5 Best Practices When Designing a Header for Your Website

graphic design

The header is the first thing users see when they visit a website. It typically contains the business’s brand name and logo, and it can also be used to help visitors navigate the site’s contents with ease. Because of this, it’s essential to create an attractive and functional header to provide a consistent and positive user browsing experience. However, designing a unique header is challenging. With so many design factors and ideas to consider, it’s easy to get lost in the process. 

Here's a guide to help simplify the header designing process:

1. Highlight the Important Elements
The header must contain meaningful information about the brand. This way, users will have an idea of what type of website the business is running, allowing them to scroll through each page with a clear goal in mind. Aside from the company’s name and logo, the following elements should also be emphasised:

  • Navigation links
  • Search button
  • Call to action
  • Contact information
  • Social media icons
  • Multi-language toggle (if necessary)

Take note that these elements will vary depending on the website. For example, if the site is handled by a non-profit organisation, there should be a “donate now” section on the header. On the other hand, if it’s an online retail site, a shopping cart must be added.

2. Use Readable Fonts

Although using dramatic fonts does give the website a unique edge, a lot of users may find it incomprehensible. As such, it’s better to use clean and clear fonts. It’s also smart to keep the words short and in a relatively large font size to make the header readable at a glance.

3. Make it Visually Appealing
Making a visually appealing header doesn’t necessarily mean to add every stunning icon, photo, or effects on the website. Sometimes, the simplest and cleanest options are enough to keep the header engaging. Examples of amazing header designs usually have the following features: 

  • Combines transparent headers with impressive images
  • Utilises fixed or sticky headers
  • Features distinct spaces by layering objects

4. Choose an Efficient Menu Style
There are several menu styles businesses can use to make their headers more functional. However, two of the most efficient options are expandable and double menus. Expandable menus provide plenty of space for images while double menus present users with two layers of navigation. 

One of the most common menu styles seen on headers today is the hamburger menu. This expandable menu gets its name from its design, which consists of horizontal lines that make it look like a hamburger. The hamburger menu is easier to access and contains the website’s core categories.

5. Be Familiar With the 3 Common Header Design Patterns
People scan or read through information differently, so businesses need to choose a header design pattern that allows their users to absorb their content the way they intended it to. The three most common models are as follows:

  • F-pattern. Typically used on websites that display blocks of content (e.g. blogs and search results pages.)
  • Z-pattern. Designed for websites with minimal copy and where simplicity is their main priority.
  • Gutenberg diagram. Applied to pages with text-heavy content. It also describes the general pattern on how the eyes move when looking at evenly distributed information.

The header is an integral part of a website, so businesses should take the time to create a header that’s attractive and practical for their users. To learn more about the importance of great header design and ideas, contact Activate Design today


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