Three Tips for Good Web Page Design
By Gianni Truzzi
When you're designing a website, you need a solid grasp of design principles common to all of the graphic arts, such as color theory, typography and visual balance. In addition, there are a number of standards specific to web site design that are important to keep in mind while earning your web page design degree. What all of these ideas have in common is the concept of usability—a well-designed site is not just visually appealing, it aids users in their search for information through effective use of site content, an intuitive and easy-to-navigate page structure and clear, memorable visual design.
1. Provide Useful and Easy-to-Find Site Content
- Communicate information clearly to the user, minimizing the time needed to search around the page or on the website. Too many extraneous visual or textual elements can be confusing, and may cause viewers to leave the site if they can't easily find what they're looking for.
- Don't underestimate the power of effective writing. Be straightforward and get to the point without being too long-winded or getting bogged down in marketing language. It may not seem significant in a web page design program, but content is the most important part of your website.
- Make sure the layout of your text is visually easy to follow, choosing colors, fonts, headings, images and bulleted lists that grab attention without being chaotic. Keep things legible, and don't use too many different fonts and font sizes.
2. Guide Users with a Clear Structure
- The structure of the site should be clear so that users can intuitively find what they are looking for without spending a lot of time searching.
- Be consistent in layout and presentation. Don't change the design of every page or constantly shift the placement of elements such as menus, logo or navigation bars unless it makes sense within your web page design.
- If your site consists of multiple pages, make sure the navigational structure is clear. Make menus easy to find, with section names that are simple and understandable. Help the user out by making links similar to the headings on the pages they link to.
3. Support Structure and Content with Effective Visual Design
- In web design school, you'll learn classic design principles such as emphasis, balance, composition and color theory can be used to focus attention on important aspects of the site's content or structure.
- Visual components (such as images or white space) and typographical elements (such as font and spacing) are powerful tools that can help designers create an accessible and easily usable site.
- Remember to keep it simple and economical. Limit your design to those elements necessary to the structure and content of the site, make those elements apparent and give them a clear purpose. Always try to void distracting users with extraneous items.