Building a website gives designers the ability to be artists, take creative leaps of faith, and make impactful compositions. While web designers do have creative liberty, they must keep the brand and their target audience
At the forefront of their minds. Remember, the users, not the owners judge websites. The success of a website relies solely on how its web design. Luckily, there are a few tried-and-tested principals designers should keep in mind to create a functional and engaging website. Read on for the best web design principles to ensure your sites are aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and effective.
1. Using High-Quality Imagery is Crucial
Sometimes even the most well-written piece of text can’t captivate an audience as an image can. If a picture can speak a thousand words, imagine what a great photo can do for your website design. Imagery is used for multiple purposes in web design, like telling a story, product demonstration, evoking a specific emotion, to brand positioning and connecting with your target audience. No matter what you’re using the images for, high-quality professional photos are the way to go. Make sure they fit in with the overall aesthetic of your site and note that all images are not made equal. Find high-resolution pictures with a clear objective to lift the look of your website.
2. Don’t Ignore the Little Things
The devil is in the details. Too often, web designers overlook the small details, like footer icons, text spacing, and the flow of the visual elements of the site. Yes, the big picture is more important, but focusing on these minor details will make your website stand out from the crowd. Adding a sleek footer with buttons and social media icons at the bottom of your web page will help keep visitors on the page longer and encourage better brand engagement.
3. Make Your Site Easy-to-Use
While it may seem like a given, you have to make sure your site is user-friendly. After all, if users can’t navigate your site quickly and easily, they’ll leave and go to a competitor’s site. While web designers may want to pull out all the bells and whistles, sometimes keeping it simple is your best bet. Users on average will make their impression of your site within seconds before deciding to stay on the page or leave, so keep usability at the top of your priorities list.
4. Create a Mobile-Friendly Version of Your Site
Bear in mind that smartphones and tablets are the ‘new norm.’ Not only are they not going anywhere, but they’re quickly becoming the most popular way users consume content. In 2019, it’s more critical than ever that web developers are providing an optimized mobile experience, and put as much attention to detail in their mobile designs as they do their desktop ones. This may mean using a different layout, but don’t skip this step. No one wants to scroll through your website on their phone and have images cut off and buttons that are impossible to press on a touchscreen.
5. Choose Your Color Palette Wisely
The perfect color combination will help attract more users and create the overall tone and mood of your web design. Colors can drastically affect our emotions, attitudes, and feelings, so choosing the right color palette for your site is a must. For example, blues create a more calm atmosphere, dark brows create a rustic feel, and pastels are light and playful. Be sure the colors you pick for your page blend well together; you may even want to check back to the color wheel to know which colors are complementary.
Pro Tip: Try sticking to 3 or 4 colors for the whole website to avoid any visual clutter.
6. Use the “F” Pattern
People scan web pages and phone screens in various patterns. Eye-tracking research has shown the “F” pattern is one of the most common eye-scanning models. The design helps web designers establish a visual hierarchy, and make it easier for users to focus on specific elements. Many of us will read the content along the top of the page first, like a headline or title, then we scan down the left side of the page. If there are any numbers, bullet points, or sidebars, we will notice those next. After, we scan across the page, and our eyes will catch any bolder text or subheadings. This creates the “F” pattern, which mimics our eye’s natural path.
7. Always Remember Hicks’s Law
Hick’s Law says that the time it takes for a person to make a decision will increase with every additional choice they are given. Think about it like you’re at a restaurant, menus with too many options makes it hard for you to decide on what to eat for dinner. The same goes for web design. Don’t bombard users with too many options. To make a better web design, eliminate the distracting options throughout the design process, like too many buttons or unorganized menu options.
Final Thoughts: Using these “lucky 7” design principles will give you the tools to design a great website. Apply the relevant aspects of these laws to your layouts, images, and content. A good website is not only pleasing to the eye but user-friendly. It should be designed for the target user and the best interest of the business in mind. With a strong foundation, you can take risks and get more creative with your designs. Use the principles as your base, and let your creative juices flow from there!