The definitions of web design revolve around concepts like organizing, projecting, and explaining website content. Web design nowadays doesn’t focus so much on the aesthetics of websites but rather aims to make them user-friendly. Functionality is an important aspect of good web design.
Another key issue to remember is that web design doesn’t just focus on websites, as it’s also used for making functional apps and user-friendly interfaces.
But let’s see how website design works step by step.
The Key Elements in Web Design
These elements should encompass the two principles of best website design: style and functionality. Each element analyzed below should look good and work on its own, but it should also make a good team with the other elements. Their integration means that your website’s performance will be optimized, no matter how you measure these results.
Web designers need to take search engine optimization in account from the start. Website design is an essential factor for ranking high on Google or other search engines.
How Things Look
Visual elements can make or break website designs, so here they are below:
The copy you write for your website influences how that website will look. It’s counterproductive to have the website designers devise the website first and to have the copywriters produce content afterward or vice-versa. Instead have the teams of designers and copywriters work together to create a more persuasive web site design.
A good web page design uses legible fonts that look good on that page, without stealing the content’s limelight. You can play with font choices on your own, or you can use online tools that help you select the most suitable typefaces for your website.
Many web design companies use Canva’s Font Combinator. Other website designers use PageCloud because the app offers you a wide array of font pairings.
It’s a no-brainer that colors are core to website design. But don’t choose a color palette you like; choose one that resonates with your audience. That’s why you should study color psychology before making your choice. Each color conveys a different meaning and instills different feelings, so choose a color that represents your brand’s identity.
Red signifies energy, power, and courage, so you can use it for brands that want to express strength, vitality or youth, like Coca-Cola. Blue stands for loyalty and stability, so most brands which use this color want to inspire trust. Many banks or insurance companies choose blue backgrounds on their website and different shades of blue in their logos.
Don’t use a happy yellow if you’re building a website for a funeral home, and don’t use black if you’re working for a toy store.
Arranging the website’s content is on par with producing persuasive content. That’s why the layout affects both the aesthetics of your website and its functionality. A user-friendly layout is based on certain principles such as arranging the elements based on your goals and helping the user make the right choice by limiting the number of calls to action.
The right shapes and colors complement each other so that you can reach your goals easier. Shapes can easily attract people’s attention and direct them to key elements on your website, so take into account eye-tracking principles. The main challenge a website designer faces is to write the code for the shapes. If you aren’t experienced in web page design and code writing, it can be more difficult to adjust the shapes.
A good way to make use of geometry on the homepage is to place a big image of a key product on the right. The left side should be reserved for essential info like your brand’s name, the slogan and one or two buttons with a clear call to action. These buttons might be “Learn more” and “Shop now”, which address both new, potential customers and already loyal customers.
Also known as white space, this is the dark matter of best website designs. Much like the universe is held together by dark matter, negative space is what connects all the elements on your web page. So instead of cramming tons of information together, include just a few key elements with plenty of space between them. Experienced website designers know that too much info in one place confuses users and scares them away.
You can split your main homepage into three equal parts, leaving the first and the third parts of the background empty. Concentrate all the info in the middle part, but make sure you add just four to five elements, one of which should be an image and one a call to action button.
Images and Icons
An image is worth a thousand words, which is why you should use persuasive images for your website, that can convey your message instantly. Personalized images are best because they showcase your brand’s identity, but you can search for stock images too. A reliable web design company will use premium websites like Shutterstock Getty. Other good websites for stock images and icons are IconMonstr, Pexels, and Unsplash.
Today’s best web design includes videos because they’re convincing and help put visitors in the right state of mind. However, videos shouldn’t eclipse the content and distract the users from the key elements on your website.
Make sure the videos don’t start playing automatically when people open your website. Some users are browsing at work or when they’re putting their children down. Other users are simply scared by the sudden noise or lose their train of thought trying to locate the video.
How Things Work
Aesthetics is nothing without functionality, so take the following best website design principles into account:
It’s important that users can find their way quickly around your website. Functional navigation allows first-timers to find your best offers and the info they need easily. It also enables returning visitors to get to their preferred sections fast.
Make sure all your sections are visible and don’t confuse visitors. It’s important for the buying section to be easy to reach, and you should use directions on every page to help visitors find what they’re looking for. Each webpage should have a call to action because your job is to direct visitors through the funnel and ultimately convert them.
Fast Loading Speed
Everyone loathes websites who take forever to load. If your website is slow, nobody will care how beautiful your website design is because nobody will get to see it. One choice is to compress your content to make sure your website loads faster. However, take into account your company’s goals before you choose the right tool.
There’s an animation technique for each of your purposes, so make sure you have your goals very clear in mind before opting for a certain animation. You can use animations to attract interest or to require a certain action.
Many of today’s website designers steer clear of using pop-ups because they seem so spammy. However, it’s safe to use them as long as you don’t distract the users or overwhelm them with information they don’t need. Let’s say someone is reading one of your longer articles. It’s a good idea to place a pop-up which appears after they’ve read 70% of your text asking them to subscribe to your email list for free additional info, like an infographic or a video interview.
You can start with simple animations like buttons. If you need complex animations, a quick search for web design Australia will help you get some professional assistance.
It’s important to consider how users interact with your website – whether they’re clicking various titles, scrolling through content or typing various queries. Make sure your website design allows the users to do these actions easily – never auto-play distracting audio or underline text they can’t click on. You should also avoid pop-ups and make sure your forms are mobile-friendly.
It’s important to structure your website for good navigation but also search engine optimization. You can use a sitemap builder tool, with plenty of free tools. If your website is small, you can also sketch the web page design for each page on a separate piece of paper and see how these connect.
A functional website is one that looks well and works well regardless of the browsers or devices your visitors use. There are various online tools for cross-browser testing. Otherwise, website building platforms take care of this issue themselves.
The Types of Website Design
Any web designer should be familiar with various types of website design. But the mobile-first world in which we live in has reduced them to two important ones: adaptive and responsive. Besides, there are so many platforms with incorporated design tools, that most website designers don’t need to know all the intricacies of code writing.
This style has your website design adapt to different screen sizes because you will have created various versions of your website. This means you will create different versions for mobile devices or various browsers.
These designs are faster-loading, and you can easily build them without mastering code-writing, but they do have certain limitations.
When people get on a website, the HTTP request knows which device they’re using and therefore which version to display. The disadvantage is that a shrunken desktop browser window can’t adapt, so people will still see the full version instead of a smaller one. You can also choose to adapt your website for different width versions instead of adapting it for different devices. This makes your design more flexible and more responsive, especially if you want to change your browser size on a desktop.
Even cheap websites can make use of responsive web design. These types of websites are based on flexible grids that have different breakpoints, which gives them a custom look on different screen sizes. Instead of adapting only when hitting a breakpoint, these websites can change constantly depending on the size of users’ screens.
The advantages encompass a user-friendly experience, plus a difficult-to-break website design on most website builders. You also have plenty of templates available to help you. On the other hand, a responsive template needs code-writing skills and various testing.
Keep in mind that certain adaptive websites can include responsive elements like image galleries, although other the bulk part of your website is adaptive.
How to Build Your Website
Now that you’ve seen how your website design should look, let’s see how you can build it. First, you need to find a good desktop app. Your choice depends on various factors, including the size of your team, the type of website you’re planning, your skills, the website’s technical needs and, obviously, your budget.
You can use various apps to design your website, but most website designers prefer Photoshop or Sketch because they’re so user-friendly. You will start by building your design, which you will send to the development team to transform it into code.
Using a desktop app is the best choice if you work for a complex website, a large one or one that you’re planning to grow. Desktop apps help you focus on the aesthetics and user-friendly vibes instead of dealing with all the technical issues.
The downside to desktop apps is that you need a lot of time and a bigger budget. You also need a particular set of skills and various types of resources, starting with the know-how. This usually means hiring a developer to improve your web page designs. If you want to avoid hiring a website designer, consider using a website builder.
Where to Get Inspired
Website designers can’t produce stunning websites unless they have a muse to get their creative juices flowing. The best websites to browse for easy-to-navigate, user-friendly, and aesthetically-pleasing designs are Awwwards, Behance, Pinterest, and Site Inspire.
However, most of these designs are either already implemented or mockups. It’s better not to copy them. Even if you try to recreate these designs, you need strong coding skills to recreate the more complex effects.
Want to find out more about affordable web design, schedule a consultation with our Sydney website design team.