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10 Principles of Effective Web Design

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Web design is a very tricky thing to get right and we decided to get together 10 principles of effective web design so you can see if your current site is up to standard. Even if you’re planning to make a new site for your business and need some direction as to what makes a good website, these principles are sure to help.

If you see your site getting high bounce rates or low pages per visit, maybe there is something you can improve on and we might just have the solution listed here!

1. Purpose

The purpose of a website needs to be upfront and displayed as soon as any viewer accesses the site. Good web design will ensure your site is tailored to what your visitors are looking for on your site be it for entertainment or to purchase a certain product or service. Each page needs to show the purpose of the site and will also need to meet the needs of the visitor.

2. Communication

Communication is key. No matter what the purpose of your website is, it is always important to communicate clearly and ensure all the information on your site is easy to read.

This can be done through a multitude of ways, the main one being headings and sub-headings. These separate the text and ensure that each section has its own information meaning a visitor can clearly identify what each area is about.

Other ways include using bullet points instead of long sentences and cutting the waffle down. Having unnecessary amounts of extra text or having very long sentences can make your site a lot harder to read and may not communicate the purpose of the site.

3. Typefaces

Choosing the right font and the right font size is another principle in effective web design as it is what conveys the message and enables readers to easily read everything online. There are set sizes and fonts that are often seen as the best choice when conveying information online.

Sans Serif fonts such as Arial or Verdana are easier to read online as these don’t have some decorative finishes. This means the viewer is able to easily skim through the text and get a quick understanding of the purpose of the site.

The ideal font size is also 16px as well ensuring the text is not too big, increasing the size of the text, but isn’t too small so it isn’t too hard to read.

4. Colours

Choosing the right colours of the website is a very important stage in website development. Utilising a good colour palette that matches your brand is a great way to catch the viewers eye. It will also make sure that reading is easier on the eye too.

Matching colours of your website to the branding will make sure visitors will be able to identify your business from your competitors. Utilising white space is also a great way of using colours as it means that your site doesn’t look cluttered.

5. Images

Images are a great connection to your target audience. They can also improve brand positioning and show viewers the purpose of your site in more of a visual manor. From purchasing stock photos to hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your products or workforce, all of these will aid in connecting with the viewers that come to your site.

Graphic design can be done in-house or an external company can create graphics for you. Utilising infographics is also another method of being able to communicate the purpose of the site to your potential customers, but also can be an easy method to give information to anyone who looks at them.

6. Navigation

Navigation is a very important principle of effective web design as it is what enables visitors to be able to move around your website. There are many parts of navigation to be taken into account when creating a website.

Clickable buttons have to be designed and have to fit in with the overall design and colours of the website. These also need to have some kind of logical page hierarchy so that any subpages are in the right place and can be easily accessed.

7. Grid Based Layouts or Templates

You should have a specific layout in place for the site in order to make sure content isn’t placed randomly. If this was the case, the website would look messy and wouldn’t be that appealing.

Grid based layouts arrange all content into sections so everything is placed in an orderly fashion. This not only makes the website more eye catching, it also makes text a lot easier to read.

8. White Space

White space is where there are empty areas on the website which can be, in some cases, a great tool to use. It means that the information on the site is a lot more readable and doesn’t seem like an incomprehensible load.

If a customer went to your site and only saw paragraphs upon paragraphs of text, the chances are they will leave the site. They won't want to sit and go through too much text (and this brings us back to point 2, communication).

Splitting up pieces of text and keeping the information easy to read and digest by using white space is a very good way at keeping visitors on the site.

9. Load Time

No one wants to wait a long time for a site to load all of the content and images. This is a quick way to cause people to instantly leave the site. There are always ways to improve the load time of a website and once improved, visitors will be more inclined to stay on the site.

Optimising image sizes, combining code and compress some of the background scripts to make them smaller; are all ways to decrease the load time and make sure that the user experience is at a high standard.

10. Mobile Friendly

In May, Google made a chance to its algorithm. This change has required businesses to have a responsive website that is mobile friendly.

A mobile friendly site is viewable on a range of devices, be it on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. A responsive website makes sure that viewers are able to read the text easily and see everything on the site without having to zoom in and scroll along to see everything.

Utilising this principle and rebuilding your current site to be responsive or creating a new site dedicated to mobile viewers; it improves the communication to your target audience and also makes sure everything is viewable.