As we begin the process of refreshing our website, it’s got us thinking about what makes for good web design. Specifically, what are some principles that we can keep in mind that will lead us toward a good design. There’s any number of sources you can choose to draw from on this topic. No matter how many you read, though, there’s at least a few points that will always come up.
Keep it simple. It always sounds so easy, and at the start every design is simple and clean. But as things progress, what started out as an elegant mockup turns into a garbled mess of gradients and images. The only way to avoid this is to truly value simplicity and clean design. Don’t add things just because you can add them. Make sure anything you add is truly needed.
Choose a color scheme ahead of time. This is most important when thinking about the call to action on a page. It should pop out and be unambiguous in its purpose. In order for that to happen the entire color scheme of the page must be constructed carefully and considered. If you use too many colors, it all becomes jumbled and your call to action (no matter how bright or punchy) will get lost.
Use a grid. A page designed without a grid will feel off. Viewers may not be able to put their finger on a specific element that they don’t like, instead it will be all the individual elements failing to coalesce into a seemless whole which creates a feeling of unease in the viewer. Making sure all of your elements fall along a common grid, and line up with each other as appropriate will make your site look and feel as carefully considered and crafted as it really is.
Of course, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Entire books, and series of books are written about good web design. But these few basic principles are ones that will start you off on the right path. If you have a solid foundation, it’s a lot easier to build what you envision on top of it.