Gone are the days when website designs are crowded with overused effects, animations, poor font choices and bad layouts, but there are still many website design fundamentals to consider, particularly in the ever expanding world of responsive design, where less really is more…
Good websites should be consistent in their form, style and user experience at any size. A recent study Sanford Guidelines for Web Credibility highlighted many of the key factors that determine what makes some websites less credible than others, and ultimately it comes down to poor design which leaves the user lost.
It’s all about following design principles and rules, 99% of the time. Symmetry, spacing and proportions are all common design rules, but often the more advanced and unique websites have cast the rulebook aside, if only briefly, to create more variety and ultimately more of an emotional connection.
With emphasis on large quantities of content dominating the algorithms, words have to take a back seat in website design. If imagery or a set of beautiful yet simply icons can do the job, use these instead, but be sure to research universal symbols so that they will be familiar to all users. Some examples include symbols for email, telephone, home and search.
With a diverse array of desktops, iPads, smartphones and retina displays, colour is becoming a dominant force and can help to cement your brand into the mind of your users. Match the colours of the website’s design with the imagery used in its content and see how you website transforms into a unified and attractive one to visit.
Fonts too can play a big part in emphasising a website’s credibility; Comic Sans dominated webpages and Word documents but has lost some of its reputation due to being over-used. Stick to a limited number of fonts; three is the magic number. A font for headings, a font for the body content and another font for particular buttons and calls-to-action.
Today, website design is about compromise; building up a sound and professional reputation is more important that attempting to use every design technique in one limited space, and with responsive design, the smaller picture is just as important. By taking on a few well-known design fundamentals used by artists, architects and other design professionals, you can create a balanced and concise website that delivers all that it needs.