• 02/05/2024
  • 10

6 Key Principles of Good Web Design

In web experience design, a designer indulges in creating unique narratives and impactful compositions. In the tech-savvy world, each website is a distinctive experience where designers work with multiple stakeholders for their research and testing. This means finding overlapping aspects in brand values, audience needs, sector specialty highlights, and investor demands. While their research is their guiding light, certain principles of web design help designers navigate the process.

While we do live in the era of experimentation, exploration, and innovation, there are a few design concepts that web designers must keep in mind. They are over-arching themes where designers can still explore and experiment to create functionally engaging websites. Where both users and brand stakeholders can find their needs met. These are the principles of web design that offer an outline for exploration to the designers.

Let’s dive into the web design principles.

6 Key Web Design Principles

1. Easy to read, comprehend, and user-friendly

Imagine a website with no written content. We can’t, right?
Or one where the content is not legible because the font style chosen is not accessible and inclusive in nature.

A good typography in web design lays the fundamental base for a user. It allows users to understand a website. A good type of design is one that offers users ease of functionality and readability.

For instance: Arial, Helvetica, and Times New Roman are some common fonts that are considered to be the most web-design-friendly fonts.

What does this mean? It means these fonts offer coherence to the users across the website. They bring in easy-to-read-through ability and legibility for all age groups across mobile and web adaptations.

2. Understand the F and Z pattern and adapt

Wondering what is an F or a Z pattern and why is it relevant to a web designer?

A Nielsen Norman Group study tracked down how consumers view a website. They tracked the eye movements of the users to come to the F pattern conclusion. Finding out that the majority of the users scanned the information in a F-shaped pattern.

Let’s decode the F-pattern. It means:

a. A consumer first scans the headline at the top of the website
b. Moving down to the left side giving attention to any bullet points, numerics, etc.
c. Eye movements then go across the page to review any sub-headings, and body information.

For web designers, the F-pattern symbolizes the natural path of the users. Empowering designers with knowledge of how the majority of the users will absorb the web information. Giving them the leverage to design what is essential to be seen first.

A Z-pattern is what designers often work with across websites, and has also proven to be successful. ‘z’ itself denotes how the eye will scan a website. It will start from left to right at the top, further going to the centre left of the page, forming a horizontal line. And finally leading users’ eyes to the right bottom of the page.

3. Don’t shy away from negative space

Using negative space helps in building a luxe, positive, and minimalistic web design.

What is a negative space? It is an intentional empty space in design, also known as blank space or white space. That embodies the empty areas between typography or visual elements in a design. This principle has stood the long test of time and is considered a form of art itself, especially in web design practice.

It gives people space to comprehend just enough information while leaving the negative space to create impact. The overly complex website generally tends to overwhelm users, using negative space can draw their attention to the most critical content. For instance: Apple follows the use of negative space.
Their website and ads focus on the product while incorporating a ‘less is more’ approach.

4. Stay consistent

In website design, keeping a consistent design flow is essential for a good user experience. This means more than just fonts and colours platters. Designers must apply a uniform and consistent approach to branding aspects like:

i. Spacing consistency between type design and visual content
ii. Layout design consistency
iii. Use of negative space consistency,
iv. Visual hierarchy consistency etc.

Consistency brings a polished look to your website and boosts brand credibility.

5. Remember to optimize buttons

Buttons are essentially a call to action in web design. They play a critical role in whether a user will continue their journey and navigate further on the website. Designers should work to make button moves evident, loud, and clear. They should not merge with the content on the website, must stand out from the visual content, and be easy to find and click on.

Many design experts state the importance of the creative use of buttons to elevate a brand’s visual engagement. Using reverse psychology on users like- ‘Do not enter’ or ‘Launch, do not press’ makes them want to explore more and build excitement for the user.

6. Prioritize user experience

UX is not just a part of the UX designer’s profile, but also for designers who prioritize users. Especially in web design, a designer must pay close attention to the customer journey. As design profiles become more multi-faceted, a web designer must work to simply make the journey of the user on the website as smooth and as easy as possible. It must be easy for them to navigate through the website and find what they desire.

What is a simple hack for this?

Keep your UX design simple. Research what your audience wants, find the overlapping points in your research that are a must-have, and make the web design functional and engaging. Try building user-journey maps to comprehend better the users and what they feel while navigating through the web design.
Use this information to your advantage.

Also, consider the following points:

a. Design for adaptive use across devices.
b. Use the grid and symmetry format to keep a consistent flow
c. Use the technique of invariance to bring out one aspect amongst a few others.

As a designer, you only get one chance to make a great first impression of the website on the user/ visitor. It is essential to follow a set of guidelines and principles that help you keep the clutter out. Optimizing your site with clear and stand-out buttons for call-to-action and practicing adaptive design will enhance user experience. Don’t forget to preview the website, test it on a focus group of users, and iterate based on feedback.

Interested to learn more?

Explore Strate School of Design’s Interaction Design or Brand Identity Visual Communication design program. Both programmes are etched with global pedagogy and international exchange with Strate Paris and Strate Lyon to enhance students’ cultural and global design skills. Both programmes offer modules and electives for students to hone their web design skills, practice with industry projects, and gain mentorships from international faculty.

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