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What is Web Design?

Back to the Basics: What is Web Design

What is Web Design?

Web design is the process of arranging different elements in the most aesthetically pleasing manner possible. Like any kind of art, there are a number of specific principles or guidelines that can be followed, though there is also lots of room for innovation. A good description is that web design is simply electronic art.

Fundamentals of Web Design

What is web design? Web design can loosely be divided into five basic components – layout, color, graphics, fonts, and content. There is a vast array of additional elements that can be utilized, such as Javascript, forms, pop ups, videos, GUI’s etc. However, the five basic components are the backbone of a standard web page.

Layout – This is the structure or architecture of a web page, one of the main considerations. You could, for example, have suggested blogs on the left with the content on the right, or vice versa. You select where to put the content, the header, footer, ads, suggested reading, products, etc. There are a variety of standardized layouts, but above all, the layout has to be consistent and integrated.

Color – The color of your site should be consistent and relate to your brand or image. For journalistic news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal or Breaker Magazine, black and white are fine. For artistic or fashion sites this is a poor decision. You can also choose how to color text, hyperlinks, background etc.

Graphics – Graphics include photos or icons, and should always be placed appropriately. Too many graphics can congest a webpage and make it slow.

Fonts – There are a large number of fonts to choose from, and no real need to stick to a robotic aerial type font. However, some fonts are ‘web safe’, so designers will work from this group. Choice of font may also have an implication for SEO. H1 and H2 fonts are given significance by Google.

Content – Content is what you write, otherwise, your page is just a pretty image. It has to be relevant, but it also has to look nice. Content should also be correctly formatted with H1 and H2 tags, as well as appropriate links. However, this is more the job of the content writer as opposed to the web designer.

Creating User-Friendly Content

Once the basic elements have been perfected, the site must be made user-friendly. Many large sites have incredible visuals, but take a long time to load and are also quite difficult to navigate. Things must be made simple. If a customer cannot navigate through a site, they navigate from the site.

Multimedia – This can help users to grasp concepts. A short and simple 2-minute video can work best. It also encourages people to spend more time on the site, which is always a good thing.

Cross Browser and Device Testing – A website might work very well on one device or browser but fail on others. This can eliminate significant market share. There are many free testing tools to assist with this, though it usually has to be outsourced for medium to large sites. With new browsers and technology coming onto the market, it is becoming segmented and is often a trade-off. A website is not going to render perfectly on every device and browser.

Navigation – This site itself should be easy to navigate. Don’t clog up a site with ads, links,  and popups. Less is sometimes more, so people can easily go from one page/concept to the next.

Interactivity – Sites in the modern era have to be interactive. People like interacting with things, and a moving element captures attention better than constantly reading over static content. Javascript is the main tool to assist with this. You can give customers content boxes and opinion polls. You can also do lots with text and fonts or with dynamic drop down boxes with highlighted backgrounds and glowing ‘auras’ around the text.

There are a number of tools that can assist in creating a website. WordPress is the easiest platform for setting up a simple blog, and WIX is also very useful for simple web pages with its drag and drop interface. However, most people will want to go to a web designer for the creation of a webpage. Setting up and hosting a website takes far more time and effort, even with the new tools available, which do not offer much flexibility.

Why is a web design important?

A good designer can massively enhance a website. Web design provides a ton of room for creativity, which also means that there is a ton of room for error.  

High creativity means that there are plenty of different approaches when looking to design your website.   Regardless, the mission of a designer is always the same:

You want your website to generate business.

If your website looks pretty but doesn’t get any results then what is the point? To many business waste time & money to build a website that doesn’t give them results. A successful web designer will create a website that is both beautiful & conversion focused.

Treat your website like an investment rather than an expense, and you will be able to use it to generate business for years to come.

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