish what you want to achieve with your website and who you are targeting. You than need to keep these two things in your mind throughout the process. Every design decision you make will be guided by this, from the colours, images and typography you use, to the tone of the copy, to the pages needed. Firstly, narrow down your overarching goal. You may have several but there will be one that is more important than the others. Focus on that and constantly refer back to this whenever you are making a design decision, asking yourself whether that will help you to achieve your goal. The same is true for your users – when you know exactly who you are targeting you can ensure whatever you include on your website will engage them and encourage them to take further steps. 

What do you want your users to do?

Once you’ve defined your direction and your users, you can ensure the direction you are sending them benefits your end goal. For candidates, the end goal is to apply for a job. For clients it will usually be to make contact. Your CTA should always reflect that. Tell your users the next step at every point of navigation – and make it obvious. Ensure you have pathways for each user profile and point them in the right direction at every turn.

Keep it simple

So you have defined your direction, your users, and what you want those users to do on your website. Now what you need to do is ensure it is easy for them to do just that. Quash the urge to keep adding to your website for the sake of it. Instead, remove anything that doesn’t serve a purpose. If you add unnecessarily you merely create obstacles for your users to complete the route you want them to take and to perform that one overriding action that forms your end goal. That’s not to say that you can’t add other details or information but don’t fill the central part of your pages with them.  

Accessibility is key

Inclusivity is not just the morally right thing to do, it makes business sense. Why would you ever want to exclude a potential candidate or client? Besides, accessibility affects us all. Mobile traffic grew by 222% between 2013 and 2019 and is likely higher still today. It is therefore imperative that your website is fully accessible from a mobile device. Making your website accessible means, at the very least, ensuring your text and buttons aren’t too small, using alt text captions for all images, making links embedded in text obvious, and make colour contrasts for text and background clear.

Prioritise emphasis

Just as white space is important in order to give users breaks and the visual ability to process what they’re looking at, if you prioritise what you want to emphasise on each page it will be more digestible. This follows on from signposting to users what you want them to do next. Choose what is most important to communicate to your users on each page and not only will they get the message, they will also be pointed in the right direction.

Ensuring you have all your ducks in a row before you get stuck into the design process is essential to creating a website that is optimised for usability and functionality. Without a clear direction it is impossible to give your users direction. In order to fully maximise the ROI of your recruitment website – converting users to leads and leads to ‘sales’ (i.e. new clients or applications) – it is vital that the groundwork is first laid. These are the guiding principles that govern a successful website.