the fundamentals of effective web design

The Fundamentals of Effective Web Design

Web design is an art and a science; web pages need to look attractive, but be meticulously planned and follow certain fundamental user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) principles.

Your website is a key element in digital marketing, so a good web design that engages potential customers is a must. Whether the page is a location page, landing page or part of your main website, the web design process needs to be followed, and done well to ensure your website creates a positive experience for your customers.

Cater to Your Audience

When website viewers first see your website, they usually don’t read it, they scan.

You need to make sure the tone, language, and visual design is specifically designed to appeal to your target audience. To do this, you need to have a clear idea of who your audience is first, and what they like.

Cater to Mobile Users

The growing numbers of people who use their phones nearly exclusively for shopping and research is staggering. Some estimates indicate that over 92% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. This includes Business to Business websites. While the mobile traffic isn’t in the 90s, it is a significant factor for B2B websites, too, and must be considered for any website. It’s essential to ensure your pages are easily viewable on multiple devices, and consider a responsive layout that makes it easier to navigate on different devices.

Have a Clear Purpose for Your Web Page

If you don’t have a clear vision for your website’s purpose, it’s likely to lack focus and become confusing. Your readers won’t understand it or know what to do, and they will leave.

Determine the purpose of your website before you design it. Whether you want to highlight services, present shopping choices for products, offer information, or have another goal, knowing what you want to do will help you with the information architecture for the site content. It will guide how you organize and structure the site, so people can easily find needed information or complete actions.

Also, you should know what makes your brand stand out, and keeping a focus on that is important. This should be considered when defining the purpose of your website.

Plan Ahead for Site Design

It is ideal to consciously build in interactivity, and guide how users interact with your site. Users like full interactivity and feeling in control. Consider how you want visitors to browse through your website and carefully plan navigation. 

Choosing the right style of navigation will help. For a responsive design, there are different layout options. Fixed layouts don’t change, with set pixel sizes. They are like a printed page, which can make it difficult for a user to view on small screen sizes, and is not very interesting.

Fluid layouts use percentages for sizing, so shrink or grow for screens; however, these can present as too small to read properly on small screens.

Adaptive layouts are better, and leverage grids and set breakpoints, so that at certain sizes, it will shift to a different layout appropriate for that screen size.

Responsive layouts combine fluid and adaptive layouts so displays are excellent at any size.

Quality, Meaningful Content

Be sure to only include quality content that is relevant, useful, and clear, adding value to your customer or reader. Search engine optimization of your content should be naturally embedded into the overall text.

Trustworthiness is Key

A website needs to look professional and trustworthy. Content needs to be reliable and honest. A website that doesn’t look professionally designed can send a message of either an illegitimate business or an amateur effort. Using marketing jargon or excess fluff will put modern customers off.

Visuals In Balance

A visually appealing website attracts attention and keeps viewers engaged, but the visual elements and content need to be well balanced. Images can convey ideas and help explain, but they need to be clear and relevant, or they are just distracting.

A carefully chosen colour scheme that fits the brand identity and company personality is essential, too. White space is important to maintain balance and keep the site from looking cluttered. It also can be used to highlight a key concept or element.

Even font that you select for your website carries personality and suggests certain feelings or impressions. Your font selection can be used effectively to further your brand identity, but care needs to be taken so that different fonts and font sizes overwhelm the overall impression and make a page look clumsy.

Simple and Consistent

Every page should have the same feel, to boost brand identity, and help users feel comfortable in knowing how to navigate. If the layout of information presented varies too much on different pages, and the methods to complete similar actions change on each page, it becomes frustrating for the user to figure it out.

The visual hierarchy (that means, how elements are arranged based on how important they are) should be intuitive in order to make your website more readable. 

Fast and Easy

Don’t underestimate the functionality of pages when going through the process of web design. Usability is critical, because users will navigate away from web sites that aren’t intuitive, are difficult to navigate or don’t function well.

If your existing website has glitches, has a slow load time, or other issues, it’s likely that you are losing customers.

Web Designers Who Have Mastered the Web Design Principles

Web design is a complex balancing act. A good website design will draw viewers in, guide them in a planned route to convert to buying or acting, and make the process so easy, they want to return.

There are several elements that all need to be included in the process to make a website effective. To get a professional, enticing website that works well, it’s well worth having help from a good web designer.

The Story has experience creating award winning web designs; we understand how critical your website is, as a major point of contact with potential customers.

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