The principles of good website design

Comparision of web designs

Introduction

Good website design does not mean installing WordPress and putting a theme, either free or purchased and changing the colours here and there. But this is the trend among most web designing companies do these days. This is an ongoing cheap trick currently being followed by a number low priced cheap web design services which have mushroomed over the last few years. The result is a mess of poorly designed websites filling up the Internet.

Quality website designing is altogether a different aspect and has to follow a certain set of principles or rules. If there is no quality control, the end product is generally an inconsistent, unstable mix of text and colors.

So, what makes a good web design and what are the principles that a good web design company should follow?

A first class web host or web server

A web host is where all your website related files are stored.  When a visitor types your domain name like www.example.com,  the browser sends a request to the web server and the files are dispatched to the web browser accordingly. However, things might go wrong when,

  • You are using a cheap web server which is already overloaded with thousands of website.
  • You are using a web server that is distant away from your target visitors. For example, your target visitors are in India but you are using a server that is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Your web server is using cheap and outdated hardware. Like normal hard disks instead of SSDs or an older generation processor.

If you bought web hosting that came free with your website designing package or in a price that is too good to be true, you are probably a victim of all of the points above.

Visual Importance

Visual importance or hierarchy is the primary principle of any good web design. For example if you see the image below, it is easy to rank the squares based on their sizes. You however do not know anything about the squares. That is visual importance or hierarchy.

Visual hierarchy in web design

Every part of your website is not of equal importance. For example there are primary menu, secondary menu and footer menu. Now the primary menu being most important, the font sizes has to be big or the color has to stand out. Or consider a form that the user has to submit. It has two buttons – Submit and Cancel. The Submit button being important needs a colour emphasis. Visual hierarchy identification and execution is essential for a good web design and takes some effort than installing pre-designed themes on WordPress.

Obeying Hick’s Law

“Hick’s law,  describes increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically.” Simply put, the more options you put in-front of your users, the more difficult it will become for them to use the website it or rather unusable. By eliminating or diminishing options a smoother and enjoyable experience can be established. This is what a good web design demands. Hicks Law can be managed by properly designing various filter options and eliminating choices or options that distract the visitor.

Hick's Law

Grouping

Humans perceive elements of similar nature grouped together as a single object. Proper grouping of elements is a key ingredient for good web designing. For example proper grouping of similar menu items. Or grouping of footer social media icons. Grouping of testimonials. While these may sound obvious there are harder design situations where grouping plays a key role to proper design. Imagine a restaurant menu where similar cuisines have to be grouped together. The same should reflect on the website too. If the web designer have no knowledge of grouping, the website designed will be a low quality one.

Website design grouping

Positioning

Proper alignment of elements defines a good web design. For example should an element be in the right side of the main content or on the left side? Should the image be on the left, right or center? Should the sign up form be at the bottom of the page? Should the contact number be on the top right or constantly floating? These are just some example decisions the web designer has to make after properly analyzing the business requirement and the target audience. A good web designing company will generally show you a hand drawn sketch of the proposed design before implementing it digitally. A cheap design company will on the other hand use a run of the mill WordPress theme (that has been used on thousands of other websites) and use it for their design.

Element positioning on web page

White Space

The space in between the design elements like infographics, texts, shapes, images or the space that is left empty on a web page is called white space. It is a blank space and an important design element. A website without proper blank space and cluttered with texts, graphics not only appears busy but very difficult to read or apprehend and visitors will actually not bother with such websites. They will close it and go elsewhere. That is why simple websites with a minimalist appeal are better designed and have a clean look. However this does not mean the information is cut off. The trick is to present the information in a clear precise way yet making best use of the white space. It is about “buying” the visitor’s focus. The image below is from our own portfolio of an e-commerce website The Baker Street. See how a clean look establishes focus on the cakes.

White space utilization

Conclusion

Your website is an online impression of your company or taste. It is always recommended to hire a good website designer or a good web design company who can understand your business profile and deliver a clean precise website. Apart from the above points there are other important aspects like optimizing texts, graphics, load time  but we will cover those in a separate article later.

Hexadesigns is a web design company in Kolkata. We design and develop websites, custom software, e-commerce, mobile apps and do search engine optimization. This is our own blog where we provide potential tips for the common people just from our experience.

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