The fundamentals of web design


The fundamentals of web design

The success of your website will depend upon many things but a large extent can be attributed to its design. Although visual design is a great contributing factor to its effectiveness, other factors like website utility and usability are also a large influence on your success.

Think of your website as a product endorser or spokesperson. It is the very first thing that your customers will notice when they first encounter your business. They say that ‘first impression lasts’ and this is also true with web design.

You have to live up to the impression and expectations of your customers or else, they won’t hesitate to walk away. It is therefore essential to design your website with adequate understanding and caution.

You may feel like your website needs a refresh, or perhaps you don’t have one yet and you’re looking to create one – whatever your reason, there are some fundamental things you need to know about web design before creating your website.

Choosing your CMS

CMS stands for Content Management System and it refers to whatever software you’ve built your website on. A popular choice is WordPress because it’s easy to use, free and offers a range of simple templates and plugins. Other options include WIX, Shopify and Squarespace. It’s up to you what you choose, but WordPress is generally thought of as a good platform for both beginners and the more experienced.

Finding the purpose

One of the most crucial things about designing a website is knowing what you want to do with it. Will it be an e-commerce site or an informative site? Knowing the purpose of your website will help with the design plans, as you’ll know what key features to include and how to communicate to your target audience.

Simplicity is the best policy

Although over-the-top designs may work with some websites, the simple ones are actually adequate to achieve your goals. For instance, if you place too many elements on a single web page, your visitors might be distracted from what you intentionally want them to focus on.

Simplicity is not overwhelming and that is why it is effective. Websites with clean and fresh designs are very appealing to the eyes and easier to navigate with. If you include design features that are unnecessary, it may affect the website loading time and we all know that longer loading times are very frustrating.

Always remember to keep it simple so that your visitors can easily find what they want.

Consistency is also the key

As we have mentioned earlier, placing too many elements on a single page is distracting. Same is true with design elements. If you are going for a certain motif, style or design, apply that to all your web pages.

It is best to collaborate with your team to pick the right elements for your website; the right font, font sizes, font colours, button styles, button colours, background colour and more. As soon as you and your team have decided which ones are the best, stick with it and apply it throughout your website. Using Cascading Style Sheets or CSS can help you with this.

Style over substance?

The most important thing about a website is that it works well, loads fast and is easy to use. There’s no point in having fancy fonts if they’re difficult to read, and using too many images or unsightly combinations of colours can have the user clicking away from the page. On the other hand, a dull and plain website will do little to engage the user, so it’s important to have the best of both worlds.

Legible typefaces

Good design is good but it can be rendered useless if your typography is not readable. Text is the principal way to get your message across your customers. It is also the data that search engine crawlers will utilise in their SEO tasks.

Just like your web design, it should be visually appealing and legible. Combine it with the proper use of appropriate and relevant keywords, meta-data and other elements that affect SEO ranking, then you’ve got yourself a very effective website.

Take into careful consideration fonts that are very easy to read such as Arial, Times New Roman, Times, Courier New, Courier, Verdana, Georgia, Palatino, Garamond, Bookman, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, Arial Black or Impact. There are other beautiful fonts you can choose from.

Pick the right colour combination and appropriate images

A simple and effective colour combination is easy on the eyes while poorly combined ones can be displeasing and distracting. To keep your visitors from walking away, choose a colour palette with an attractive colour combination that goes with the branding of your business. This will certainly leave a good impression.

Enhance their website experience by picking the right complementary colours to balance the overall look and feel of your design. Utilise your white spaces properly and avoid visual clutter. Don’t use more than 4 colours so that your web design will look cohesive.

For your website imagery, too vibrant images might distract your audience (unless your web design is very minimalistic). If you prefer a colourful web design, then choose images with a filter that complements your web design.

Being device and user friendly

Your website should be easily accessed through desktop, tablet and smartphone devices, and should adjust to properly fit each of these platforms. You may sometimes come across websites that don’t look great on your phone or some may just show the desktop version, which can be annoying to navigate! Most CMSs include features that allow you to optimise your website for smartphones and tablets, which is handy and necessary since most users are tapping onto websites from their phones these days!

We’ve talked about frustrating loading times earlier and nobody wants that. Address this issue by compressing your CSS, HTML and CSS to increase to loading speed, combining your codes into a JavaScript or CSS file and optimising your image sizes.

Choose a page hierarchy that is logical for easy website navigation. Make it a point that your visitors can get whatever they want in 3 clicks or less.

If you need help getting your new website up and running, contact our web design experts at Focus Web Studio complete our contact form. We would be more than happy to help!

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