There are many aspects of creating a website design. Web designers often have to play multiple roles and be very knowledgeable about building effective and usable site layouts.
1. Keep it Clean and Simple
A good web design is the one who is user-friendly, not the one that looks only visually appealing. A clean and simple web design usually ends up being a high-usability web design that is not confusing to interact with.
By having too many features and components on a page, you risk the chance of distracting your site audience from the purpose of the website. Make sure each page and its elements has a purpose and ask yourself the following questions:
• Is this site clear and easy to navigate?
• Does this site show what you offer?
• If I remove this element all of a sudden, will most people want it back?
• How does this element tie into the goal, message, and purpose of the site?
However, it may be super awesome to come up with a new concept or interface design pattern for your website, make sure that the design is still accessible and intuitive to your target audience. People are familiar to common interaction patterns, site features, and web interfaces – and if your design is truly unique, make sure it’s not dubious and puzzling.
Users must never wonder, even for a split of a second, “Where should I go? Or Why I am here?”
Be creative, keep it clean and simple.
2. Optimize Web Graphics for Better Page Load Times
Use optimized web graphics for your web page by selecting the proper file format and make sure that it’s as small as it can possibly be. Even though people are advancing to broadband connections, but there are still quite a few who use dial-up internet connections or they don’t have access to fine bandwidth. Additionally, with the rise of mobile device technologies that don’t necessarily have broadband-like speeds, having slow page load times due to image file sizes can turn users leave your webpage.
A general rule of thumbs for picking the right file format: images that have solid colors are best saved as GIFs and PNGs, while images with continuous colors (such as photographs) are best saved as JPGs.
By limiting the number of images you use in the website / web design, and reducing file sizes as best as you can, you will significantly cut down page response times of a web page and improve your web page performance.
3. Website Navigation
It’s very important to put nice efforts in planning on a site’s navigation structure. This is a common sense, but it’s still surprising how many web designs take site navigation for granted. Your navigation design should work on all platforms (browsers).
Users must never wonder, even for a split of a second, “Where is the site navigation?”
The significant goal of your site navigation is to allow and guide users to get to their desired content with as few actions and with as little effort on their behalf as possible.
4. Font Face Selection
There are thousands of font, Keep font usage consistent. Make sure that headings are visually-different from paragraph text. Use white space, adjust line-height, font-size, and letter-spacing properties to make content nice to feel and read effortlessly.
5. Understand Color Accessibility
You need to consider color contrast of background and foreground colors for readability and for users with low-vision. For instance, black text on white background has a high-contrast, while orange text on red background will make stress to eyes.
Use colors that are accessible to every user with particular forms of color-blindness (check out a tool called Vischeck that will help you test for certain types of color-blindness).
Some color combinations work well only when the color is used as a foreground color instead of a background color. For example, brown text on orange background versus brown text on white background, same colors but different levels of readability and reading comfort.
One more example, yellow text and white background versus yellow text on purple background, same colors but different levels of readability and reading comfort.
It is important not only to get a good color combination but also to apply it to the right elements on the page.
6. Write worldwide.
As we all know that world wide websites are global. You should make sure that things like phrases, currencies, measurement units, dates, and times are clear so that all your readers know exactly what it mean.
7. Simple Code with usable CSS
With numerous WYSIWYG editors it has become very simple to design a webpage. However, most of these editors insert unnecessarily junk code, making your HTML structure poorly designed, harder to maintain and update, and causing your file sizes to grow drastically.
By writing the code yourself, you come out with clean, crisp, and perfect code that’s a pleasure to read and maintain; code that you can be proud to call your own.
Knowing how to use a WYSIWYG or an IDE with a visual preview does not excuse you from learning HTML and CSS. You have to know what’s going on in order to create effective, semantic, and highly-optimized web designs.
8. Imagine your visitors like a Kid
People on an average spend only a few number of seconds for deciding whether they want to navigate or move to another site. Therefore, as a web designer you have to decide a way for encouraging and engaging users to navigate in your website within those precious seconds.
Being a designer, you must know that not many visitors will scroll down to view the entire contents of the page, if the content on the top does not interest them. Remember to keep your important elements on the top where they are easily visible and accessible, but also do not overload the top half of the page with irrelevant information. Consider the top half of a web design a marketing point: be a marketer, grab peoples’ view-point that they want to view what else is on your website.
9. Flexible, Upgradable and Maintainable
A good web designer makes sure that website design should easily be updatable and maintainable in the future. Designing websites that are flexible and easy to maintain is a sign of a great web designer. Make your work as segmental as possible by separating style from structure.
Knowing the fact that our industry is dynamic and still young – things change in a very short period of time, keeping in mind will endorse the creation of flexible web designs.
10. Search Engine Optimization
A good designer should always remember to keep the basics of SEO in mind when designing a website. For example, structuring web content so that important text are represented as headings (i.e. page title, logo, headers, footers, etc.). This is where learning how to code properly comes in close. Knowing correct, semantic, and standards-based HTML/CSS – you will quickly realize that DIVs are better than tables for web layouts not only for accurate representation of site content, but also for search engine rankings; you will also know that alternate text for links and images is a good idea.
Learn More About (and Be Aware of) Browser Odds
One of the things you must know as a web designer is that your HTML/XHTML/CSS should work properly on all platforms, such as, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, IE6, and IE7+, Opera, Safari, and Maxthon. Before uploading – test your HTML & CSS on every possible platform
What are your web page designing tips?
Are there other tips that people should know about how to design a great Web page and avoid mistakes while building a webpage? Do share them in the comments.