If you read around you will come to realize that the approaches to effective web design principles don’t vary much from one source to the other. The simple explanation is that conventions are a good thing and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. That is not to say your website can’t have bells and whistles (although the need for them is debatable). The core principles of web creation don’t address details, but mandatory basics.
Define the Purpose of Your Website
Before collecting advice, tips and how tos, take the time to precisely define the purpose of your site. Why do you need one? (Do you need one?) What do you expect from the visitors (buy, subscribe, interact).
If you want to build a website just because it seems like the right thing to do in this digital age, save yourself some money. A site is not a virtual business card, its purpose is to provide the users with an experience that produces results for you and satisfaction for them. In other words, forget what you like and want and switch to user-centric mode. The fundamentals of effective web design are indeed revolving around the visitors.
Core Design Principles of Effective Web Design
The way users browse the internet has changed and so have their expectations. You may have a great offer, a beautiful product or a one-of-a-kind service, it’s useless if haphazardly laid out or if information is hard to reach.
Users have become used to sites working a certain way. While a website can still be distinctive and original, navigation should always be logical, intuitive and seamless. An effective web design shows only as many pages as is truly necessary. Don’t think that the more pages you have, the longer they will browse your content.
Right along with navigation, usability tops the list of items that deserve your full attention. Users want to go from one page to the next as easily and quickly as possible. Keep it simple. Make it easy to recognize hyperlinks, find contact tabs or forms.
This is one of the key tenants of effective web design – users like to understand what they see at first glance. If they have to squint to find relevant information or pull back to take it all in, they will likely make their visit a short one. Focus on the flow, make sure elements are aligned and don’t shy away from white space.
High quality, relevant content scores bigger than fancy animation and takes precedence over color scheme and interactivity. The consumer comes to your web site in a quest for answers, with the hopes you can answer a specific need. (Keep an eye on text to HTML ratio).
Pictures and videos play a huge role in effective web design only if they offer relevant support to quality content. Should there be too many and you will lose the user’s interest. It goes without saying all visual elements you deem necessary should be optimized.
Behind the Scenes Web Design Principles
A lot more goes towards improving the user’s experience than graphic design and friendly navigation. To make the most of your site and reap the conversion rewards you need to tirelessly work on optimization.
If browsing your site on a mobile device is frustrating, counter intuitive and near impossible, you might as well close it down and start over. Traffic originating from mobile is consistently growing. Your website must be responsive across all devices.
You have only a few seconds to spare before a visitor click the “close tab”. The digital age has spoiled us and patience is no longer part of our process. Your customers expect instant rewards, a fast loading page due to effective web design is one of those.
Testing, fixing and testing again. The ultimate principle to follow to ensure your site is functioning properly, provides a satisfactory experience and bears no major flaw: speed, responsiveness, links, images, code. Test everything, starting early.
Effective web design goes beyond the mere visual beauty of it. From concept to creation, always keep the purpose and the user in sight. If usability conflicts with your own personal taste, choose wisely. Internet users are demanding and not very forgiving.