The 5 Principles of Web Design

Web design principles help you do just that, and there are several key ones to consider when designing your site. Here are the five most important ones!
Published on
March 9, 2023

The internet has made it easier than ever to find information on just about any topic imaginable, which makes it all the more important that your website be easy to use and navigate. Web design principles help you do just that, and there are several key ones to consider when designing your site. Here are the five most important ones:

1) Don’t make the users think

According to Krug’s first law of usability, the web-page should be obvious and self-explanatory. In other words, users shouldn’t have to think about how to find information or navigate your site; the website should do that for them. But it’s important to remember that even Krug was quick to point out that obvious is not the same as easy. For example, Amazon’s site is simple and intuitive—it allows visitors to quickly search for products using filters, categories, and keywords—but sometimes it can still be a challenge to find exactly what you want. 

If the navigation and architecture of the website are not intuitive, the number of question marks grows and it becomes harder 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 recognisable links can help users find their way to their destination.

2) Don’t squander users’ patience

Patience is a virtue for users, not for you. Regardless of how fast your site loads, it’s not as fast as a user thinks it should be. The average mobile user in America loses patience after only 3 seconds, and 53% abandon a page that takes longer than 4 seconds to load. Users have few expectations when visiting your site and they certainly don’t expect anything less than 100% performance at all times. That said, your number one job when designing a website is to keep your user requirements minimal. When possible, consolidate everything into one file instead of multiple ones so users aren’t waiting for each script to load.

3) Manage to focus users’ attention

The first step to good design is knowing what you’re trying to achieve. To do that, you must understand your target audience and why they’re visiting your site. What information do they need? How can it be structured and presented in a way that is easy for them to understand? Also, consider how long users are likely to spend on your site, and think about what could distract them from their task or goals.

The human eye is a highly non-linear device, and internet users can detect edges, patterns and movements instantly. For this reason, video-based advertisements are extremely annoying and distracting, but from a marketing perspective, they perfectly fulfill the task of grabbing users' attention.

4) Strive for feature exposure

It doesn’t matter how pretty your site is if no one ever sees it. The more prominent you can make your new feature, the greater exposure you’ll get. If there are multiple ways for visitors to engage with your site (or notice a certain feature), then don’t focus on making just one of those activities easier; instead, think about offering multiple opportunities for engagement. For example, if you're launching a new shipping service on an e-commerce site and don't want to interrupt customers' shopping experiences, consider taking advantage of in-cart reminders or order confirmations by promoting them prominently in emails sent out after each purchase.

It is a basic principle of successful user interface design that the user can clearly see what functions are available. It is not really important how this is achieved. What is important is that the content is well understood and that visitors feel comfortable with the way they interact with the system.

5) Make Use Of Effective Writing

You can read more on design style and find out what to do with them here.

We all know KISS is good advice, right? KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid (or what’s old is new again). Well, if we don't know then lets talk about it for a few minutes and learn why KISSing is so important when writing content for your website. If you overcomplicate things, people will get turned off from what you have to say.

Talk business. Avoid cute or clever names, marketing-induced names, company-specific names and unfamiliar technical names. For example, when describing a service and asking users to create an account, "Sign up" is better than "Start now!", which is better than "Explore our services".

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