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What comes to mind when you hear web design? Probably, coding, aesthetics, logo placement, and symmetry, but, web design is more than that.

It’s the process of designing a visually appealing digital platform that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate.

As the digital space evolves web users are prioritizing user experience on the website over any other feature. They want to find information easily while enjoying the interactions on the website.

So how can web designers strike this delicate balance? We’ve done the legwork for you and compiled a list of 10 web design practices to help you design a great website.

 

What is Web Design?

Before diving into the topic, it’s important to define the phrase web design. Web design is the process of planning, developing, and organizing the content on a website.

The concept has come a long way, growing from designing websites for desktop browsers to optimizing them for mobile and tablet use and now enhancing the user’s experiences using visual and technical elements.

Web design is pivotal to any digital marketing strategy as it determines how your target audience interacts with your content and if they execute the desired action.

 

Best Web Design Practices

So what are the practices for designing a great website? Read on to find out.

1.   Simplicity

Users hardly visit a website to look at its fine colours or design; they want to complete an action. They may be looking for information, or purchasing a product or service.

As such, you must design a website that makes completing such actions easy.

You want to steer clear of using complicated design elements that could overwhelm the website or make navigation challenging.

Remember competition is quite fierce in digital spaces with users spending 10-20 seconds browsing a website.

If you can’t provide what they’re looking for within that period they leave your website for another.

To avoid losing valuable traffic, focus on designing a simple website.

Think about common features like the colours (use a maximum of five), the graphics (add them if they help the user act), and placement and use them to enhance your visitor’s experience.

 

2.   Ease of Navigation

Navigating your website should be so flawless that users think about your website every time they want to find information or purchase a product.

The navigating buttons should be clear to allow users to explore the content naturally. Here are a few pointers to help you:

  • Ensure the structure of the primary navigation is simple
  • Add a search bar near the top of the site to help users search keywords
  • Avoid adding many navigation options on every webpage
  • Use simple and clear language: Common terms like ‘About Us,’ ‘Home,’ and ‘Contact Us,’ make navigation easy. Users understand what they’ll find on the webpage without much research
  • Take advantage of breadcrumbs: If your website has content or products, leverage the breadcrumb feature. It helps users track and display their location on the website and retrace their steps when they want to resume browsing a previous page

Making navigation easy for your visitors creates a deep, engaging user experience, and increases conversion

 

3.   Focus on Responsiveness

Your website should be accessible via multiple devices and browsers. Many visitors use their mobile devices to browse websites so you want it optimized for such users.

In fact, statistics show that 48% of page views globally are from mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

This concept is referred to as responsive web design and requires web designers to develop highly flexible website structures.

A responsive web design ensures content gets resized to fit the device the visitor uses. There are two ways of doing it:

  • By creating a stand-alone mobile website or,
  • Leveraging mobile-friendly HTML templates

In addition to designing a mobile-friendly website, check if it can be viewed on different browsers.

Ensure visitors using Firefox, Opera Mini, and Google Chrome, among other browsers can access your website.

 

4.   Maintain Consistency

Consistency is critical to keeping visitors focused on the reason for visiting your website.

Thus features like the font, color scheme, website layout, and images should be consistent throughout the webpages.

These features define your brand hence keeping them consistent cultivates trust and a feeling of familiarity with your visitors. Consistency in web design means:

  • Sticking to the same colour palette: It would help to limit the number of colours to a cohesive palette of 3-5 colours that complement each other to reflect your brand’s personality
  • Align the images to the brand’s style: Ensure the images resonate with your brand’s style. You can do it by using similar image types, filters, or visual themes on all web pages
  • Reduce the font varieties: It’s tempting to use different font styles on the web pages, but they only make your website appear cluttered. It’s best to use similar font styles and ensure they’re aligned with the brand’s style

 

5.   Make the Most out of White Space

Another web design hack that’s known to improve a user’s experience is allowing ample white space between texts and images.

White space creates a more comfortable browsing experience, making it easy for the user to focus and process information.

As a result, the visitors are more likely to perform a desired action, e.g., purchase an item, sign up for a newsletter, or make a call. Here are some tips to help you leverage white space:

  • Setting margins: Properly sized margins create a visually balanced website, making browsing seamless. You want to define the margins around the content, allowing adequate space for every element
  • Leverage grid-based layouts: Grids are pivotal to distributing various elements on a web page thus you want to make use of them
  • Ensure content is grouped strategically: White space helps classify content and distinguish between related and unrelated features. It allows you to place elements near each other strategically, creating visual cohesion and associations that make navigating the content seamless

 

6.   Optimize the Website for Search Engines

Finally, you want the web design to increase your chances of appearing on Google’s or other search engine’s first page.

You can do it by integrating SEO practices into your website like designing a responsive website, using a simple URL, and adding relevant title tags to help search engines understand the content on your web pages.

 

Conclusion

The web design practices discussed above can help you kickstart your design or redesigning journey. Always ensure the website design is simple, easy to navigate, responsive, consistent, and optimized for search engines. Also, make use of the white space to keep the content cohesive and relatable. You could add web design practices that have worked for you in the comment section.

Paul Simiyu

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.

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