Today, I’m going to discuss about the main principles and approaches for an effective web design. When applied properly, these approaches can lead to more refined design decisions. Contrary to popular belief, the visual design of a website doesn’t contribute much to its overall success. The usability and utility of a website are the ones that determine the success or failure of a website.
When they visit your site, you have to make sure that their user experience will be outstanding. By having a user-centric design, you will have a successful and profit-oriented web design. Make sure that every feature you put out on your site is usable. After all, if users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist at all.
Before we go over the principles of a good website, we have to understand how users interact with websites first. We have to know what are the fundamental patterns of users’ behavior and how they think.
How Do Users Think?
- Users don’t read, they scan. When they arrive on a web page, they analyze it and search for anchors that would guide through the content of the page.
- Users want to have control over their browser. In other words, they don’t want new windows popping up unexpectedly. Therefore, it’s a good method to never open links in new browser windows.
- Users tend to be impatient. Oftentimes, they have the urge for instant gratification. For example, a website didn’t meet the users’ expectations, then the designer wasn’t able to do his job properly. As a result, the company will lose money which is what we’re trying to avoid.
- Users appreciate quality and credibility. When you provide users with great content, your site will surely gain a lot of traffic. In short, content is much more important than the design.
Now that we know how users think, it’s time to discuss the principles that make up a good website.
Don’t make users think too much.
As stated by Krug’s first law of usability, the web page should be clear and understandable. Don’t make the users think too much. Make sure that your site architecture and navigation is instinctive. If a site isn’t instinctive enough, it will be hard for users to comprehend how the system works and how to navigate from point A to point B. Always provide users with clear structure that can help them navigate through your website smoothly.
Always strive for simplicity.
When you create a website, strive for simplicity instead of complexity. Make sure that you are clearly presenting information about your website. The primary goal of a site design should be the KIS principle. KIS stands for Keep It Simple.
It’s a rare occurrence that users visit a site just to simply enjoy the design. Most of the time, users do not focus on how the website looks like when they visit sites. This is because they are searching for information rather than focusing on a website’s appearance.
White space isn’t something you should be afraid of.
White space is important. When you utilize white spaces, it can help in reducing the cognitive load for users who visit your site. Additionally, it also makes it possible for users to easily digest the information presented on the screen. So, if you want users to easily understand your content, make sure to incorporate enough white spaces.
In conclusion, these are just some of the principles you should apply if you want to have a good website. There are still a few more principles that I’ll discuss about on Principles of a Good Website (Part 2). If you plan to create a website, reading Things to Establish Before Building a Website (Part 1) and Things to Establish Before Building a Website (Part 2) might be helpful.