10 Important Principles of Web Design
The practice of web design is very similar to the art of painting. The web designer starts with a blank canvass to which skills, expressions, processes and emotions are poured into the latter to achieve certain goals and outcomes. The results can certainly qualify to be works of art. We are living witnesses. Through our eyes, we see beautiful, gorgeous websites proliferate the world wide web. However, the similarities between web design and painting end here.
Beauty isn’t everything when it comes to web designing. There are a lot of details and intricacies to consider in the development of a website. Elements must be in the right place, structures must be well-organised, and certain principles must be followed. A great website is determined by the results it brings to your business. There should be a sense of direction and a sense of purpose.
The principles below may take several web design courses to learn but we collated them in a way that it’s still one good read. To ensure that your website will truly serve its purpose, here are 10 important web design principles to remember:
10 Web Design Principles
Set Clear Goals and Objectives
It’s very easy to create a website. But it’s quite a challenge to create a website with a purpose. You have to clearly define right at the initial planning stage the main reason/s for creating the website. The goals that you set can make or break the bank. Be cautious of that.
This can be done by setting your short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals for your website. In addition, you can make a list of the smallest details that collectively, can achieve your main goal. By doing this, you’ll know off the bat which goals and objectives to prioritise in the website development.
Focus on the User
Keep in mind that the website is not about you. The success of your business revolves around one single entity—the USER. It will be the user who’ll validate if you’ve achieved the goals and objectives you’ve set above. The awesomeness of your web design is correlated to your users’ satisfaction and fulfilment of their own purposes for coming to your website.
From the planning stage to the very end of your website development, place the user at the centre of it all. Use user personas to identify your target audience. Identify their needs, pains, and basically what makes them tick. Understand their behaviours, their levels of comfort, and the journey that they’re in. Place yourself in their shoes.
Ultimately, you should be presenting solutions to their problems. Trigger their emotions for them to open their hearts to you. Gain their trust and confidence. Give them freedom. Give them control.
Send a Clear, Consistent Message
Communication is very important in web design. When a person visits your website, make sure that your message is presented as clearly as possible. Use fonts that can be easily read. Observe the proper use of headlines, bullet points, and strategically placed visuals.
Most importantly, speak your user’s language. Don’t confuse your audience. Use the words and phrases that are familiar to them. This is also the opportunity for you to show your brand to them.
Be clear in thoughtfully and tastefully telling them:
What you have to offer
What you can do better than your competitors
What you want them to do
Aim to get your users’ trust and loyalty towards your brand. Message consistency will lead to your brand’s strong equity. You won’t get that anywhere but from the perceived value brought by your audience.
Organise Content Flow
Great content is characterised by having the ability to engage with your audience instantly. It uses the art of storytelling to present a memorable user experience. It also provides value to the user as well as to you.
To achieve this, organise the flow of content in a way that it will be running as smooth as it should be. Present everything naturally and logically. Just like a great story, set a clear structure around your goals. Set up funnels properly, infuse substance into your content, follow your SEO strategy, and practise a content-first approach.
Every Element Should Have a Purpose
Every element that you include in your website design should have a purpose. Don’t treat them as decorations. Avoid using features that won’t have anything to play in the realisation of your goals and objectives. Remember that you don’t have unlimited space to work on.
Moreover, there are trending web designs that focus on minimalism and the use of “white space”. They look great. Every element used in this type of design has a purpose to serve, they’re easy to optimise in terms of performance, and they’re user-friendly.
Remember that one of your goals is to make your users comfortable throughout their journey. Only include the elements that matter to them.
Design for All Devices
Practising this principle can catapult your website to greater heights. PC-only websites are as extinct as the dinosaurs. More than half of the population browsing the web are on non-PC devices like smartphones and tablets. Always make sure your website’s design is optimised and adapted for different screens.
Responsiveness is the key element to focus when you want a mobile-friendly website. Fluidity and flexibility are characteristics to definitely implement on your design. Allow your user to scroll up or down just by swiping the screen on their device. Make sure images can be expanded. Incorporate automatic shifting and resizing in the design. In short, aim to achieve the best UI/UX possible.
Choose the Right Colour Combinations and Typography
The users’ experience can be augmented by a well-balanced colour palette and carefully thought typography. The visual senses are stimulated by the colors you use. The readability is enhanced by using contrasting colours on the text. Complementary colours, on the other hand, will give balance and harmony to your design.
Just like content, there should be consistency in your design’s colours and typography. Organise your design elements on CSS stylesheets. Pay attention to which colour combinations work well together or otherwise. Choose the typography that matches your brand, the atmosphere you want for your site, and of most importantly, easy to read.
Allow Easy Navigation
Easy navigation is an essential element when it comes to designing websites. This is where you lay down the road for the users’ journey. Your website’s visitors should feel convenience and efficiency while they’re on your page.
Arrange your visual hierarchy in a way that the most important content is accessible in just a few clicks. Site maps are essential tools in navigation. Don’t take them for granted. Use them appropriately. Your users would definitely welcome if they’ll have the freedom to freely explore your site and go where they wish to.
Avoid using multilayered dropdowns, excessive internal links, and over-cluttered menu. Classify your keywords accordingly and strategically create individual pages for them if necessary.
Optimise Loading Speed
Now that you have learned all the principles discussed above by heart, there is one last thing you shouldn’t ignore when designing your website —-the loading speed. All the aforementioned principles are useless if the user opts to leave due to unbearable loading speed. Remember the “three seconds rule”.
These web design principles are extremely important to ensure that your web design is heading in the right direction. As you can see, they involve a lot of aspects like aesthetics, business-savvy, skills, technology, and even the understanding of psychology and emotion.
We hope that this article will serve as a web design inspiration to you and to your business. What do you think of our principles? Do you have other principles to add? Share your thoughts.
If you’re in need of a new website, a web redesign or web development, call us on (02) 9339 4500.
November 1, 2021