To unlock the secret to designing state-of-the-art web pages, you first need to understand the customer’s thought-process.
Most people just browse through the website, missing elements and reading just a few lines of content. They quickly click on the pages that resembles what they are looking for and leave them just as quickly. Web-users are impatient and looking for instant gratification.
If your website isn’t able to satisfy this need of theirs then you need to opt for a good website designing and development company that specializes in the field. Right now.
Honestly speaking, users expect a lot from a website. It becomes rather tedious to take care of every demand of theirs. Good website design ensures that your website takes care of the maximum demands.
There are many don’ts when it comes to website designing. In fact, there are numerous dos and don’ts when it comes to design.
You might have heard the quote, “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” So how do you know if your design is great? A great designer created a list of principles for good design about 50 years ago. Let’s learn a little about him and his principles in detail.
Dieter Rams and his principles of good design
Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer, who worked with the consumer products company Braun. About 50 years ago, he wanted to know if his designs were good. Hence, he developed 10 principles of good design to judge his own work and help others do the same.
His principles are often known as commandments in the design world. And the interesting thing is that they’re still very much valid and applicable to designing of any kind, be it a product or digital creatives.
Let’s take a look at the commandments by Dieter Rams:
- Is innovative
- Makes a product useful
- Is aesthetic
- Makes a product understandable
- Is unobtrusive
- Is honest
- Is long-lasting
- Is thorough down to the last detail
- Is environmentally friendly
- Involves as little design as possible
Since the principles are so flexible and can be applied to various categories of design, we decided to match them with website design. We found that the principles can be used for this aspect of web development. Let’s see how they match up.
10 best principles of good web design
Hiring a professional web designer will get you good designs since they have a natural talent and creative flair. Copying others is easy to do but it won’t really give you any good results. Instead, a perfect balance of various elements in the right way is sure to bring success.
A designer always remembers that innovation is the secret to powerful website design. There are a ridiculous number of mediocre web designers and you should use innovation to stand apart from them.
Innovation is a constantly evolving process and you need to keep that in mind. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and fresh ideas is one of the best web design tips and tricks. It’ll ensure that your design is unique.
2. Should Make The Website Useful
When is a website useful? A website is useful when it combines various aspects of usability and functionality through design, content, and searchability. The elements involved in a particular website varies in each new site.
The usefulness could be calculated from a certain point of views [POV]. The most important being, the user’s POV. If the user is able to find what he is looking for, then it becomes useful for him. Other than that, great content is also required if you want more engagement on the website.
3. Aesthetic Appeal
Your target audience is limited to a specific group of people. The web design should be such that it visually appeals to that set of people.
As an example, we could take a look at AdultSwim’s website design. It started as an appeal to teens and adults who love to watch shows late at night. The website is designed in such a way that it appeals to the ‘cool’ teens as well as the adults through its sly and cheeky sense of humor, and other graphics.
However, we cannot incorporate the same type of design for all websites. For example, websites for sports footwear or apparel, like Nike.
To make a site aesthetically appealing, you need to take care of the color scheme, the grid, the whitespace and also the typography for the content included. You should also keep in mind the industry standards and decide the theme accordingly.
4. Make It Obvious
One of the most important website design guideline is that the website should rank high for usability and functionality. For a site to be usable and functional, it needs to obvious and self-explanatory in the first place.
If there isn’t clear navigation and a sitemap, a user may not end up where you want him. For this, you first need to have a clear idea of what the website is all about and what you want the user to do. If the website is a community building platform then there needs to be a clear and bold “Sign Up/ Login” button placed prominently on the home page.
If the website is an e-commerce site, then you need to lead the customers to the shop and products by featuring bestsellers and other categories.
Without keeping an end goal in mind, you may be left with a website that isn’t able to give you good enough results.
5. Don’t Test Their Patience
While making it obvious, take care of the fact that you don’t make it too obvious. Annoying pop-ups, compulsory sign-ins, and forms, registrations… they’re all too annoying and prevents a user from continuing on your website.
If a user is trying to gather information when moving towards the end-goal, these obstructions will only harm the progress. Asking for a user’s personal details at the start can lead to distrust.
What you can do is keep contact forms and other registrations in a prominent location instead of annoying the user by popping them all the time. Web design and development service providers ensure that your website isn’t showing errors or pop-ups that may bother the customers in a spammy manner. If you don’t think we’re right, here is a blog that lists 7 benefits of hiring a professional web development company.
6. Make It A Mirror
Your company has a unique identity in terms of how it functions, what it offers and why it does something. It represents something on its own.
You need to make sure that this is displayed on your website as well. You need to understand exactly what your company’s persona is and how to rightly represent it through your website design.
Communicating the company’s persona is a tough nut to crack if you don’t know how to. But if you’re well versed at website design guidelines recommended by Google, then you’re in the clear.
7. Long Lasting
Trends come and go all the time but what really appeals to users is a design that is able to stand the test of time. If the website design is attractive, user-friendly and simple, then you won’t need to redesign it again for a long time to come.
It’s important for website design usability guidelines. This is so because if you change the design multiple times, the user will need to get used to it again, generating irritability.
One can keep updating content from time to time in order to maintain the freshness. But you shouldn’t need to change the design of the website on a frequent basis.
If there is a new website design fad that you feel like trying out, study the fad carefully. Try to gauge how it will benefit your website in the long run and if it is adaptable for your website or not.
The design should be thorough and comprehensive. For testing it, you need to think like a user. What do you think a user will look for when he comes to your website?
The SEO perspective is a deciding factor when we talk about good web design criteria [and here’s a shocker: SEO isn’t just keywords!. A website designer that keeps various SEO elements in mind, when designing the site, is one of the rare diamonds.
Here’s what one should keep in mind while designing a website:
- Mobile optimization
- Speed (so keeping it simple is useful too!)
- Social media integration
- Header tags
- Other relevant details such as URLs, HTTPS, bounce rate, etc
9. Conserves resources
According to Dieter Rams, good design should be environmentally friendly. It should conserve resources and limit the amount of harm caused to the environment. But he was describing the design for products, and not websites. So how does it apply to web design?
Design is an important deciding factor in gaining the users’ attention but it is never what the user is visiting your site for. Understand the end goal and keep it in mind that you’re designing for humans. A good practice is to let the content live and speak on its own. This will save your resources and help you keep the website simple as well as unobtrusive.
Simple designs are timeless whereas the cluttered ones may become outdated too soon. By using a simple design, you can conquer the tides of website design fads.
White space is key in minimalist web designing.
Fewer elements help the users to focus on what’s important. There are many designs which have too many elements – that looks like nothing but a mess or a clutter.
If there are too many options and pages, a user may get confused as to which one they should opt for. In frustration, a user may even quit your website. Not only that, too many elements even slow down a website. A fresh and minimalist web design makes it look better, increase usability and help the users focus on what’s really important.
Since simple makes it so much better, it is recommended that you go back to the basics. Back to simplicity.
To wrap things up, just think of this question: What matters to your customers? Whatever answers you come up with, work on displaying that prominently on the website. Along with it, ensure that the website is designed in a simple, easy to understand and appealing way.
If you plan to hire a web design agency for your website, here is a blog that you need to read before going ahead.