Good web design is judged by users of the website and not by the owners. There are many factors that impact the usability of a website and it’s not just about how it looks, it is also about how well it functions.
Websites that are not designed properly tend to perform poorly and experience sub-optimal Google Analytics metrics. This means they have high bounce-rates, low page visits and low conversion.
Basic Principles Of Effective Web Design
So what is good website design? Here are some of the principles that make a website aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, functional and engaging.
Good web design caters to the need of the user. Are your guests looking for information, entertainment, interaction, or to transact business? Each of your web pages needs to have a clear purpose and to fulfill a specific need of your visitor in the most effective way possible.
Users of a website tend to want information quickly. They want to know what your website is all about and you need to be able to communicate this early from the get go.
Your information needs to be easy to read and digest. Some good practices include using a headline and sub-headline to make it easier for users to skim through relevant content and bullet points to help cut through the waffle.
Fonts like Sans Serif, Arial and Verdana are easier to read online. A good font size for easy online reading is 6px and stick to a maximum of 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes to keep your design streamlined.
A well conceptualized colour pallet can go a long way. Complementing colours can create balance and harmony and contrasting colours makes it reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colours can create emotion and should be used sparingly such as call-to-action buttons. Lastly, white/negative space is an effective way to give your website an uncluttered and modern look.
We all know that a picture can paint a thousand words so the right image can help with brand positioning and connecting with your target audience.
If you don’t have high quality photos, consider buying quality stock photos to make your website look professional. You can also use infographics, video and graphics to effectively communicate your message.
Navigation is about how easy it is for users to take action when in your website. Some strategies include simple page hierarchy, bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons and following the 3-click rule which means users can find what they need within 3 clicks.
Placing content anywhere in your website will give it a haphazard or cluttered look. Instead of a messy look, go for a grid-based layout where you arrange content into sections, columns and boxes that line up in a grid for a neater and balanced look.
According to eye-tracking studies, users read websites using a “F” pattern. This means that what we see is the top and left side of the screen with the right side rarely seen. Rather than force an unnatural flow, web designers need to design websites that work with the reader’s natural behavior and display information in order of importance.
Websites aren’t just viewed on laptops and desktops. They are also viewed in mobile devices. More and more people are accessing websites through their smartphones and tablets. This means that web design has to be responsive so that they can be viewed by mobile devices.