Good web design is not only about how aesthetically pleasing a website looks but also about how well it functions.
Keep in mind that it’s the user of your website that decides how good a website is. This is why it’s important to have a user-centric approach to web design. So, if you’re in the process of designing a new site, or redesigning your existing one, you should do your best to make it as intuitive and user friendly as possible.
Here are 10 principles of good web design that you should know of and follow when designing a website.
1. Have a Plan
Before you start designing your website, it’s important to ensure that your website will effectively meet the needs of your visitors. Start by mapping out a complete user journey from the time a user lands on your website to the moment they convert.
What will they see when they first visit your website? What do you want them to read? Which part of your site will they visit next? What will make them convert?
You want to design your website with the user’s next step in mind.
2. Value Proposition
All the best web designers understand that good web design always caters to the user’s needs. Are your visitors looking for information, products to buy or some sort of interaction with your business?
Remember that when a user visits your website you get just 5 seconds to clearly communicate the value your website brings to them. So, if your website is unable to answer a user’s needs immediately, they are simply going to exit your site.
So, make sure that each page of your website is designed with a clear purpose and that it fulfils the user’s specific need in the most effective way possible.
Make use of compelling copy that engages your readers and gives them a reason to stay.
3. Build Trust
Building trust is critical for the success of a website, especially if you sell products and services online. Remember, users will only shop with brands that they trust.
So, how do you design a website that inspires trust?
Well that depends on multiple factors, including your website’s overall look and feel, providing security assurance to your user’s, brand recognition, featuring positive customer reviews and displaying your contact details clearly.
These features can make the difference between someone abandoning your website and making a purchase.
There’s no reason for a user to stick around if your website isn’t easy to read. As a general rule, avoid the use of decorative fonts and stick to the ideal font size of 16px for body text. You don’t want your audience to squint and struggle to read what you have to say.
5. Matter Of Color
Pay attention to how you use color in your web design. An obvious tip is to use contrasting colors for your websites text and background. For example, black text on a white background is much easier to read than white text on a light background.
If your brand colors include a vibrant color, you may want to just use it for buttons or calls-to-actions on your website. This will help draw the user’s attention to what you want them to see.
6. Choose The Right Images
A website without images is boring but that doesn’t mean you load your website with a bunch of stock images.
The images you choose should fit with the message you’re trying to convey to your audience and reflect well with your brand and who you are.
If you don’t have high quality professional photos on hand, consider purchasing stock photos to lift the look of your website. Also consider using infographics, videos and graphics as these can be much more effective at communicating than even the most well written piece of text.
7. Use Intuitive Navigation
Site navigation is the key to good web design and plays a huge role in determining how long visitors stay and explore your site.
Include an easy to use navigation system that lets users know where they are, and where you want them to go next. Some strategies for implementing effective navigation include:
- Have a logical page hierarchy.
- Use bread crumbs to help users know where they are on your website.
- Use descriptive navigation labels.
- Make sure your site navigation is mobile responsive.
- Limit your navigation items to 7.
The goal is to make your website easy to navigate while providing a clear pathway to purchase or whatever your objective may be.
8. Add Clear Call-To-Actions
Including Call-To-Actions (CTA) on every page is important, and should be displayed in a manner that makes them stand out from the rest of the content. However, avoid being too pushy and instead use them to guide your readers to the next logical step, such as ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Download Now’.
9. Don’t Be Afraid Of White Space
White space helps enhance the overall feel of your site by giving it a modern and uncluttered look. It is also very effective at keeping your website’s visitors focus on your content.
10. Mobile Responsive
With users accessing the internet on desktops, tablets and mobile devices, it is important that you keep mobile responsiveness in mind when designing your website. So, you can ensure all your visitors see a visually appealing and professional site no matter which device they use.
If you keep these principles in mind, you will be able to design a great website that is both functional and user-friendly. Remember that the best websites are not just visually appealing but also effective in driving conversions online. So make sure you give your website the time and attention it needs to make it as effective as possible.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m Christina Michael, an independent graphic & web designer based in Mumbai, India. I’ve been building websites and businesses since 2007 while working virtually with clients from around the world. I specialize in branding, print design and web design.