The 7 Principles of Effective Web Design
Good web design? What is good web design?
Nice looking? Selling? The customer like?
For me, a web design is good if it is effective .
But what is “effective web design” ?
Effective is clear
Where am I?
Where can I go?
How do I get there?
And how do I get back?
Questions that the visitors face. Questions that a web design should answer very quickly.
Anyone who comes to a website for the first time must be able to orient themselves quickly. Web design must quickly signal to him what awaits him here. Headlines, navigations, logos, teasers should give him a quick overview. A clear, non-overloading page structure helps. It allows a quick scanning of the contents.
The content of a structure should follow.
People love structures, so we give them some. Effective web design creates clear structures.
Headlines, pictures, icons, colors create meanings. These should give the viewer a grip, give clues when scanning.
Effectively is readable
Webdesign is above all typography, that is the design of the text. (See the blog post by IA Web Design is 95% Typography )
Webdesign is 95% Typography.
Most of the information we consume on web pages is written text.
Navigation points, buttons, headlines, product descriptions, articles – all texts. Texts that want to be read.
Texts we want to read. To read quickly, without that reading becomes exhausting after a short time, because the font is too small, the font is inappropriate or the line spacing is too low.
In such cases, we often avoid reading in advance, even unconsciously.
Effective web design makes texts good, that is easy to read .
Sufficient font size, easy to read fonts, which ideally support the theme of the text. In addition, line spacing, which also deserve this meaning. And a text color that has enough contrast to the background.
THAT is good typography.
Effective is aesthetically pleasing
Above all, our perception is about the visual. And websites are above all an optical medium.
In addition, in recent years / decades, the development that “design” is becoming an increasingly important image factor and distinguishing feature. IKEA, Apple and H & M exemplify this. Design is important not only for high-quality products, but also for cheaper ones.
A screen design should therefore also meet a high-quality optics. This does not have to mean that every website has a high-quality look, but that the design is professional. A website for a toy shop does not have to be high quality, but visually appealing.
We love and expect good design.
Also on a website.
This concerns the choice of color, the typography, the grid, the structure of the individual design elements, etc.
Professional design creates meanings and guides the viewer. At the same time it creates emotions and unconsciously communicates the positioning of the website at any time.
Effective is emotional
We are emotional beings.
We can think of ourselves as rational (which most of us do), above all we decide emotionally. Long before our brains come up with rational justifications.
Therefore, a website should also appeal to us emotionally. To convey to us certain emotions or to evoke within us.
Images appeal to us emotionally, more directly and much faster than text ever could. And if images are emotional, then colors are even more important, as the basis of every image.
Colors (and thus also pictures) directly achieve a certain effect.
With colors, you can easily create certain emotions. They can be used to control emotions. The targeted use of colors can cause the visitor of the website a certain emotion.
We are emotional beings. Effective web design uses this emotionality for its purposes.
Colors and pictures should therefore not fulfill an end in themselves but fulfill a specific task.
Effective is user friendly
That sounds good, of course – “user-friendly”.
And sounds almost so logical that you should think all the websites are there anyway. But it is not like that.
User-friendliness is often referred to as usability. And usability affects all aspects of website development and should be considered from the beginning.
Without a high usability, a website can hardly achieve its goal.
A high usability is something of a quality feature of a website. The user reaches his destination effectively and efficiently.
User-friendliness concerns the navigation, its structure and the naming of the navigation points. It concerns the contents, which must be well structured and comprehensibly written. It concerns the design that has to generate a clear visual hierarchy. It concerns the technical implementation, which ensures fast and easy operation of the website on every device.
Effective is flexible
One sits at his desk for many hours, looking at a 30-inch monitor.
The other sits in the train in front of his smartphone and wants to quickly look something up.
And the other has just sat down in front of his laptop and prints out his desired information.
The usage situation of users of a website can be so different.
A web design adapts to the user, his usage statement and his output device. It is not fixed on a specific situation, on a specific device and especially not on a specific screen size.
But these were websites for a long time. Very long. 1,024 pixels wide was the standard used by web designers. Since the meteoric rise of tablets and smartphones, the awareness of alternatve uses has come up and given the technical requirements thanks to media queries.
Websites are per se flexible. Let’s try to take as little of them as possible.
Responsive web design is the keyword. But only one aspect. A barrier-free access to the website, a careful handling of effects and animations, a clear contrast between text color and background color, attention to possible visual impairments (such as color blindness) and an optimized print version are other important aspects.
Effective is fast loading
You know that.
You come to a website, you are tense on the content and have to wait … and wait … and …
And are gone or at least already heavily annoyed. Rightly so!
The temptation is great, of course, to incorporate great effects thanks to jQuery. Lightboxes, Slider and so on. And to use beautiful large-format wallpapers.
Thanks to fast Internet connections (especially in the Web designer in the office), enormous amounts of data are no longer a problem. But that does not look like every one. Just a look at the mobile usage shows that websites with low storage requirements are clearly in the advantage.
The user does not want to wait long for loading web pages, the loading animations may still be so nice.
So clearly stated: Every bit should be well considered and justified. Files should be optimized (image files compressed, source code minimized, etc.). Scripts can only be loaded if their meaning or function is really needed. Everything else wastes only the valuable time of the visitors.
Web design must be effective
The observance of these seven criteria ensures that a website is good.
That it is effective.
Effectiveness is a pleasant user experience.
And then the visitor stays on the website or comes back or buys or …
What do you mean? Are there any missing aspects that make a site effective? Or what points do you pay special attention to?