How To Design Modern Website

15 May 2020

The web moves fast; keep up!

Let's break down and go through the most important design principles of designing for the modern web

Let Users Know You Have a Mobile Application

This remains the most important principle, and it’s not without reason. Well-paid focus groups have shown that the very first thing a user wants to do when visiting your web site in their web browser is to install a mobile application.

The best way to achieve this is to show a modal dialog that prompts them to install it.

As an optional step, you may add a button or hyperlink to close said dialog, but it’s important to use some cryptic text, preferably worded to shame the user into compliance.

Implement a Do Not Track Policy

Many modern browsers these days support an HTTP header called DNT, which stands for Do Not Track. This header is meant to signal that a user does not want to be tracked, and unfortunately, this is enabled by default in some browsers like Brave (An open-source ad-blocking browser made by the creator of JavaScript, Brendan Eich).

However, don’t worry, as all is not lost! We’ve found that most users will remove this header when prompted. To handle this, we recommend serving a guide on how to disable it when the header is present.

Implementing a Cookie Policy

Cookie consent is confusing. While it’s not required in most cases with reasonable cookie use, it’s better to prompt the user for consent so we can track everything without fear of repercussions.

Blocking Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are everywhere and can really hurt your margins, so the obvious precaution is to block ad blockers.

Chrome is moving to block ad blockers, so if the user is using a browser like Brave, we’ll be able to just claim the user’s browser isn’t modern enough.

Blocking Non-U.S. Countries and Devices

Between Cupcake nations, GDPR, link taxes, and the Huwaei ban, which we haven’t been able to figure out at all, the best approach is just to block them all to avoid any and all liability.

Maximizing Your Layout

The days of 800-pixel-wide layouts are gone. Modern displays tend to be widescreen, so make sure to take advantage of the entire width in the layout.

Use Notifications

Modern browsers support notifications, so enabling them is a must, but as a fallback, also automatically subscribe the user to a newsletter, SMS notifications, and/or email notifications.

Prompt the User

Sometimes users forget they can sign up. Be sure to prompt them regularly and feature a prominent signup link or button.

Allow the User to Opt Out

It’s very important that we are user-friendly and aren’t intrusive, which means we have to let users opt out of our constant prompts and modal dialogs.

The best practice here is to put the opt-out settings in a place where the user will easily spot them—typically this is inside one of the “account preferences” pages.

Use JavaScript

It’s a known fact: All websites require JavaScript.

You might think, “Oh it’s only plain text and a couple of modals.” But in the future? By then, it’ll be many, many more modals, and I’ll promise you right now. When that happens, you’ll regret not making your website an isomorphic application using the latest framework running on a serverless cloud.

Don’t know anything about web development at all? Don’t worry you can just attend a bootcamp!


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