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Fundamentals of Web Design

It is easy to spot bad website designs—one look and you can already tell that you don’t like what you are seeing.

Bad web design normally comes with unnecessary bevel effects, cliched clip arts, overpopulated layouts and, if you are lucky, you might even spot some rainbow gradients here and there. Knowing the fundamentals of website design that Sydney-based companies follow will help you improve.

These design blunders can easily be fixed by knowing the fundamentals of design. Design fundamentals are the principles used by professional designers and artists. You can tell that a website is good if you can clearly see that it brings together form and function.

Why is Your Website Design Important?

They say that you should not judge a book by its cover, however, you have to admit that you are more likely to be drawn to a book with a well-designed cover than one with a tacky cover. Similarly, a website with a good design seems more credible to its visitors opposed to a spammy-looking website.

According to a study conducted by Stanford, people can quickly evaluate a website by visual design alone. This is why you should be paying attention to your page layouts, typography, images, consistency, etc. You should also keep your brand’s goal in mind when deciding how to design your website. The visual design should match the site’s purpose. Even the best website design company that Sydney has ever seen follows some rules for their designing. Read on to find out more.

Five Fundamentals of Learning Design

To help you get started, here are the five designing fundamentals you can follow to keep quality design at the forefront of your practice:

1. Learn the rules before you break them.

There are some rules in designing that you should follow. These principles should be applied and followed when working with elements like layout, order and symmetry. Visual arts is much like music for the eyes. The same way you should learn how to read the notes and how to play the basics before you compose a new song, you should learn and understand how design rules work before you break them.

2. Use images, icons and graphics to communicate.

There are some visual representations—or shortcuts—that people are trained to respond to. For example, when you see a magnifying glass icon, you think of “search” or when you see a house icon, you think of the homepage. This information is already ingrained into your users. Take advantage of these icons and use them in your designs. Even the best website design company in Sydney maximises the use of these icons.

3. Think of colour as a design element.

You should not see colours as mere decorations for your design. That is not how it works. The colours you use are part of your brand identity and colours make all the difference. This is even more crucial now that device screens are getting better by the minute.

Do not use colours for decorative purposes alone, use it to tell a story or support your content.

4. Choose fonts that represent your content and brand.

There are many fonts that you can choose from, however, this does not mean that you can use as many as you wish. Your font choice is also part of your branding. You would want to choose a font that supports your content and represents your brand. You should also use only up to three fonts at a time including a font for the headline, the main body of text, and one for any call-outs you might need.

It is advisable to use a sans-serif for the body copy in combination with an interesting serif or sans-serif headline font. This is a basic rule that website design professionals follow. Your fonts should balance each other out. If your headline is already fancy or busy, your body copy should be simple.

5. Join an active community of website designers and/or developers.

At this point, you should know your basic design elements: choose modern icons, decide on a great colour scheme and pick interesting fonts. For you to make further progress, you should not be afraid to ask for help from others. Ask for constructive criticism from fellow designers or developers. Being a part of an active design community can help you get solid pieces of advice that can help you make a big difference.

Website Design Sydney: Principles and Elements to Focus On

Now that you know the five fundamentals of learning design, it is time to learn the elements that you should focus on. Here are the most important website design principles to go by to ensure that your page is visually engaging, effective, user-friendly, and remarkable:

1. The purpose of the website.

Before you start building your website, you need to know what its main purpose or objective is. If you skip on knowing what the purpose of the website is, there is a big chance of ending up with a website that does not represent your brand or does not satisfy your business needs. If you are creating a website for a client, not knowing the purpose of the website might leave both you and your client unsatisfied and frustrated with the result.

Common Purposes of a Website

  • An e-commerce website selling a product
  • A general information website for a service or product
  • An interactive website teaser for a movie or an amusement park attraction

The examples stated above are all websites, however, their user-experience are drastically different from each other. To ensure that you provide your audience with a great experience and represent your brand the best way possible, do not skip on defining the purpose of your website. Even some of Sydney’s best website designers have made the mistake of focusing on the design instead of the purpose.

2. The elements you need to prioritise.

You could determine the importance of the elements you have on the page by ranking them. You can do this by finding out how closely they are aligned to the main purpose of the website.

For example, if you are building an e-commerce website, you may want to greet your visitors with a promo for your best selling items by using a bright-coloured CTA button. Then this could be followed by your recommended items for the user. Then you could put some digital gift cards for them to claim, etc. You are making it clear that you want them to buy your products with this layout.

If your website is information-heavy, then you need to present the information in a way that your visitors can find the information they are seeking quickly. If your page makes use of many images, make sure that each image is high-quality.

3. Remember the Gestalt Principles

Gestalt is a German term which means “unified whole”. In web design, this simply means that people tend to view a website as a whole before seeing individual elements that are included in the entire interface. Professionals from Sydney’s best website design companies trust and understand this principle, and that is why they look at a site design as a whole as they add each new element.

4. Check your clarity, whitespace and simplicity.

Clarity, whitespace, and simplicity are directly related to one another. For example, your user-interface should be simple, user-friendly and uncluttered for you to achieve clarity.

5. The responsiveness of your web design.

Responsive design has been around for quite a while now, so you have probably heard about it at this point. Having a responsive web design gives your users a great viewing experience across a wide range of devices. Since phones and tablets are widely used nowadays, it is important that you also consider responsiveness when designing a website.

6. The navigation of your website.

You should pay attention to how hard or easy it is to navigate your website for your first-time visitors. Make use of a clear, simple, and easy-to-use navigation to make sure that your users can find what they need to. This is an important element to think of in the process of website design, and Sydney-based design companies pay attention to.

7. The usability of your website.

Do not let your website be just a pretty page. No matter how beautiful or interactive the design of your website is, it would not do you any good if it is not serving its purpose well. When you are designing a website make sure that the website functions well and that it is user-friendly.

Common Usability Issues: Look out for the following usability issues:

  • Obvious things in unexpected placements—for instance, you would expect to see a search bar on top of a page. It could be on the top right or top left of the website. If you decide to place the search bar at the bottom of the page, it would take longer for your users to find it compared to just putting it where they expect it to be.

Humans are creatures of habit, so you should follow the conventional placement of useful UI elements. This is the best design direction to take, otherwise, you will inevitably confuse your users.

  • Failing to conduct user-testing for behaviour patterns—some design decisions may look amazing but not perform well. For example, during the designing process, you may have placed a CTA that you expect to get 100% visibility, and at least 80% clickability, because you thought you designed it to be that way, but then it performs poorly on the actual launch. Conducting a user-testing allows you to check for any behaviour patterns and adjust your design accordingly.

Tip: The best way to test for usability issues without breaking the bank is by using prototypes. Prototypes do not require you to invest time and money on coding. They can just be design mockups that link each page to one another. Even some of Sydney’s best website designers use this method to save some money on the process.

The Takeaway

To summarise it all, you need to know the main purpose of the website and your target audience. Make sure that your design is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Do not overdo your design—you need to make sure that your website does not look spammy. Looking out for these things can already get you a step ahead of other competitor websites.