5 Tips to Design Your Next Website Header

graphic design

The header is the first thing visitors see on your website. And unless they're on a landing page, it's present on every page of your site.

And because it contains your brand name, logo, and navigation options, the header has to make a great first impression. It has to be simple yet beautiful and functional. 

But don't worry, we're here to help you out. Here's the complete guide to design your next website header.

5 tips to design your next website header

1. Highlight the important elements

The header should contain the most important information about your business. That way, users can quickly decide if the website will satisfy their search query.

Your company's name and logo have to be present,  obviously. And depending on the type of business you own and your business goals, you'll have to consider adding a few of these elements:

  • Navigation Links
  • Search Button
  • Call to Action - Shop, Get a Quote, Make a Reservation, Call Us etc. 
  • Contact Information
  • Social Media Icons (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
  • Multi-language toggle (if necessary)
  • Headline

Take note that these elements will vary depending on the type website.

For example, if you run an eCommerce store, your header should include a shopping cart icon. If you own a restaurant, you should have a Menu option available to users. 

2. Make it readable

Although using dramatic fonts may look unique, a lot of users may find those fonts hard to read. Keep it simple and use a popular font family such as Helvetica, Calibri, or Arial.

Just as important as font style is font size. Too small and users will be forced to zoom in or squint at their device. Too large, and it will disrupt their browsing. 

Finally, keep your sentences short and simple. If a user cannot quickly read and scan for the information they're looking for, they're going to leave. 

3. Make it look great

A good-looking header should have a balance of color, navigation items, and space. You don't have to fit every icon, image, and navigation link into the header..

In fact, the simplest and cleanest options are the best-looking headers. Popular headers often include: 

  • A simple, easy to understand main menu
  • Sticky header that "sticks" to the top of the screen even as you scroll
  • Common design features such as layering and color contrast

4. Choose a practical design that's aligns with your company

There are several menu styles that can be incorporated into well-designed headers.

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. Popular on mobile sites, the hamburger menu is easier to access and contains the website’s core pages.

However you choose to design the header, make sure it aligns with your company's personality. 

5. Design it with mobile users in mind

Your header may look beautiful on a desktop device, but how about a mobile device?

With more mobile users than desktop users (and Google's mobile-first indexing), your header needs to be designed with mobile users in mind. 

Again, think simply here. Less is more.

When users scroll down on their phone, they don't want to be distracted by a huge menu taking up half the screen. Design the header so that as users scroll, it shrinks and sticks to the top of their device. That way it still remains functional without distracting users from the content on your website.

And as with every feature of your website, test it out. See which designs & features are working and which ones are not. With enough tests, you'll eventually have the perfect header for your website. 


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

 

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