Good web design is not only about the look of your site – there are fundamental elements that make it convincing, useful and pleasing to users. Anyone who wants to understand how web design works must look beyond the visual appearance of their site.
The thing is: there is no written rule for web design, and because many web designers are self-taught, design has become very subjective. Designs you encounter are simply decisions made by designers, and they carry a measure of subjectivity. The difference lies within us because we are influenced by our feelings, tastes, and opinions which we use in creating or judging a design. As one study suggests, it takes just 50 milliseconds for people to judge a website before they decide to explore further — or leave.
So how do designers create a website that will encourage users to stay? And what qualities make a well-designed website? In this post, I’ll explore some of the commonly shared principles and approaches in web design.
When designing a website, designers have to take account the purpose of the entire site. Is it purely transactional? Informational? What is the owner’s goal? Designing a website without the purpose in mind can lead to a confusing structure. It can also fail to convey the message the brand wants to.
For example, creating a content site with the purpose of publishing informational content requires a good navigation system and functional site search. While e-commerce and transactional websites should add useful features like shopping carts and slide show capabilities.
Good brand impression is important in the professional world. “Design has a chance to bring attitude, identity, and personality to what is essentially nothing but a logo and rambling marketing babble” says Kyle Meyer, a professional product designer. You don’t just have to paint a pretty picture, you have to create a vision that is worth everyone’s time.
It goes without saying that a web design can only be as good as the brand it represents. Creating a website that’s distinctive, authoritative, and something worth believing in can make people feel proud to be part of. Good design pays off, it is crucial for your band, and the target consumers you are attracting.
Creativity is Not About Following New Trends
When finding inspiration for design, Meyer frowns upon looking at galleries of designed websites or website building programs and software systems — as they all look very similar to each other. He believes that every designer should develop a style of his own. That’s the only way websites can feel original and authentic to consumers.
Trends are simply distractions. They move us away from the real value of web design. Keeping up with trends might feel like you’re moving forward with the industry, but once you look at it from a practical point of view it’s just a waste of time.
The problem with most people these days is that they think web design is only to make things pretty. Although yes, a good designer has to have an understanding of aesthetics, it doesn’t mean that his design should only focus on appearance. When redesigning your website, you have to focus on the qualities that should help your business communicate with consumers.
Big background images, super gradients, ghost buttons… these trends don’t really offer something useful, do they?
Credible and High-Quality Content
The top websites today are those that provide users with high quality and useful content. These websites don’t necessarily have cool-looking homepages, but they have outstanding content that separates them from other websites. These sites have content that communicates the company’s brand position and goals effectively. They are trusted and recommended by users because of the valuable information they share.
Since the web is different from print, websites should adjust their writing to suit user’s browsing habits and preferences. Thus, the web is no place for overtly promotional writing or exaggerated prose. There’s also an unwritten rule to keep paragraph shorts and include relevant images and keywords to make the content light and readable.
Here are more tips for a high quality and effective writing for the web:
- Use crystal-clear writing and get to the point as quickly a possible.
- Categorize content by using bullet lists, headings, and breaks for balance
- Avoid sounding too salesy, instead be informative and state credible facts.
According to a study on web reading, 47% of users prefer websites that have clear and intuitive layout. If your reader can’t properly skim through your website and identify main points, even if your content is good, they are likely to close the tab and leave.
Good design should help visitors navigate easily around your site. It has to take users right where they want to go. Have you ever visited a site where you had trouble finding the search bar or the company’s about page? That’s bad design and it’s frustrating for readers. The following are tips to make an efficient design.
- Build a Responsive Site. Build a design that allows your site to fit on screen. And make sure that every button is clickable.
- Make it Simple. Don’t overcrowd and fit too many elements in every page. Create harmony and balance with the colors.
- Create an Easy To Navigate Website. Optimize the navigation system so that users can get the information they want easily. This involves planning the most intuitive layout while working with the goals of the website.
Web design should not only focus on the visual aspect of your site. It has to create a layout that will solve reader communication problems. If a website fails to get conversion or traffic, it means that its web design has also failed.
- Typefaces: When choosing fonts its generally known that Verdana and Arial are the most preferred as they are easy to read online. Font size is also ideally 16px with a maximum of 3 typefaces in 3 point sizes.
- Colours: The color palette you choose is important in making your overall design work. It can create emotion and harmony which is important for aesthetics. For example, complementary colors bring balance, while contrasting colors for background and text make reading easy.
- Images: Low pixelated pictures and clip arts can damage the quality of your site. When choosing images, make sure that you’re picking high-quality professional photos. Relevant media in the form of images, infographics or video can improve your web design and quality of your site.
The more we learn how design principles work, the more we understand why they must exist. The internet can be a very judgmental place, and building trust with consumers is extremely important. By strengthening your web design, you can improve your site so it can be helpful and pleasing to users. If a website is designed properly, customers will have higher chances of returning and doing business with your company.