Top Tips: Dating Website Design

This was originally written for and published by White Label Dating on the 21st March 2011.


When it comes to designing your dating website there are many things worth considering to make the site work for you as much as possible. Here are a handful of my top tips.

Good design is worth the investment.

As a designer with a view of keeping my job I can’t stress this enough. On many occasions I hear clients say that design doesn’t matter or they can’t afford it. However, most of us would admit that first impressions count and if a site looks as though the owner is investing time and money into it then we are much more inclined to spend time on the site and money in subscribing to the services on offer.

Think about your target audience, the purpose of your site and the message you’re trying to communicate.

OK, I’ve cheated and squeezed three in here! The main purpose of design is communication, so before starting any design it is imperative that you have a clear idea about what you’re hoping to achieve with it. This could include (amongst other things), to convey information, sell products or convince users to give you their details as part of building up a marketing campaign.

Once you have decided, think about the demographic that will be viewing the page and what will be the most effective way of communicating your message to them visually.

Check out the competition.

A good way to start with a design direction is to be aware of how competitors market their service to their users visually, whether it’s through print publications or the web so get out and buy some magazines, papers, look at junk mail you receive and check out their websites. Once you have this information you’ll have a clearer idea on whether you want to follow a similar direction or step out and forge your own path.

Don’t underestimate good typography.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with fonts and build up an understanding on how different font faces, weights and colours can add depth to a design and convey a message more effectively.

Until fairly recently, web design has been crippled as far as typography is concerned, with designers only using fonts that are installed on the majority of users PC’s but now with the introduction of CSS3’s @font-face rule and the emergence of web services such as Typekit or Extensis’ WebInk to name but two, there is now greater flexibility on what can be achieved with typography on the web and this is only going to get better with time as more font foundry’s allow their fonts to be licensed for use on the web.

Web designs need not look the same in every browser!

I know it’s painful giving control to the user and this is a bit of techie point but I think it’s important that as a web designer you have a good understanding of how to code and know the limitations of the browsers you’re designing for.

Nowadays people access the web on devices ranging from 27” iMacs, 12” Laptops, smartphones, not so smartphones, Tablet PC’s, 60” TV screens with their PS3 etc. Each of these devices have physical differences and each browser used has limitations as to what it can do with CSS, Javascript support, etc.

Instead of coding to the lowest common denominator (Yes Internet Explorer 6, I mean you), we should design and code to allow for a different experience on each platform. If it’s possible to enjoy a nicer user experience on the device you’re using with the use of JavaScript, and CSS support for transparencies, rounded corners, gradients etc, then why not enjoy them and anyone using a less-capable browser can still access the information and will probably be unaware that there is ‘something missing’.

As a closing note if you can, I’d recommend that you upgrade your browser now to enjoy the best surfing experience:

Chrome Firefox Safari Opera Internet Explorer