Web design goes beyond aesthetics; users need to be able to navigate and use websites efficiently. Luckily, there are usability and accessibility best practices that can be followed to help ensure sites work for all visitors.
One of the key aspects of visual hierarchy is arranging elements so they draw visitors’ attention first to content that matters, often through means like symmetry, balance or negative space.
1. Keep It Simple
As web designers create or revamp websites, aesthetics can easily become the focal point. Do I like that shade of blue? Should my logo go on the left or right of my page? But web design goes beyond aesthetics: its primary goal should be user experience and navigation ease.
One effective strategy to keep things straightforward and understandable for users is keeping things straightforward and uncomplicated. While experimenting is important, most users are used to common interaction patterns and website features that may make use easier than something more unusual or novel. If something stands out too much from its peers it can become confusing or hard for visitors to utilize and comprehend it quickly.
An additional way of simplifying matters is limiting the elements on each page, which can improve user experience by minimizing distractions and making information easier to locate. Furthermore, doing this may make your site load faster as fewer lines of code need to render each page.
Maintain a clear call to action which stands out from the page, to convert visitors into leads and customers. A clean design makes this easier while encouraging visitors to take action and convert.
2. Don’t Overdo It
Even stunning visuals can be rendered meaningless without an easy path for visitors to navigate a website. User interface, or UI for short, covers an expansive subject that encompasses everything from minimizing clicks on pages to providing alternative ways for users to identify forms or other elements. An optimally designed website should incorporate various mechanisms that maximize usability for all types of users.
Quality photography is an integral component of web design. Poorly shot photos or generic stock images can deplete an otherwise inspiring design and leave an uninspiring void behind, which is why it pays to invest time in searching out quality stock photography that suits the design brief and carefully consider how every image will be used.
Web designers must also appreciate the importance of good typography. With so many font styles available to them, knowing how best to apply them correctly is of utmost importance. A style guide page makes it simple and efficient for web designers to maintain consistent typography across an entire website design project.
Web designers should keep abreast of industry trends by following popular sites such as Awwwards, Behance and Dribbble to stay abreast of industry developments that might inspire innovative designs of their own.
3. Keep It Clean
As website designers, it can be easy to get stuck into aesthetic decisions when creating websites – for example whether a certain shade of blue looks appropriate and where should a logo sit on the page – rather than focus on usability and user experience. But to truly meet its objective of providing an excellent user experience requires understanding basic design principles like color theory, typography, and layout principles.
Clean lines and lots of white space help users focus on content more easily while processing it more quickly, as they reduce visual distractions and create an aesthetically pleasing and organized website experience. Whitespace can also play an integral role when it comes to hierarchy; large elements that stand out indicate importance to help visitors navigate around.
Use of a grid-based layout is another effective way of keeping websites clean and organized, while making the layout more flexible to enable content placement at various parts of the page – this makes editing pages much simpler for coders.
Use semantic HTML elements. They make the structure of web pages clearer for search engines and developers alike, while making reading and understanding its structure simpler.
4. Keep It Symmetrical
As designers of websites, it can be easy to become distracted by aesthetics. After all, with over 1.8 billion websites out there to choose from, creating something visually appealing is important! However, good web design should consider not only visual appeal but also usability, accessibility, and business goals when making their design choices.
An effective way to enhance your design skills is by learning the fundamentals of user interface (UI), user experience (UX), typography, composition, color theory and the golden ratio. By taking time to learn these key concepts, you can create more thoughtful and impactful designs for clients.
Symmetrical balance is a popular design concept because of its appealing visuals and calming, organized appearance. Achieve this type of equilibrium by evenly dispersing elements across the page such as evenly spacing large images alongside text blocks or by employing asymmetrical balance – this creates more vibrant designs by positioning one element nearer the viewer while still managing to balance it using design elements like colors or textures.
Negative space, which refers to the space around and between design elements, can help reduce visual noise and improve readability by adding margins or padding for your elements. Utilizing negative space effectively takes practice but is key for good web design.
5. Keep It Accessible
As it pertains to web design, it can be easy to become fixated on aesthetics – is that shade of blue pleasing or does that animated GIF work well in the header? – but it’s essential to keep in mind that websites must serve more than aesthetic needs: they must help visitors browse, interact and convert. For this to occur successfully, they need to be fully accessible.
An effective way of considering accessibility is to picture yourself navigating the internet as someone with blindness or deafness – or any disability which limits their use of a mouse – instead of yourself using one. That is how businesses must approach accessibility as part of their digital strategy, which is why so many are making accessibility a central component.
There are various methods you can employ to increase the accessibility of your website, from simple measures such as using larger font sizes to making sure all content is clearly labeled and understandable. Furthermore, optimizing for screen readers, assistive technology and mobile devices may add cost but must be included as an essential part of the build if it’s to succeed.
Accessibility should not only benefit those living with permanent disabilities; it should also benefit temporary or situational barriers like broken arms that prevent users from using a mouse with their dominant hand or noisy environments in which people try to watch videos. Any optimizations to your site that make it more user-friendly will only make life simpler for everyone; there’s really no excuse not to embrace accessibility as part of the web design process!