Web designs encompass many different elements that work in cooperation, so as to convey information to users in a relevant and organised manner. In order for any such web design to work effectively, each and every element right from the header to the navigation menu, to content structure and footer need to be highly usable. Unfortunately, website footers are often overlooked – when they can actually add huge value to the user experience.
Many web designers often use footer to store everything that couldn’t be fit into the header. As a result, you might come across websites that contains a run-of-the-mill footer with a bit of information that don’t combine well. Within this post, we’ll discuss about key factors needed for a great website footer.
Things You Should Include in Your Footer
Before understanding the process of designing a footer, let’s first discuss about the most common elements that the footer is usually filled with. Of course, it isn’t necessary for you to place all of the below discussed items in the footer; but adding the items will definitely help you in creating a usable footer. Here are three important items that need to be included in your footer design.
“About” and “Contact” Page Link: As we all know, the about page lets users collect useful data about what the website is all about. And the contact page enables users to fetch all the details they need to talk to the person operating the site. By putting such information in the footer will make it more easily accessible to users. Just make sure to include the direct links to your “About” and “Contact” pages.
Sitemap Link: Usability is the most crucial factor that makes a web design succeed. And adding a sitemap link in the footer helps in improving usability. A sitemap provides users to go through the list of all the pages on a website. In a nutshell, a sitemap make user informed about the pages that can be found on the site, and provide links to those pages. Some sites may offer a search engine or search box in place of a sitemap.
Back to Top Link: A great way to enhance user experience is to provide them ease access to navigation throughout the website. When scrolling down the page, a user might wish to return back to the top of the page instantly. This can be done with the help of “Back to Top” link. This link is usually placed above the website footer or below the footer. You can also code a floating link that can appear on all pages on the bottom sides.
How a Footer Should Be Designed?
Adding style makes a web design look interesting in the user’s eyes. Styling a web design not just helps in optimising the look, but also makes the website content visually more appealing. The same goes for the footer. Let’s have a look at some of the basic yet important styling tips you should consider when designing a footer:
Avoid Keyword-Stuffed Footers: Website designs have evolved and they no longer contain keyword-stuffed footers. This is because most popular search engines will now penalise you for adding keywords and inappropriate non related content to your footers. This can cause several problems for the site owner and even lose rankings on major search engines. You should avoid designing a footer with too many and worthless keyword-stuffed links. Rather you should focus on creating clean and worthy footer links – that add value to the UX (user experience).
Have you seen these examples of keyword-stuffed footers?
Use White Space
Make sure to scale your footer design, so that it can contain ample amounts of space for new resources. Wondering why you should use white space? That’s because, in footers with column layouts proper white space helps in improving user’s focus and enhances readability of the text placed in the footer. By white space we don’t mean that the footer design have to be white; instead there should be empty space in your footer that separates the footer’s content.
Maintain Content Hierarchy
Just like white space, the hierarchy of the content is crucial for layout of the footer. Make sure to maintain strong hierarchy which comprises of columns with relevant titles, and every title must contain a bit of space. Under the title comes the content. The title helps draw users’ attention and make them aware what’s in the column.
Responsive Footer Designs
With an increasing number of Smartphones and tablets, the needs for designing responsive website layouts have become an important factor for website owners. This is why each website element including your footer needs to be designed in the manner that will make it display and layout correctly on all devices.
Just because the footer is positioned at the bottom of the page, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. Spend some time redesigning and trying different layouts on your footer to get the best interaction with your customers. Real estate on a website is very important. Don’t waste the space on spammy links, and irrelevant anchor texts. Use it to offer a greater online experience for your customers.
About the Author: Maria Mincey works for Xicom Technologies, a software development company which delivers web solutions for different industry.