Learn about the main elements of web design, as well as its structure, functioning, types of website design, how to build your website and where to get inspired in our quick guide.
The definitions of web design revolve around concepts such as organizing, designing and explaining website content. Web design nowadays is not just focused on the aesthetics of websites, but aims to make them easy to use. Functionality is an important aspect of good web design.
Another key point to remember is that web design doesn’t just focus on websites, it’s also used to make functional applications and user-friendly interfaces.
But let’s see how website and interface design works step by step.
The main elements of web design
Elements should encompass two principles: 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. Its integration means that your website’s performance will be optimized no matter how you measure those results.
Web designers need to consider website optimization right from the start. Website design is an essential factor for high ranking on Google or other search engines.
How things look
Visual elements can make or break website designs, here they are:
The content you write for your website influences how it conveys the message. It’s going against development to have designers build the site first and have the writers produce content later or vice versa. Instead, teams of designers and copywriters work together to create a more persuasive website design.
Good design uses human-readable fonts that look good on that page without stealing the spotlight from the content. You can play with font options on your own, or you can use online tools that help you select the most suitable typography for your site.
It’s obvious that colors are critical to website design. But don’t choose a color palette you like; choose one that speaks to 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 identity.
Red means energy, power and courage, so you can use it for brands that want to express strength, vitality or youth, like Coca-Cola. Blue means loyalty and stability, so most brands that use this color want to inspire trust. Many banks or insurance companies choose blue backgrounds on their website and different shades of blue for their logos.
Don’t wear happy yellow if you’re building a website for a funeral home, and don’t wear black if you’re working for a toy store.
Organizing website content is connected with persuasive content production. That’s why the layout affects both your site’s aesthetics and its functionality. An easy-to-use layout is based on certain principles, such as organizing elements based on their goals and helping the user to make the right choice by limiting the number of calls to action.
The right shapes and colors complement each other so you can reach your goals more easily. Forms can easily grab people’s attention and direct them to key elements on your site, so consider eye tracking principles. The main challenge a website designer faces is writing the code for the forms. If you don’t have experience in web 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 large image of a key product on the right. The left side should be reserved for essential information such as your brand name, slogan and one or two buttons with a clear call to action. These buttons might be “Learn More” and “Buy Now” which address new and potential customers and already loyal customers.
Also known as white space, this is the dark matter of the best website designs. Just as the universe is held together by dark matter, negative space is what connects all the elements on your web page. So instead of gathering tons of information, just include a few key elements with lots of space in between. Experienced website designers know that too much information in one place confuses users and frightens them.
You can divide your main page into three equal parts, leaving the first and third back parts empty. Concentrate all the information in the middle part, but be sure to add only four to five elements, one of which should be an image and a call-to-action button.
Images and Icons
A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why you should use persuasive pictures for your website that can get your message across instantly. Custom images are better because they show your brand identity, but you can search for stock images as well. A reliable web design company will use premium sites like Shutter stock.
Today’s best web design includes videos because they are compelling and help put visitors in the right frame of mind. However, videos should not overshadow content and distract users from the key elements of your site.
Make sure videos don’t automatically start playing when people open your site. Some users are browsing at work. Other users are simply startled by the sudden noise or lose their train of thought trying to locate the video.
How things work
Aesthetics is nothing without functionality, so consider the following website design principles:
Easy to use interface
It is important that users can quickly find their way around your site. Functional navigation allows beginners to find their best deals and the information they need easily. It also allows returning visitors to quickly enter their favorite sections.
Make sure all your sections are visible and don’t confuse your visitors. It’s important that the shopping section is easy to reach, and you should use instructions on each page to help your visitors find what they’re looking for. Every page must have a call to action because your job is to drive visitors through the funnel and ultimately convert them.
Fast loading speed
Everyone hates sites that take forever to load. If your website is slow, no one will care how beautiful your website design is, because no one will be able to see it. One choice is to compress your content to ensure your site loads faster. However, consider your company’s goals before choosing the right tool.
There is an animation technique for each of your purposes, so make sure you have your goals very clear in mind before opting for a particular animation. You can use animations to attract interest or require a certain action.
Many of today’s website designers avoid using pop-ups because they look like spam. However, it’s safe to use them as long as you don’t distract users or overload them with information they don’t need. Let’s say someone is reading one of your longer articles. It’s a good idea to put up a pop-up that appears after reading 70% of your text asking them to subscribe to your email list for additional free information, such as an infographic or a video interview.
You can start with simple animations like buttons. If you need complex animations, a quick search for a web design agency will help you get some professional assistance.
It’s important to consider how users interact with your site – whether they’re clicking through multiple titles, scrolling through content, or typing in multiple queries. Make sure your website design allows users to do these actions easily – never automatically play distracting audio or some text they can’t click. You should also avoid pop-ups and make sure your forms are mobile-friendly.
It is important to structure your website for good navigation, but also for search engine optimization. You can use a sitemap builder tool, with many free tools. If your site is small, you can also sketch the design for each page on a separate piece of paper and see how they connect.
A functional website is one that looks good and works well regardless of the browsers or devices your visitors use. There are several online tools for cross-browser testing. Otherwise, website building platforms take care of this problem.
Types of website design
Any web designer must be familiar with various types of website design. But by the time we live, they’ve been reduced to two important ones: adaptive and responsive. Also, there are so many platforms with built-in design tools that most website designers don’t need to know all the ins and outs of writing code.
This style has your website design adapted to different screen sizes because you will have created multiple versions of your website. This means you will create different versions for mobile devices or multiple browsers.
These designs are faster to load, and you can easily build them without mastering code writing, but they have certain limitations.
When people enter a website, the HTTP request knows which device they are using and therefore which version to display. The downside is that a shrunk 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 the size of your browser on a desktop.
Even cheap websites can make use of responsive design. These types of sites are based on flexible grids that have different breakpoints, giving them a custom look and feel on different screen sizes. Rather than just adapting when they hit a breakpoint, these sites can constantly change depending on the size of users’ screens.
Advantages include an easy-to-use experience as well as a design that’s hard to break in most website builders. You also have many templates available to help you. On the other hand, a responsive website needs code writing skills and lots of testing.
Keep in mind that certain adaptive sites may include responsive elements such as image galleries, while others the bulk part of your site is adaptive.
How to build your website
Now that you’ve seen what your website design should look like, let’s see how you can build it. First, you need to find a good desktop or online application through ready-made platforms. Your choice depends on a number of factors, including the size of your team, the type of site you are planning, your skills, the technical needs of the site, and, of course, your budget.
You can use various apps to design your website, but most designers prefer Photoshop or Sketch because they’re easy to use. You’ll start by building your project, which you’ll submit to the website development team to turn it into code.
Using a desktop app is the best choice if you work for a complex website, a large portal, or a website you are planning to grow. Desktop apps help you focus on aesthetics rather than dealing with all the technical issues.
The downside of desktop apps is that you need a lot of time and a bigger budget. You also need a specific skill set and various types of resources, starting with know-how. This usually means hiring a developer to improve your page designs. If you want to avoid hiring a website designer, consider using a website builder.
Where to get inspired
Website designers cannot produce stunning websites unless they have an inspiration to get their creative instincts flowing. The best sites to look for easy-to-navigate, easy-to-use.
However, most of these projects are already implemented or mockups. It is better not to copy them. Even if you try to recreate these projects, you need strong coding skills to recreate the most complex effects.
Want to create a responsive website for your business? Get in contact now with our team.