The 5 Principles of Good Website Design

Website Design

We are not going to discuss the details of the design implementation (eg where the search box should be placed) as has already been done in a number of articles; rather, we focus on the broad principles, heuristics, and approaches to effective web design – approaches that, used correctly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving the information presented.

Principles of good website design and guidelines for effective design

In order to use the Principles correctly, we must first understand how users interact with websites, how they think, and what the basic patterns of user behavior are.

How do users think?

Basically, user habits on the web are not that different from customer habits in a store. Visitors look at each new page, scan some text, and click on the first link that interests them or vaguely resembles what they are looking for.

Most users are looking for something interesting (or useful) and clickable; as soon as certain promising candidates are found, users click. If the new page does not meet user expectations, the Back button is clicked and the search process continues.

Users value quality and credibility. If a page provides users with high quality content, they are ready to compromise the content with ads and site design. This is the reason why websites that are not so well designed and have high quality content gain a lot of traffic over the years. The content is more important than the design that supports it.

Users don’t read, they scan. When analyzing a web page, users look for fixed points or anchors that would guide them through the content of the page.

Do not make users believe

When you build a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks — the decisions users have to make consciously, weighing the pros, cons, and alternatives.

If the navigation and site architecture is not intuitive, the number of question marks increases and it is more difficult for users to understand how the system works and how to get from point A to point B. A clear structure , moderate visual cues and easily recognizable links can help users find their way to their goal.

Do not waste users’ patience

In each project where you are going to offer your visitors a service or a tool, try to limit the needs of the users as much as possible. The less effort users have to put into testing a service, the more likely a random visitor will try it. New visitors are ready to play with the service, not fill out lengthy web forms for an account they may never use in the future. Let users explore the site and learn about your services without forcing them to share private data. It is unreasonable to force users to enter an email address to test functionality.

As 37Signals team developer Ryan Singer says, users would probably be eager to provide an email address if asked to do so after seeing the feature work, so they have an idea of ​​what’s going on. they were going to get back.

Manage to attract users’ attention

As websites provide both static and dynamic content, certain aspects of the user interface attract more attention than others. Obviously, images grab more attention than text – just like bold phrases are more eye-catching than plain text.

The human eye is a highly nonlinear device, and web users can instantly recognize edges, patterns, and movement. This is why video ads are extremely annoying and distracting, but from a marketing point of view, they do a great job of capturing users’ attention.

Strive for background exposure

Modern website designs are usually criticized for their approach of guiding users through visually appealing 1-2-3-done-steps, large buttons with visual effects, etc. But from a design point of view, these elements are not really a bad thing. On the contrary, such guidelines are extremely effective as they guide visitors through the content of the site in a very simple and user-friendly way.

The choice of colors, however, may be too light.

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