4 Basic Web Design Principles

basic web design principles

Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

Web developers are often more worried about behind-the-scenes tasks like coding. It’s important that your web developer also understands the meaning behind the first half of Picasso’s quote: rules of art are foundational.

Do you sometimes wonder how you can make sure website more attractive and effective?

This blog can’t begin to list every design principle. But here are some basic web design principles your website designer should follow: using white space, using a color scheme that supports your branding, and using fonts effectively are good web design principles. Then, that fourth principle will come to light: organizing your site’s content to enable visitors to understand and find information readily and lead more to take the next step: your call to action (CTA).

1. White Space is a Good Web Design Principle

White space is the non-attention seeking areas surrounding layout. In today’s era of short attention spans, white space, aka “negative space”, leads a reader from one element to another. White space makes the website look uncluttered and delivers information more readily to the readers.

“White Space” is a misnomer. These spaces aren’t necessarily white. Using wide margins or section breaks display your content legibly, allowing the users’ eyes to rest on strategic spots on the page.

Without white space, webpages feel cramped. These areas prevent overcrowding and help users to focus on one element at a time, so they’re more likely to understand — and follow through — with your intended CTA.

Imagine a long web page with no white space. There is paragraph after paragraph of text you have to scroll down through. It may feel overwhelming to read through the entire page.

2. Create a Color Palette That Supports Your Branding

Branding is the process of choosing elements like design, logo, colors, and a name to establish yourself from other organizations or businesses. In essence, branding creates a unique personality of your business.

Create a color palette that supports your branding. Find inspiration in your logo’s colors. Study their relationship to each other on the color wheel to create color schemes (e.g., complementary, split complementary monochrome, analogous, or triadic classifications). Create a color palette that functions well together.

The color palette used can evoke a mood or emotion in your site visitor that is inferred upon your business. What is appropriate for yours? Professional? Funky? Casual? Fun?

What colors will act as accents? Accents can create interest and contrast, pointing out content highlights.

Stick to your palette for continuity. Be consistent if the use of the specific hue selected in your palette. For example, if you have a specific blue in your palette, that that same hue throughout your site, not a variety of blues.

3. Font Usage

Typography is the art form of arranging words/letters so they’re easily recognizable.

A related tip is to avoid hardcoding line breaks. Although one may be tempted to do so for words to display as desired, keep in mind that this may cause orphaned words on some devices, depending on the monitor size. Advanced tip: To keep two words together on the same line, no matter what size monitor the web page is viewed on, you can use in the code a non-breaking space between the two words. Example: two words.

4. Organizing You Website Content

Content hierarchy refers to prioritizing information on a website. Lay out content so that the most important content is the most prominent.

Combining content hierarchy with visual design is highly effective. The content should use design elements organized on the page so that the eye is guided to consume each design element in the order of intended importance. The information should be organized from the visitors’ perspective. What would they want to know next? Like items should be grouped together.

One of the most important pieces of content is a clear and visible call to action. Place your CTA more than once on a page to capture the visitor’s attention. For example, use both a button and in the navigation menu to display your CTA. Place one above the fold (the area users see before scrolling) and put the other below the fold.

As important as backend coding is to the site’s functionality, at least equally important is following the golden rules of web design principles. If the website is unappealing or hard to understand or navigate, the user may close your site before completing your CTA. This means less leads and decreasing revenue for your business. However, implementing basic, good web design principles to apply content hierarchy by successfully using white space, color schemes, typography, and content organization lead to attractive, effective websites.

Torrance website designer like UmeWorks will use their years of experience and unique insight to make a business website that’s functional and attractive. This will allow your users to effectively navigate your site — and then successfully complete — your intended CTA.

Contact us to discuss the creation of your own web design masterpiece.



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