Web Development Best Practices to Master in 2020
Web development is responsible for user experience as it defines the website layout, ease of navigation, and overall website performance. Even though each web project differs in complexity and scale, there are several universal practices that any web developer should follow. These practices will ensure that your website adheres to the necessary performance and security standards while keeping the users satisfied and engaged.
Adhere to common UX/UI standards
Examples of such standards include:
- The placement of the company’s logo in the upper left corner,
- Registration and contacts are located in the upper right corner,
- CTA buttons are usually placed on top of the page,
- The search icon is usually in the header.
The thing is, users are used to seeing certain UX elements in certain website areas. So if a user goes to an e-commerce site and doesn’t find the cart icon in the upper right corner, they will become confused and annoyed (and will probably leave the website). And by following these standards, you will significantly facilitate navigation for your users, hence, increasing their satisfaction from interacting with your website.
Keep the design clean
The trends in UX design change on an annual basis but there is one thing that remains the same - simplicity. Despite the content on your pages, the core of your design should be clarity and simplicity.
When thinking about the elements for your website, put value and user experience first. It is important to find a perfect balance between the branding and user experience, without heavily deviating towards any side. As well, keep in mind that an abundance of “heavy” visual elements can slow down the site’s performance which, in turn, will have a negative effect on the user experience.
The clear design helps transfer the needed message to the users without overwhelming them. Since your first priority should be usability and ease of navigation, you should avoid using unnecessary elements in your design. And in case you hesitate about certain elements and whether to keep them or not, you can perform the A/B testing and check the site’s usability with actual users.
While HTML is responsible for the page’s content and structure, CSS defines its design and display of the HTML elements.
Now, there is a style attribute that lets developers insert CSS right into the HTML document. While this attribute can be used for testing purposes, it results in a messy code that is hard to read. Thus, the insertion of this attribute is not recommended.
Use CSS Reset
A CSS Reset is a set of CSS rules that basically “reset” the styling of all HTML elements to null. In this way, developers can minimize the cross-browser differences for a page, making it look the same. Since the use of the CSS Reset eliminates any particular styling of HTML elements, front-end developers can define the styling they need while avoiding the cross-browser rendering issue.
This point related to the cross-browser issue that also needs to be considered. Since there are different browsers and you cannot predict which one your users will use, you might want to make the web product suitable for the most common ones. Therefore, the CSS Reset helps resolve this issue, keeping the web page consistent in design across all the browsers.
Mobile-friendly is a must
Considering the popularity of mobile devices among users, mobile-friendly websites have become a must. As well, keep in mind the mobile-first indexing introduced by Google in 2016. The main idea of this approach is to index mobile versions of websites first and see how well they are optimized for mobile.
Thus, when working on a website, it is important to adapt it to mobile devices with different screens and resolutions as well as watch out how the content is displayed on different devices. Responsive design is key to user satisfaction as it provides superior user experience and better usability.
And don’t forget about SEO which encompasses many aspects: from keyword research to correct usage of H1, H2, and other tags. By making your website SEO-friendly, you increase its chances to become more visible and to rank higher in search engines.
Image optimization for better performance
Website performance is a pain point for many developers. If a page loads too slowly, users will most probably abandon it. This, in turn, leads to a high bounce rate and loss in revenue and user engagement.
One of the most common ways to fix website performance is image optimization. Every website features images and some of them may be quite heavy. Their size, in turn, impacts load speed significantly.
Here are a few methods that help optimize your website images:
- Use specialized software for image reduction or compression. Services like ShortPixel, Reduce Images, or even Photoshop can help achieve the needed size, dimension, and format without compromising the quality.
- Use CDN for faster content loading. A Content Delivery Network is a group of connected and distributed servers. Hence, hosting content on CDN results in faster content delivery and speeds up the page loading.
- Use lazy loading. The Lazy Load method works as follows: the content is loaded in parallel with the user’s viewpoint. That means as the user scrolls down, the content will load correspondingly. This approach allows for saving the bandwidth and speeding up the page loading process.
By using these methods, you will be able to significantly speed up your website load and increase user experience.
Pay primary attention to security
Data security is the main concern of any website owner. Thus, you need to pay utter attention to the security practices that will ensure that the data stored on your website is properly safeguarded.
Some common security measures include:
- Two-factor authentication
- Session expiration
- Data encryption
- Role management and access control
- HTTPS implementation
However, it’s not enough to apply security measures to front-end only - you need to take care of all security aspects, both back-end (such as server protection) and front-end plus perform continuous security testing in order to ensure that your product is protected from internal and external threats.
Web development is a comprehensive and complex area that demands a high level of skill and knowledge from developers. In order to deliver superior user experience and ensure that your product performs on a corresponding level, one has to invest time into studying the basic front-end development practices and then move on to advanced ones in accordance with the project specifications and requirements.
Irina is a professional copywriter with over 7 years of experience in this domain. She loves creating compelling and informative copy that provides readers with all the needed information. Irina is also a frequent contributor to different blogs and websites across different domains.View all articles by this author.
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