In our digital age of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, a company’s website design is vital as it influences how long online customers browse their site. A solid, good website design is intuitive, easy to use, looks great, and suits the target demographic. On the other hand, a poorly designed website will frustrate and turn away potential customers.

Make no mistake, good design is more than aesthetics; it can impact your search engine optimization, google rankings, site visitor’s behavior, and brand perception. So, if you want your online business to thrive, it starts with the foundation of your web design. We’ll discuss the key elements of web design below so that you can draw in more customers by enhancing the appearance, functionality, and overall experience of your website.

What is Web Design?

Website design used to mean creating websites for desktop browsers. In recent years, however, the importance of mobile and tablet browsers has moved to the forefront. Today, more people browse the internet daily on their phone than on a desktop, with 63% of all web traffic coming from mobile.

There are a variety of aspects of web design, including:

  • Web graphic design
  • Interface design
  • User experience design
  • Authoring
  • Search Engine Optimization

With that in mind, web design typically functions as a stand-in to describe the client side, or front-end design of the website. The front-end of your website is the part that your customers see, navigate, and interact with on their browser.

The purpose of a well-thought-out design is to hook your customers’ attention, sell a product or service, and give a real sense of what your company is. Good design gathers ideas then assembles and displays them in a pleasing aesthetic — it utilizes various concepts and guiding principles based on human behavior and online consumer habits.

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5 Elements of Web Design

If you’re planning on building a website for your company or revamping your old one, it’s crucial that you take the time to understand the ins-and-outs of web design. Creating the perfect schema for your business website requires experimentation and trial and error. Finding the perfect mix of elements can be a frustrating and challenging process, but it will pay off in the long run as your customers and prospects spend more time on your site. It takes effort and patience to get it just right, but when you do, you’ll have a website you can be proud of.

What are the main visual elements to focus on when designing your website? The top 5 are:

Layout

People make up their minds or form opinions in the blink of an eye, within 100 milliseconds. First impressions matter, especially for websites. In 2012, Google confirmed this with a study that found aesthetic design impacted users’ views towards the site in less than 50 milliseconds of exposure.

A great visual design is hugely important, and it all begins with your layout. In short, a layout is the way text, ads, graphics, and media are organized and placed on a page. A good layout will make locating vital information as easy as possible. This includes:

  • The company logo
  • The main navigation bar
  • The search box
  • Main image
  • Content
  • The bottom of the website

A good layout includes the following elements:

  • Has plenty of whitespace – White space refers to the empty space on a page that separates the various parts including copy, margins, and the sidebar. Whitespace prevents clutter and helps direct the customer’s eye to the important features or messages.
  • Intuitive – You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Internet users have been conditioned to expect certain fundamental aspects on any website. For example, the search bar is typically in the top right and the page navigation is top and center.  
  • Draws the eye – Similar to how framing in art, photography, or cinema can subconsciously direct the viewer’s eyes to the point of emphasis, solid web design naturally guides the user’s eyes to the essentials.
  • Grid-based designs – Recently, this type of web design has become increasingly popular. It involves intersecting vertical and horizontal lines that act as parameters for placing various elements. Grids keep the visual design simple, ordered, and organized. McDonald’s, for example, uses a grid-based design.

Color

Color is another facet that subconsciously triggers something in people, evoking emotions or feelings, whether or not they are aware of the fact. Modern day web design relies heavily on color schemes and thoughtful color usage to create a memorable and robust palette.

Finding the right balance can be tricky. You don’t want to overdo it with colors since that can be visually overwhelming and create a distraction. Did you know that the vast majority of modern websites will only use two to three colors? For example, Bose’s website uses an off-black primary color with grey highlights. This keeps things simple and allows them to emphasize the colors of their headphones.

If you go to Facebook or Amazon, you’ll see that they purposefully stick to a primary background color and an accent color. Color can catch a visitor’s eye but can also overwhelm if there’s too much or the colors aren’t coordinated. If you’re in this stage of picking your colors, experiment with different combinations, tints, and shades to find the color scheme that best evokes your brand’s personality.

Graphics

Many people forget the power of images in order to convey information or sell a brand. Just consider the logos for Coca Cola, Nike, or Apple. Their images sell their brand or service better than any commercial ever could. Approximately 65% of Americans are visual learners, so do not discount the importance of using images to help you succinctly express your message. The nuclear hazard symbol paints a picture far more eloquently than written warnings ever could.

Graphics encompass:

  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Charts
  • Logos
  • Clipart
  • Icons
  • Page art

All of these components can improve web design and help give your site personality and character. As with color, graphics should be used tastefully to complement rather than detract from the main focus of your site. Consider using a blend of text and graphics as it’s the best way to keep your website looking fresh while simultaneously sending a clear message.

Fonts

Typography is an ingenious way of communicating your message, style, and personality. You’ll want to find a typeset that matches your profession. A doctor or lawyer, for example, may want a timeless serif font, while a startup may be best served by selecting something more playful or out-of-the-box. The vast majority of web browsers are only capable of reading specific fonts, so make sure to choose web-safe fonts for your website.

Some of the most popular fonts include:

  • Sans-serif
    • Arial
    • Calibri
    • Geneva
    • Helvetica Trebuchet MS
    • Century Gothic
  • Serif
    • Cambria
    • Garamond
    • Georgia
    • Times New Roman
    • Book Antiqua
  • Monospaced
    • Courier New
    • Lucida Sans Typewriter
    • Monaco
    • Consolas
    • Andale Mono
  • Fantasy and Script
    • Papyrus
    • Copperplate
    • Brush Script MT
    • Apple Chancery
    • Chiller

Your goal is to find fonts that are complementary your overall design but remain easy to read. You want your target audience spending time browsing your site, not wasting time translating hieroglyphics.

Content

Once you’ve laid the foundations of your web design, it’s time to fill your site with content. Content involves written pages on the website as well as blog posts and other media. Content should focus on several things, including:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Incorporating relevant keywords
  • Selling the service or product
  • Conveying the brand’s experience and authority
  • Illustrating that the brand is trustworthy

You don’t have a lot of time to reel in customers, so content should be quick and to the point. Your content should be informative, point out a problem or a need, offer a solution, and provide a call to action.

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The Two Forms of Web Design

When creating your website, you’ll likely have to decide between using a responsive or adaptive web design. In recent years, these two methods of web design have become staples.

  • Responsive Design (RWD) – Websites are designed to adapt and change the size of the page in accordance with the various resolutions, screen sizes, and content. Content moves dynamically on the screen. The benefits include:
    • Very user-friendly. Allows for flexibility with different screen resolutions and devices.
    • Good for SEO since it’s all one page rather than 3 distinct pages.
    • Lower maintenance costs since the operation program is universal
    • And no redirection required between mobile and desktop.  
  • Adaptive design (AWD) – Pages are created uniquely for each device. So there will be a desktop page, mobile page, and tablet page. Each space will correspond to the device’s screen resolution and pages will look different based on size and screen resolution. The website detects the screen size and selects the proper layout for the screen. There are six different screen widths commonly found:  
    • 320
    • 480
    • 760
    • 960
    • 1200
    • 1600

The benefits include:

  • Costs less because it is simpler to program and implement.
  • Coding is less complicated and more time-efficient.
  • Better compatibility with more intricate sites.
  • Easier and more accurate in regards to testing.

Adaptive is ideal for retrofitting an older site in order to improve its mobile or tablet friendliness. Responsive, on the other hand, is most commonly used on new sites since they are easier to maintain and give a more fluid navigational feel.

Improving User-Friendliness

In addition to the key components of web design that give the page personality, any good website takes its users into consideration. Designing a user-friendly web page can help you avoid needlessly turning away prospective customers. All too often companies choose to prioritize Google SERPs over their content. Don’t fall into the trap of emphasizing SEO or rankings over the user experience. Instead, optimize your website for the user and build a loyal customer base of recurring visitors to boost your rankings. Elements to consider include:

  • Multimedia – Consider using video, audio, or music to improve the design, or sell your story. However, remember that many users don’t appreciate videos that autoplay with the volume on. Your goal is to bolster your message and not annoy your target audience, so be sparing with multimedia.
  • Navigation – The architecture of the web pages and menus should be created with users in mind. It functions as a map of all the places the user can go. Design should be focused on making navigation intuitive and effortless; you do not want to overcomplicate movement or hide aspects. Confusing your new users will turn them away from your website.
  • Mobile – Although desktop once reigned supreme, mobile and tablet are the way of the future. Your webpage should be compatible and perform at high levels with all the devices, OS, and browsers.
  • Interactive – To create a thriving site and loyal user base, you want to build a community for users to react and interact. Consider adding comment boxes and the ability to share things on social media. Create an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook account to help bolster your company’s online presence and clout.
  • The Home Page – Don’t be scared of creating a longer homepage that draws the user in and forces them to scroll down. Making them interact with the site improves conversion and click-through rates. The home page could include:
    • Value proposition
    • Summary of the goods or services
    • An introductory video
    • Product Features
    • Testimonials
    • Success Stories
    • Resources
    • About Us

Getting Started

If you need to create a website design, Domain.com has one of the best Website Builders that integrates all the elements you need to make your own website. This includes:

  • Mobile responsive web options with a variety of fantastic themes and templates
  • Prebuilt sections and customizable designs
  • Drag and drop webpage design
  • No coding, no installations, no plugins
  • Customizable fonts, colors, and design elements
  • SEO tools

Getting started is quick and easy. You don’t need to have the skills of a web design specialist, all you need is a solid website builder to get started. Reach out today and one of the Domain.com experts can help with web design or domain registration needs. If you’re looking to revamp your entire site, ask us about our full service web design services.

It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com.