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Web Design Fundamentals – The must have design features for any website

Web Design Fundamentals - The must have design features for any website

Web Design Fundamentals – The must have design features for any website:

Web design is an ever changing profession to some degree, with many new design ideas, concepts and technologies on tap to choose from.

There are however some fundamentals that all websites must adhere to in my, and other peoples opinion.

This list is not exhaustive and open to debate.

It does however cover the basics that I always like to consider prior to design and launch of a new website.

I will not go into the debate surrounding ‘form over function’ as I will save this for another post, though I will allude to my own thoughts in a nutshell on that topic.

Useability lesson:

Never make a visitor think too hard about how to use your site…crazy designer alert!

This in my opinion is a useability must.

Subjective to some degree I know, but not without the ability to test and work out how far the site has gone beyond expectations and is potentially in the land of ‘how do I find that’ reactions….not good, unless it is a one-page design lead website, then crack on…most websites in my opinion should refrain from going too crazy on design, and stick with some general design layout familiarities.

Here are some further basic fundamentals to consider:

1) Colour theory

Colour is a psychologically influencing factor that transcends, yet at the same time supports cultural boundaries, red may mean one thing in China and another in Norway, yet we can all perhaps understand that red has an air of danger and energy about it. This is partly down to cultural identity and values being presented in colour, from flags, to postage stamps to the colour of houses and what we sing about in nursery rhymes, all these factors influence our colour response inherent in our gene pool and in our minds.

Making sure we work with colours that feel right for their intended purpose is key to good design.

2) Good use of images and fonts

Along with colour theory we need to start thinking about what images will be within the site pages and layout, are they abstract, natural, solid colours and are we ensuring that they are in keeping to the eye.

Font wise, we need to make sure that we dont go to crazy with cool looking fonts as they can often be tough to read and do not always format well for every screen, sticking to Helvetica style fonts for body text (sans-serif) and going perhaps a bit more creative for headings is often a wise choice.

Your current brand guidelines (if you have any) may already tell use what to go for here.

We now have icons that we know and love (a magnifying glass for search, shopping baskets for carts, and letters for emails/contact) sure we can change these but the best way in my eyes is to integrate and be different and not try to rewrite conventions but to add a new stamp on them, keep them with your style of website, font, colour, size and weighting etc.

But don’t (in my opinion) confuse someone with a pigeon design for the new email icon just because it is loosely related to messages being sent (in your head)…:)….you see my point here?

3) Useability

When visiting a website some familiarity is far from your enemy. Over many years form and function of good websites has slowly been defined by best practices and what works based on usability and best practices worked out from millions of man hours of tests, attempts to redefine the norm can often frustrate people

4) Quality coding

Coding at its basic will involve CSS and HTML and is the rock which creates the design to sit upon, the foundation of your website, and while you can get away with poor quality coding to have a website up and running, you will likely lose out on bonus points from Google if your coding structure is not semantic and high quality, as it is common knowledge that the algorithm that Google use for search engine results has an element of seeking quality coding that will aid viewers from all backgrounds, with a focus on disabled users who use screen readers where the coding is stripped away and the website can be read aloud.

Poor coding will lead to a poor experience for these more vulnerable users.

5) Responsive

Are you reading this article on a mobile or tablet? Chances are in 2014 and beyond that you are, all my websites are as of early 2014 responsive, unless specifically requested or deemed not worthy (rare).

So, should we not have a responsive design for your website that caters to these varied screen sizes?

Answer: yes.

We of course need to provide that option, this is for sure, with only a split second for people to get annoyed and go to another more attractive, quicker loading web page, if your website does not look right on all devices and work well on smaller screens you are in for lost visitors due to providing a poor experience, and we dont want that now do we?

Now there are many other factors to consider in web design, but I hope that this has given you some food for thought and would love to hear of other areas that you all bring in as part of the design process.

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Anthony Munns

Anthony Munns

Anthony Munns at Freelance Web Designer
I am a Freelance Web Designer and Digital Marketing Professional. Contact me today using the various methods you see and let us start discussing your next project. I offer Web Design (WordPress and Magento) High quality SEO and PPC, and Animated Explainer Videos and Strategy.
Anthony Munns

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