Design Trends for Exceptional Baking Websites

As with any industry, company, product, or service, the web presence has the ability to make or break the brand. For food companies or independent bloggers, there are key features that will quickly attract or deter readers when searching for recipes. To the common eye, website design is relatively simple: images, colors, heading, labels, links, and content – however strong web design is far more complex, especially when adding the additional complexity of being a resource for recipes. The intricate details that go into creating strong, usable websites are time-consuming, intentional, and strategic.

For someone who does not treat baking (or cooking for that matter) as an art form or multifaceted journey, deception is easy to come by. However, for the advanced, searching for recipes can be a joy or despair depending on the overall quality and professionalism of the websites.

As a baker myself, I have spent countless hours navigating through the world-wide-web searching for not only blogs and websites with good recipes, but also websites that create an experience that further inspires me to prepare the recipes they are providing. Thus, as an experienced baker, website user, and web designer, I asked myself what the most useful website design elements or trends I would consider ( for exceptional baking websites) as being the cream of the crop, the elite, the websites to tab and add to favorites. The following website design elements do just that.

The list could be endless, but I have narrowed down the best website elements by three categories: visual appeal, usability, and quality of content.

web site #1 Summary

  • Usability 
  • Layout 
  • Visual Appeal
  •  Image Composition
  • Quality of Content

Visual Appeal

When first landing on a website, you are (and should be) quick to judge – valuing the ability to draw the reader and users in with visual design should be the first concern when building or designing a website. The landing page, home page, whatever-you-want-to-call-it-page is after all the first impression and you can never get a second chance at that. Granted some of the visual appeals will depend on the personal taste, there are some overall elements in all websites with a strong visual appeal:

Color

Depending on the overall tone or aesthetic (earthy, organic, modern, hipster, retro, simplistic, etc.) there should be a definite “vibe” displayed throughout the home page, that remains consistent on all of the pages (note, the term consistency). This color selection will also attract particular audiences, so it must be done strategically – rather than adding random colors that “look good.”

 Strong visual appeal can also be obtained through the use of effective logos and strong, relevant images.

Logo

Logos should be located in a centralized place (research suggest logos located at the upper left corner of a menu are the most effective), be linked to the home page, and resemble the style of the brand.

Images

In terms of images, we all know what a bad image looks like. Images are one of the easiest ways to grab the attention of a user without them even reading the content. Images should be similar in style to the website, assisting with creating an overall color scheme, and enhance the style of the website.

The use of strong images will immediately hook the user – causing them to stay on your page or website longer, which also increases the chance they will utilize the content of the site. As a food site, this becomes an essential task.

One common trend found in the food business is the use of more natural-looking images. Rather than using bold filters, companies are now going by the mantra: the more natural the better. This trend for more organic, natural-looking images extends from websites to social media accounts such as Instagram.

Visual appeal is also determined by the layout of the content, which brings us to the next element of design trend in strong websites: usability.

Web site #2 Overview

Tuuila

  • Usablity 
  • Layout 
  • Visual Appeal
  • Image Composition
  • Quality of Content 

Usability

Usability, or the ease of use, is one of the most important features of a recipe website. Even if you have a target audience, anyone and everyone has access to the website. If it is hard to use for certain users, this will quickly diminish your view on the reputation of the website owner and tarnishes the brand. In terms of usability, strong websites have exceptional navigation and layout.

Navigation

When evaluating the ease of navigation, it is important to look at a few elements: the menu or navigation bar, internal and external links, scrolling, descriptive labels and titles, and content. The strongest recipe websites will also have professional, user-friendly search options and categories. In addition, usability and navigation considerations should extend to the functionality of access through tablets or mobile devices.

Layout

Visit any baking website and you will quickly realize the mass quantities of recipes that need to be organized, structured, and categorized. The most common reason a user will leave a website or blog is due to the fact that the recipes are not organized or easy to search for. Categorizing, organizing, and structuring recipes in a way that creates ease of navigation and easy search criteria is one of the most under-rated aspects of building a website for culinary and pastry sites.

Organizing and designing the content aids in the navigation and is thus a critical component when discussing usability. This extends to the logical order of the menu, and the types of recipes broken down into categories.

Special features: One of the assumed capabilities that websites featuring recipes include is the ability to print out recipes. Standard websites will format the printing option on a standard letter-size paper. However, what really distinguishes an exeptional baking website from a standard one is special features such as the ability to print the recipes off in different sizes (such as a standard 3”x 5” or 5”x 8” index cards for easy filing).

Web site #3 Overview

  • Usability 
  • Layout
  • Visual Appeal 
  • Image Composition
  • Quality of Content

Quality of Content

If the user is not captivated by the designed, deterred by difficult navigation and frustrated with the organization, they may not make it to the point of actually searching and reading the content. However, when all of the elements above are applied, the content is the next step in utilizing the website.

The most obvious yet overly looked trends in strong design elements is providing quality content to the users. This all goes back to design: is the text readable and structured? Positive trends in the design elements of baking websites include recipe ratings and feedback/response areas where users can engage in dialogue with the baker/chef who is creating the content.

The list could go on, but in short, the visual appeal, usability, and quality of content are all design elements that have the potential to distinguish a baking website as elite.

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