When it comes to web design, it can be all too easy to get hung up on the aesthetics without realising how certain elements affect the user experience.
To create a successful website, you need to focus on more than just aesthetics. In this article we’re going to take a look at the top 5 golden web design rules and why you should avoid breaking them.
Rule #1: Design with Consistency
Consistency is a key principle in design. As users, we make connections with consistency and become comforted by it.
When a design is consistent in all its elements, it ensures a user-friendly experience that avoids confusion and most importantly, matches customer expectations. When consistency is not adhered to in web design, it breaks the bridge for innovation and users start to question if they’re doing something wrong.
“Design tends to be confused with art. Art is subjective, whereas design needs to be objectively good.” -Brian Walter, Digital Designer and Developer.
Be consistent, be heard.
Rule #2: Design with Visual Hierarchy Front of Mind
Visual hierarchy is a web design principle that aims to present content in a clear and effective manner. Designers use this in their planning to help guide users through a website in an effortless and engaging way.
Paying attention to visual hierarchy in your design efforts will help you draw your visitors’ attention in an order of priority.
Order can impact comprehension and value; by not keeping visual hierarchy front of mind, you risk not only losing your audience’s attention but your brand’s story and message along the way.
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Rule #3: Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Often in web design, less is more. This doesn’t necessarily refer to the theory about spending less, but more so about achieving better design through simplicity.
Formulating part of the list for Dieter Ram’s principles of good design, “less is more” focuses on creating a leaner product that amplifies its functionality. By breaking this rule, you risk de-optimising your user’s approach to decision making and unintentionally fostering an overly complex environment – which can lead to decision fatigue.
Rule #4: Design Responsively
A responsively designed website is one that allows your website to adapt to the device it is being viewed on. Having a responsive website paves the way for seamless user experiences.
With the stratospheric rise in the use of mobile devices and the implementation of mobile-first indexing, it is no longer a choice to design responsively, but a pre-requisite. By ignoring responsiveness in your design, you risk disrupting the user experience and subjecting your audience to an array of jumbled pages and elements.
Rule #5: Embrace Whitespace
In an era where we’re surrounded by information, it’s vital for designers to be clear with their layout.
By making good use of whitespace, designers can deliver an enjoyable experience that both improves readability and website performance.
Appropriate use of whitespace in a design can mean the difference between an elegant, simple design, and one that evokes claustrophobia for all who traverse it.
Although there are a few more design rules that we haven’t listed here, the above 5 are the foundational rules of graphic design. Use these wisely, and you’ll create seamless experiences with each design; break these rules and, well, beautiful yet functional pieces that work for your brand will be but whitespace in your canvas of confusion.