In 2019, having a website has become as crucial and necessary as having a cellphone in your pocket or a car to drive. With that said, websites have become more complex than ever before. With custom abilities, unique dynamics, and ever-changing trends, web design is a dance between beauty and purpose.
Now, more than ever, companies and even individuals are contacting web design companies to help them design and develop their ideal website. Moreover, if you are new to the digital scene and are seeking advice, we have the article just for you. Set sail with Black Flag Creative and get to know the top 10 principles of web design. Not only will these principles transform your online website but they will enhance the way the digital world perceives you and your business.
10 Principles of Web Design
The Balance Between Beauty & Purpose
One of the key principles of web design is having a balance between beauty and purpose. With this, it is crucial to understand and know exactly what the purpose of your online website is. Is the purpose of your site to release information? If your website a site for marketing, business, entrepreneurs, or shopping? It is important to know what “solution” your service or business offers the marketplace and showcase that in a purposeful way.
To add to this, it is important to blend that purpose with beauty and aesthetics. A captivating website that is inviting will generate more traffic and clients. Alongside this, a captivating website that is aware of modern design trends can also stay up to date and not fall behind the competition.
Design For Your Audience
According to the National Education Association, it’s always important to appeal to your reader – and we could not agree more.
It is vital to appeal to your audience and readers from the moment they visit your website. This is part of knowing the purpose of your website. Who is your target audience? What is your service about? Who do you market to? Ensure that everything from your mission statement to your content is all part of whom you are marketing to. This is a dance between creative marketing, content, and understanding your audience.
Patience Is Not A Factor / Keep Steps Minimal
When was the last time that you were “patient’ on the internet? I will tell you that, the years of “digital patience” do not exist anymore. The reason for this is that clients and website visitors are wanting speedy service. With that in mind, ensure that the steps and requirements of the visitors on your website are kept to the minimum because patience is not a factor. Visitors do not want patience. Therefore, your online website and web design have to combine a solution for the client with easy navigation and intuitive controls. These factors are all part of the web design and UX of the website.
According to Smashing Magazine, “the less action is required from users to test a service, the more likely a random visitor is to actually try it out.”
In short, remove unnecessary questions, barriers, or aspects that may hinder the ultimate goal of the individual on your website.
As we move digitally up the scale, the world wide web has noticed an increase of visitors from cell phones and tablets. In fact, websites receive more views from cell phones then they do computers or laptops. Therefore, it is crucial to have a mobile-friendly website. Whether you are creating a website on your own or you are hiring a company, such as Black Flag Creative, to design a custom website, always ensure that the site you are going to receive is fully compatible with mobile devices. This may be a bit more costly, but ultimately, it is worth it if you expect to receive clients or sales from visitors using mobile devices.
Another benefit of having a mobile compatible website is that it appears more appealing in the eyes of Google. In fact, for proper search engine optimization, Google has made “mobile friendly” a category and must have to reach the first page of Google for target keywords.
Quality Menu & Navigation
It goes without saying that any online website will have some form of navigation or digital menu.
According to Astra, you want to follow the “three-click rule.”
In short, your website visitor should be able to reach their destination within three clicks or less. Anything else can be a distraction and, ultimately, lead your website visitor off of the website. Since patience is no longer a factor, individuals want to get from point A to point Z while skipping all the letters in between. This means that it is crucial to have an easy, quality orientation menu and navigation that makes it simple for the visitor to target their goal.
To add to this, if there are any on-page buttons or added steps, ensure that they have a purpose or a goal and that it serves the overall objective of the website. For instance, make digital forms easy to fill out and the contact button easy to spot. This is only an example of one of the simple navigation and menu steps to consider when looking into web design.
Cohesive Theme Design
As one of the most important steps and aspects of web design, we want to dive further into the idea of aesthetics and beauty.
Most importantly, according to Blogging.org, having a cohesive design is crucial when it comes to the unique appeal of your website.
Blogging.org believes that there is “no minor detail to your website.” Therefore, the design is key when designing your online website.
What does this mean? Well, it is important to analyze digital trends, alongside the design of your competition, and your brand voice. When creating a cohesive design you also want to ensure that it matches your brand’s personal identity. This is where it is important to evaluate all the details of your brand and web design so every aspect has a purpose and a meaning. To add to this, other important factors include minimalism, typography, content, color use, and much more.
Follow Web Conventions
This next web design principle may contradict the idea of being “unique” but it makes sense once explained. It is important to be unique and stand out when it comes to brand perception and quality. However, it is important to do so within particular parameters. We call these parameters, “internet habits.” Let’s dive further!
If you were to visit ten different websites in the next hour, you would notice that all of them are quite different. However, you would also notice that they all have particular aspects that are exactly the same or quite similar. These are known as “web conventions” or habits that users have created. Some examples are the menu being at the top of the website for easy access, always having a contact form or even a social media footer widget at the bottom of your website for easy access. Although you want to stand out from the crowd through quality designs and a unique appeal, you do not want to disturb the natural habits and conventions of internet users.
Respectful and Honest
With the way the digital marketplace has changed, individuals are wanting to know that the website is designed and managed by real people for real people. Even huge conglomerates have switched their branding towards a more honest approach, making their brands more appealing to a wider audience. This does not mean you need to branch out your niche, it means you need to make sure that the information you are introducing to the marketplace is respectful and honest for your target niche.
To add to this, visitors and clients are seeking transparency, a brand that is not afraid to appeal to the emotional and creative side of online visitors. With that, this approach builds a more long-lasting and quality relationship between the brand and the clientele. Nike is a perfect example of this level of marketing and brand appeal, they value athletes and respect them by showing real athletes in their ads and marketplace. Therefore, appeal to your audience by getting to know who they are and respecting that.
We have talked before about the idea of a visual hierarchy and we want to further expand on this in this topic. As one of the key principles of web design, a visual hierarchy is a goal of showcasing the most important aspect of the website to the user from top to the bottom. The most important and crucial factor goes at the top, while other factors follow that.
These factors may be a mission statement, question, or a simple subscribe form. Therefore, when designing your website is it important to consider what the visitors will see first and make it a part of your visual hierarchy. With that, the visual hierarchy will go from most important to least important. To break this hierarchy, it is important to consider headers and subheaders.
According to Neil Patel, one of the most important aspects of visual hierarchy is because “ visual hierarchy allows visitors to identify the most important elements on a web page without having to read the content.”
Test and Test Some More
As the last web design principle to consider, you may be often surprised at how overlooked this one principle really is. When it comes to web design, testing is vital before launching your website. Testing and testing some more is a key phrase and it is important to follow it.
Do not launch your website blindly.
That is not the Black Flag Creative way. In fact, it is important to test the website with visitors and then follow their feedback to make sure that everything works as it should. A website, as we said in the beginning, is a dance between purpose and beauty – and neither can falter. Therefore, here is a list of important aspects to test when you develop a website.
- Make sure all menu links work.
- Ensure that there are no 404 or broken pages and links.
- Make sure all the buttons work accordingly.
- Have a contact form that is connected to an email.
- Make sure your website logo links to your home page.
- Read all content for spelling errors.
- Make sure your social media accounts are connected.
- Make sure that your subscribe forms are working properly.
- Test all forms, buttons, dropdowns, accordions, and design elements.
Web Design Principles
With the complexities of the digital world, considering a web design company to create your custom website is a smart move. With digital trends changing every month, Google constantly releasing new updates, and more and more individuals utilizing their phones to view companies and websites, no company can survive without establishing a digital presence. With this, to create your own online website, following these ten digital principles will start you off on the right digital step.
Whether you utilize all of the ten principles above or you implement specific ones to your website, it is important to scout the digital landscape before you begin. When scouting web design companies, get to know the ones in your area. Ask them questions, get to know their portfolio, and create a budget before you begin or commit. With that, Black Flag Creative is dedicated to helping you sail the rough seas of the digital world as smooth and calmly as possible. Whether you need a custom web design or even an app, Black Flag Creative can pave the way for you and your digital presence.