6 Essential Design Tips For Beginner Web Developers

These six design tips will help you transform your web development project into a functional, engaging work of art. Although this is not an exhaustive list, we could easily dissect each component and take into consideration many more. However, in my early web development days, these six design tips were most helpful and still relevant to each build.

1. It is better to have less than you think

Simply put simplicity is the key to great design. K.I.S.S. may be a name you have heard. K.I.S.S. is not the iconic face-painted rock band from the 1970s. It’s the acronym that was created in the 1960s by the Navy, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” The easiest and most straightforward approach to solving complex systems, such as those involved in designing jet aircrafts that can be easily repaired by an average mechanic using only basic tools, is often the best.

Less is more

This is the same principle that applies to web design. The design should be clear and understandable by users, regardless of whether they are purchasing a product, service, or any other objective. Don’t overcomplicate your website. This includes the most basic elements such as layout, color selections and typography. Users expect websites that are simple to navigate and clean. Hick’s Law explains that the complexity and number of options can increase the amount of time it takes to make a choice. If a user feels overwhelmed by clutter or too many elements on a website, they might abandon the site and go to another business. You can rock ‘n roll all night, and still party every day, by remembering the acronym K.I.S.S. This acronym is not for the band, but rather “Keep It Simple Stupid”. As we dive into the specific elements mentioned previously, you’ll see that simplicity is a common theme in these tips.

2. Visual Hierarchy (and Layout).

Understanding the principles of visual hierarchy is one of the best ways to capture and control the user’s attention. Also, it helps to know how to use size (use space) and colors. Visual hierarchy is simply the process of arranging pages according to their importance. Before our brains can process individual parts of a website, they must read the whole site. Our eyes immediately gravitate to large, easily visible items (e.g. large images) and those with high contrast (e.g. call to actions buttons). Then we move on to smaller elements (e.g. navigation bars, subtext, or icons for social media).

Notice how your eyes immediately gravitate to the larger portions in the image.

Visual hierarchy utilizing size to attract the users attention to the largest portions and then guide it through the other (less important) elements Visual hierarchy is all about using “white space”. This is also known as negative space. It can be any color, gradient or background image, as long as it doesn’t distract from the main viewport. Designers and early developers often believe that there is too much visual activity in their viewport. This is completely false. White space is your friend. It minimizes distractions, makes your page look cleaner, and helps you to clearly communicate your site’s purpose. Recall that simplicity is a key principle of design and that negative space is the ultimate simplifier. Don’t be afraid to use the white space, and let your page breathe.

Color can also be used to naturally attract and control a users attention to help guide it where the designer wants it to go Consider the objectives and audience of your client when deciding how to create your layout. Make a list of all the components that must be included on the page (images and headlines, navigation bar, side articles, etc.) and rank them according to importance (what you are trying to accomplish). To get attention, the more important items should be larger or more contrasted in color. Other less important pieces should be complementary. If your client sells video games consoles or delicious steaks, you might use a large, appealing image of the product to grab their attention and convey a clear message about what your page is all about. Next, use a larger headline, but with a smaller font, to introduce the product and grab their attention. Then follow by sub-text and a call to action button to close the deal (the purpose) of your site. You can list and rank the components to help you decide how to highlight each one and how to create a layout that works best for your site.

3. Color scheme

Simple is the best choice when it comes to choosing colors. A page with too many colors or color schemes will make it difficult for users to focus and will result in pages that look cluttered and unprofessional. This will make your page look unprofessional and cheap, which can turn off potential customers. You should limit your palette to two to three colors and, if necessary, only limited shades to match them. The science behind how people react to and interpret different colors is called color theory. You must first consider your client’s purpose, identity, and the emotions they want to communicate to their audience. This image summarizes the feelings that each color evokes and is definitely worth looking at when choosing your palette. Although black and white can often be very effective when used in a scheme, they can also be too dark or too bright which may cause too much contrast or an unbalanced look. This will make it easier to mix and match colors and allow for smoother separations.

4. Typography

Limit your fonts, and think carefully about the associations and emotions your fonts communicate. You only need two or three fonts. Too many fonts can make your site confusing and lead to users leaving. There are four types of fonts available: sans serif, slab serif, script, and decorative. The fonts that are serif have “feet”, which is similar to the font you’re currently reading. They convey a more authoritative and traditional feel, while sans serif fonts don’t have feet (just like the bold numbered tips in this article). Script is a copy of natural handwriting and is often associated with creativity and elegance. Decorative fonts, which are more stylized fonts, may not fall under any of the categories above or may be made specifically for a company or brand (such as the Coca-Cola font). Below is a guide to fonts and associations. To create a solid website, you only need one serif font and one complementing sans-serif font for alteration. A common layout is to use sans serif fonts for headings and a serif font in general content. It is important to maintain consistency across a website’s pages. This means that your font selection should be consistent throughout. You should limit the fonts you use and select fonts that appeal to your client’s audience. Your website is the digital voice of your client. Therefore, it is important to choose the right tone for how you present the site to potential clients.

5. Research and Practice

Research is key. Practice is the only way to learn in any field. The same goes for design and development. Look at beautiful websites and ask yourself why they are so appealing. What are the most striking aspects? How did they get there? What is the best way to use color to communicate a message? What can the typography say about the company? What elements help you to grasp the purpose and follow up with a call for action? You should explore different layouts. The more you see, the more you’ll have a variety of ideas to create sites for a wide range of clients. You can steal the ideas and make them yours. Picasso stated, “Bad artists copy.” “Good artists steal.” Building duplicates of well-designed websites can help you gain a better understanding of the technical aspects behind the scenes. Make it yours.

6. Plan it out (Create an outline)

Construction does not begin with any type of architecture until detailed plans have been drawn up and agreed on. It is important to follow the same process when developing websites. Make a wireframe with paper and pencil of your layout. It will help you to rank and order the components. This will help you to understand the structure of your code and avoid making costly mistakes as you try to make it more efficient. Planning layouts that are responsive to different screen sizes and resolutions will save you time and help you decide the best way to design responsive websites.

Leave a reply