The 6 principles of a great website design

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Your website is the first place that a user lands on while searching for your business. It is the very first impression of your business.  And like every first impression, you need to make it last.

There are a few basic principles of website design that every website designer needs to follow. This is like their holy grail. But before that, you need to understand why your website design is an important tool for your overall marketing strategy.

Your website is the most vital conversion tool you can build for your business. No matter how much you spend on conversion improvement methods and use tools to boost your conversion, if your website design is not up to the mark, you are going nowhere.

At Dreamscape, we have been building websites for over 13 years. That’s why we know a website is more than just a placeholder for your products or services. Website design is marketing. And it needs continuous efforts, testing and enhancements. It is not just about what your product is, it is about how your product works. A good website is a solution to a problem.

There are many components that impact the usability of a website. So what makes a website design great? Here are a few website design principles you must follow for an effective website design. These have survived the test of time and will continue to hold true in future.

1. Objective

An user lands on your website looking for something. Your website should solve this purpose for the user. Each webpage of your website should be fulfilling an objective. What are your customers looking for? Information, entertainment? Or are they looking to buy a product or service?

Make sure that every part of your website is purposeful to the user. And in the most effective manner. Otherwise, users will not stay on your website and click away. This increases the bounce rate of your website. You don’t want that. Make every page resourceful and ensure that it caters to the user.

2. Visual Hierarchy

This is one of the most important principles of website design. Visual hierarchy refers to how the user perceives the different elements of your website. You got to make the most important pieces of information visually prominent.

Based on your business and website objective, make note of the elements that are most vital on your website. They can be the CTA, an image or an offer that you are providing. Similarly, organise the other elements in order of priority. Your website design should then follow this hierarchy visually.

The aim is to pull the user’s attention to the most important elements first. You can arrange the elements in terms of size, color, fonts or any other design methods. The “Add to Cart” button on amazon.com is a great example of emphasizing the important elements visually.

3. Typeface

The amount and type of fonts you use on your website can make or break the deal for you. Sans serif fonts are easier to read online. Use Serif fonts for your headlines and reserve the sans serif fonts for the textual part. Make sure you are not using more than three typefaces.

Using a number of fonts will make your website look cluttered and unstructured. No one likes a cluttered space. Neither will your users. Keep your font number to a minimum. This gives your website a cleaner look. Your objective is to streamline the reading experience for your user. Not to confuse or distract them.

Also, make sure to use a typeface that works well across variety of devices. This maintains the usability as well as the readability of the text.

4. Colors

How you choose and use color schemes for your website is another valuable aspect of a wonderful website design. Your color palette is a fundamental part of your brand positioning. It should reflect well on your website as well.

When deciding the color scheme for your website, there are certain points you should take care of. Use a well thought out color scheme to enhance user experience.

If you use complimentary colors, they will provide a balance and cohesiveness to your website design. Use contrasting colors to make reading easier for the user. Contrasting colors work well on backgrounds and texts as they enhance the readability of the text. Incorporate pops of color to your CTA buttons as the vibrancy boosts emotion.

While selecting the color scheme for your website, give special attention to the use of negative space. Also called “white space” , it provides your website a sophistication while also giving it an unburdened and clean look.

5. Grid Layouts

Another vital way to improve the appearance of your website is to maintain a grid layout. Don’t place the content randomly on your website. This renders your website a messy, unorganized look.

Instead, arrange the content of your website into sections. Use boxes and columns to organize the content. Balance out the website material by placing them neatly under segregation. Use grid layouts to provide an alignment to your website.

An organized website structure also improves the efficiency of the website. It’s easier to optimize your design time with the help of grids. It reduces clutter and you know exactly where to place different elements which speeds up your design process. A grid layout will help you achieve this.

6. Navigation

User experience is one of the most fundamental facets and a key principle of designing a good website. And one of the primary factors to judge a great user experience is the navigation of a website. Make navigation intuitive for your user

Do not make your customer think where to go. Your website should not be a maze. It should be classy yet simple. Design your website in a way that navigation is seamless and natural. Ease of access is everything. Your user should not have to spend time in locating what he needs. His eyes should hover organically to where you want them to land.

There are ways by which you can implement an easy, intuitive navigation.  Have a logical hierarchy, use breadcrumbs and provide clickable buttons. Use the “three click rule” for your product or service placements.

A website can be beautiful and functional and a good website is one that is both. Keeping these basic but important principles of web design in mind, any website can be built to serve an elegant and powerful purpose. An effective website is one that is aesthetically pleasing, engaging and intuitive to experience and helps solves a problem for the user.

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