Web design is the process of designing, arranging, and implements web pages to be viewed on web browsers. But that it’s more complicated than it sounds. Web design often involves a lot of different specialties – including graphic design, UX design, responsive design, and much more.
If you’d like to learn some of the basics of good web design, you’re in the right place. In this blog from Australian Internet Advertising, we’ll discuss some of the basic elements that are used to create websites that are aesthetically appealing, functional, and useful for visitors.
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Understanding Common Visual & Functional Web Design Elements
Website design is a complex and deep field, but a simple way to break down the basics of what web designers do is to break down the different web design elements used to create a website. Broadly, these can be split into two categories – visual design elements, and web design elements.
Visual Web Design Elements
Visual elements are what makes your website look good. While they may contribute indirectly to functionality, they primarily are used to create intuitive page layouts, make it easy for a visitor to understand your website, and accomplish a particular goal – like encouraging a visitor to sign up for a consultation, call for service, or buy your products. Here are a few of the basic visual elements that are used in web design.
Written text or “copy”
Though website copy is informative, it’s considered to be a visual element, since the written elements on a web page have a strong effect on the appearance of the website. Website copy needs to be clear, concise, and have a strong purpose. To be as effective as possible, it should inform users without overwhelming them, and encourage them to take a particular action on a webpage.
Color design is very important in website design, particularly for building the image of a brand. Web designers will typically help small business owners choose a colour scheme that reflects how they want their business to be perceived. Blue, for example, builds trust among customers – so if trust is important to a brand, a colour palette based on blue may be chosen.
Fonts & typography
Along with colours, font and typography are essential for a website’s branding and image. Using consistent, easy-to-understand fonts on a website and even on social media pages helps improve brand awareness.
Today, sans-serif fonts are typically used in website designs, as they are easy to read, and there are lots of different fonts that allow designers to adjust a website’s style. It’s also very important for text to have strong contrast.
Black text on a white background, for example, is easy to read – while yellow text on a white background is not. Website developers keep this in mind when choosing fonts, typography, and colours for a website.
Modern web pages often use a “grid” layout where there are multiple different images, chunks of text, and other interactive elements laid out in a grid formation. This is visually-appealing, and also helps with mobile device support.
White or “negative” space is the space on a web page that’s not occupied by any text, images, illustrations, or other visual elements. It’s very important to maintain some white space in any web design, since this helps “break up” other elements and guides user navigation.
Images & icons
Images and icons are usually developed for websites by graphic designers. Custom icons and images add visual appeal to a website, and also help guide users as they navigate throughout individual web pages.
Video & interactive elements
Video is becoming much more common in modern websites, thanks to advances like HTML5. Many websites also incorporate other interactive elements, which vary based on the company and industry.
Functional Web Design Elements
Visual appeal is essential for a great website, but it’s not the only important part of web design. Web designers also have to consider the functionality of the website. This aspect of web design is primarily focused on conveying information to website visitors, and making it easier for them to use the website.
Properly-designed navigation menus are important for a good user experience. This can include navigation bars, menus in the footer of the website, and other elements that help users track their use of a website, such as “breadcrumbs.”
A call-to-action (CTA) is a command for a customer to take a particular action, such as buying an item, signing up for emails, placing an order, or taking any other such action. Proper use of CTAs is essential for any small business website.
Page speed & performance
Designers need to balance complexity and visual appeal with page performance. A web page that’s slow to load will drive away customers, so it’s important to optimize images, text, interactive elements, and animations to maintain a loading speed of 2-3 seconds or less.
Animations are a visual element, but can also help provide a website visitor with context about actions they’re taking. For example, if a form is not filled out properly, it can “shake” when the user submits it – alerting them that they need to take another look at it and fill it out properly.
A website including mobile support is no longer optional. Today, responsive design is the most common in website design. This type of design uses “reflowable” and “responsive” designs that adapt to the size of the screen a website visitor is using.
By using a responsive website template, a designer can create a website that works equally well on phones, tablets, and laptops alike – ensuring that all visitors have a great experience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimizing websites for search engine “crawlers” to get higher rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
There are a lot of steps that need to be done to optimize a new website for SEO, including proper content layouts for copy, creating meta descriptions and title tags, building a sitemap, tagging images with alt text, setting up a robots.txt file, and more.
User Experience (UX) design focuses on understanding how people actually use websites, and creating websites that are simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use. A/B testing and user testing are common steps in UX design, and are essential for making an excellent website.
Need Help With Web Development? Contact Australian Internet Advertising Today!
Whether you need help with website design and front-end development, or you require full-stack developers who understand both front and back-end development, Australian Internet Advertising is here to help.
With the help of our visual designers, developers, and user experience design specialists, you can build a high-quality website that’s sure to help you bring in more customers. Contact us now to schedule a consultation, and get the assistance you need.