You’ve likely heard of the term ‘web design’. As the name suggests, it deals with designing websites. But there are many different aspects of visual design, technical knowledge and marketing that go into the process of designing a good website.
We’re here to give you a brief overview of the tools and techniques needed to become a successful web designer.
Web Design 101: An Overview
Web design is the process of planning, creating, and arranging the content for websites. The concept of modern web design has come a long way. Now, web design goes beyond aesthetics and focuses on functionality as well.
Web design is largely focused on the user experience aspect of a website. However, contrary to what the name suggests, web design isn’t only about websites. It also includes other platforms such as mobile apps, web apps, and user-interface designs.
Just like any other forms of design, web design utilizes many common, key visual elements, such as:
1) Layout – This is the way that text, graphics, and advertisements are arranged to help the user find the information at first glance.
2) Color – The color choice depends on clients and the purpose of the website. While public domains and government websites may opt for subtle, neutral color schemes; social media platforms and entertainment brands might prefer a multi-colored design.
3) Graphics – These include logos, photos, clipart, and icons. It is important that the pictures and graphics you choose are of good quality and reflect the personality of the company.
4) Fonts – Although there are thousands of different fonts available to choose from, only a handful are optimal for websites. Sans-serif fonts are widely accepted, as they are easier to read and lend a more contemporary look to the design.
5) Content – Content and design work together to accentuate a company’s message through text and visuals. The content should incorporate relevant keywords to be optimized for search engines.
By attracting more customers, optimizing content for search engines, and avoiding technical glitches, users will ultimately have a positive user experience. This is important so that users consistently return to the website and potentially convert into customers.
Now that we’ve discussed key elements of web design, let’s take you through the best practices of web designing and why they are vital to a great website.
Web Design Best Practices
1) Identify and Focus on the Target Audience
This is the first and the most fundamental step to follow at the start of your web design career. Unless you know what kind of customer base or clientele you’re catering to, you could end up building a website that’s aesthetically beautiful, but doesn’t convert.
A great website is much more than just a state-of-the-art webpage. It’s actually a platform used to connect with a target audience. One mistake that web designers commit frequently, is forgetting about the target audience by the end of the design phase. The key to a successful website is to keep your audience as your first priority throughout the entire process.
2) Maintain Consistent Branding
Branding consists of a wide variety of digital features such as photographs, videos, graphics, logos and anything else that can be used to promote a company, service or logo. An important practice in B2B and B2C web design is to have consistent branding throughout the entire website. Make sure that only predetermined brand logos, colors, and taglines are used on every page of the site.
It’s essential to keep your brand image in mind when you start planning your website. Every feature or element you use on your website should reiterate your brand philosophy. Your web design should aim to reinforce your brand image in the users’ minds.
3) Make Navigation Simple
Almost everyone is short on time these days. That’s why people are choosing to move from in-store to online shopping. The visitors on your website should be able to find the information they’re looking for easily. If they don’t get the desired details quickly, they’re unlikely to convert into customers and will go elsewhere.
Competition is fierce online. Users have no obligation to go through a complex navigation and make sense of a poor web design. All they have to do is leave your site and find the product they’re looking for somewhere else. Sticking with a standard format will help build credibility for your brand, and retain website visitors.
For instance, 88% of websites position their navigation menu at the top of each page, horizontally. If your navigation menu is elsewhere, the users may get confused and lost - a sure sign of sub-par web design practices.
4) Build a Responsive Design
If you have a website, it has to work on multiple devices. Smartphone browsing has already become the new normal, so your web design needs to be responsive to all the most popular phone and tablet models. In fact, Alexa rankings suggest that 80% of the top websites are optimized for mobile devices. More than 50% of websites worldwide are accessed through mobile phones. And according to industry statistics, mobile internet traffic has officially overtaken desktop users.
One thing is clear now—this trend is only going to rise and become more crucial for web designers.
Responsive designs ensure that your website is adjustable to different browsers and screen sizes across various devices. The goal of a responsive design is to provide the same great browsing experience that you would receive on a website, but on all types of devices.
5) Show Rather Than Tell
Instead of taking up too much space explaining your product, simply show it to the users through clever web design tactics. Visual elements help provide a deeper explanation of the written content, which makes your product easier to understand. Incorporating eye-catching visuals into your web design will keep your ideal customer interested.
One of the most effective ways to enhance the visual experience of your site is by adding relevant images and graphics to your written content. Of course, the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t just a figure of speech!
6) Integrate Your Social Media Links
Social media is perhaps the greatest marketing tool in today’s digital age. By adding social media buttons to your website, you can easily grow your number of potential customers. Also called ‘Social Buttons’, these links are easy to incorporate into your website design. They can be placed virtually anywhere on the site.
By incorporating these buttons, you can encourage users to visit and connect with you on various social media platforms. This allows your ideal clientele to follow your social profiles for any updates, which increases the chances that they’ll return to your site. This is one example of how smart web design can help bring in and retain new customers.
7) Include an Impactful CTA
The most important objective of a website is to attract a target audience and ultimately convert them into customers. Before that can happen, sometimes the first step is to get your potential customers to perform an action. This action can be setting up a consultation, subscribing to a service, or even downloading an app.
To do this, it’s important to have a Call-to-Action or CTA button in your web design. A Call-to-Action or CTA button needs to be big and bold. These buttons should clearly stand out and grab the attention of your online audience. Your call to action is what directs visitors to perform the desired action, and it’s a vital feature of any website design.
“SIGN UP FREE!”, “LEARN MORE”, and “CONTACT US” are some examples of strong CTAs. By incorporating a relevant CTA on every page of your website, you can direct potential customers to sign up for a free trial or encourage them to contact your business.
How to Pursue a Web Design Career
By following these tips and suggestions, you can reinvent your website and revitalize your business. Web design is an indispensable factor in determining the success and failure of your online business. Following these practices will ensure that your website stands out from the crowd.
If you’d like to learn more about web design, explore the topics covered in our online UX design bootcamp. You can also schedule a call with one of our in-house experts who are ready to answer any questions that you may have.