Web design is about making a pretty, useful site that fulfills its purpose. It’s also about considering how people will actuallyuse the website you’re building. It considers the widest variety of visitors and how they will engage, use and consider your new website.
The ten essential principles of web design can be summed up in these adjectives:
Any website we design has to be all things to all users. That means making it compliant, and compatible with older browsers. Not everyone has 1080p widescreen computer screens, or runs the latest Chrome or Safari browser. We have to make sure your website works across the board.
Every user is different, so building inherent flexibility into a website is a useful tool. That can include multiple navigation, many paths to purchase, mobile compatibility and a range of other features.
Good web design is about taking the thinking out of surfing. Any website we build has to be intuitive to use. It needs to be clear where things are, where we want the user to go and how to achieve the desired outcome.
Simple works with intuitive to provide a clear path to what the visitor is seeking. Information and navigation has to be clear and unambiguous. The fewer steps between the user and the purchase, the better.
Good web copy will give the visitor everything they need to make an informed decision. Being honest in the descriptions, update them with social media and begin a dialog that lasts throughout their time with you.
One of the most useful things in web design is having the site do stuff. The trouble is, that’s where most of the problems occur. Any forms, actions or applications within a site have to work first time, all the time.
Not all internet users are geeks. A good site design will be kind to people who make mistakes, who navigate to pages that don’t exist or miss vital information off web forms. A gentle guide back to the site is essential.
Visitors patience is short, so it must be effortless to find what you’re looking for and buy it. Whatever goes on behind the scenes, a good website makes everything seem easy.
Using space wisely is a crucial part of website design. Put too little content on a page and a visitor might think something is missing. Put too much on there and they will quickly get flustered.
Once a visitor has a handle on how a website works, they will expect it to be the same throughout the site. Consistency means having the same navigation, the same style and the same feel throughout.
A lot of website design is the look and feel of a site, but there is more to that than just making it look beautiful. These ten essential principles are the guiding path through the maze that is web design. They work for us as designers and for you as website users.