The Basics of Web Design
Chances are you keep hearing about how easy web design is these days, but the reality is it’s only simple for people who already have a basic understanding of it. If you’re considering creating a website for your company, first you must understand how to do so with your audience in mind.
Keep these truly basic tips in mind as you build your online brand.
Consider the Visual Hierarchy
While most cultures read left to right, the hierarchical rules become a little more complicated when you factor websites into the rules. Because most people are more likely to scan a webpage than to read it in its entirety, it’s important to know where to include your information. Logos and images at the top help the reader to know a quick bit about your company, and strong, bold headers let them scan for the paragraphs that will be of most use to them. Keep in mind that most people scan in an “F” or “Z” shape. You can use these shapes to your advantage as you consider where to place the information you want your audiences to see most.
Keep the Grid System in Mind
Just like in books, magazines and newspapers, the grid system works for presenting information on the internet. It’s even been proven that designers who prefer creativity and avoid the grid create websites that aren’t read as often. Stick a responsible, pre-made grid system to ensure your website looks good and is easy to read on large monitors and small smartphone screens alike.
Pay Attention to Imagery and Colors
The imagery and color scheme you use is an essential part of your overall web design. Too much color is too busy and can be bothersome on the eyes, so stick to only two or three colors in the scheme. Additionally, remember that some people are colorblind, so consider whether your scheme will be hard to read or completely unreadable by as much as 5 percent of the population. When choosing images, choose small file sizes that load quickly and only use images as an accent, not as your main idea. Avoid too much movement (GIFs are fun but not appropriate for many company websites), and always ensure you’re following the law in terms of copyrighted images.
Choose Web-Safe Fonts
Use services such as Google Web Fonts and Typekit to ensure you choose website fonts that work across multiple browsers. Choose serif fonts for your headlines but use sans-serif for smaller text since it is easier to read. Only use one or two different fonts to prevent too much “website clutter,” and remember to use fonts that aren’t so big that they cause loading issues.
By keeping things minimal and understanding how users take in information, your first attempt at web design is more likely to be a success.