We spend so much of our time online surfing the internet that we often take for granted the design of the websites we visit. An attractive and well thought out website can push the needle from bad to good or good to excellent in how clients view a company. If you want to create winning websites, then you need to learn the basic principles of design.
Design Principles 101
One of the most important principles you need to take note of when designing your website is making sure that items follow a proper visual hierarchy. Design the space so that the central element is seen first and is the most visible. Color, position, and layering all make a difference with how our eyes see multiple images and text. If you are selling an object, make sure that you emphasize that item. Your call to action (CTA), which in many cases is the “add to cart” button, should be equally prominent. Follow the general left-to-right eye pattern rule like when reading, use color to your advantage, and keep things from blocking each other.
The Rule of Thirds is a photography principle that can also be used for web design. When arranging your web pages, imagine dividing your page into nine equal parts by running two imaginary horizontal and vertical lines through it. The items that you want to emphasize should fall on these lines.
You might think that good design is all about adding more things – images, colors, and fancy fonts – to make your page interesting. However, adding more doesn’t always make it better; in fact, too many elements can make your website look messy. White space, or negative space, can help you combat this issue. Intentionally leaving spaces blank can sometimes add more to your website as it can lift or emphasize the things you want to be highlighted. For example, spaces in between images, text, and borders can make the website look cleaner and more organized when compared to a website with bold, colorful borders in between images.
Why It Matters
You might think that web design is just for graphic designers and serves only aesthetic purposes, but web design is much more. Good design should be a part of every website, not just because it looks good but because it enhances a user’s experience and encourages them to engage with your site. Users can easily navigate a website that is designed well while a website that is designed poorly will deter users, driving them away before they have a chance to make a purchase.
If you are learning web design, keep these things in mind. It takes a lot of time, practice, and study to design a client-friendly website. As you learn and apply the basics, however, you can hone your skills at developing beautiful yet practical designs for your users.