Your website isn’t merely a component of your business – it’s the key that unlocks your brand’s potential.
But crafting a site that truly stands out amongst the crowd in Peterborough isn’t as simple as selecting attractive images and penning engaging copy. At XenMedia Marketing, we understand this challenge.
Web design is a complex craft, calling for an understanding of design theory, an emphasis on functionality, the careful choice and placement of UI elements, and an unwavering focus on usability and accessibility.
However, with our comprehensive guide on website design and development, we aim to make the process more approachable and achievable for you.
Whatever your starting point, whether you’re looking to build a website from scratch or elevate an existing site, you’ll find practical, actionable steps and expert insight to empower your journey.
For more detailed cost considerations, we recommend reading our article on how much website design cost.
Design Theory: The Foundation
Before you delve into website development or website construction, it’s essential to understand the basic design theory.
Principles of Visual Perception
Visual perception is an important aspect of web design.
Here are some principles of visual perception in web design:
- Gestalt principles: These principles are about perception and what is visually communicated by objects. They speak to the core of nearly everything we do graphically as designers. They include figure/ground, similarity, proximity, common region, continuity, closure, and symmetry.
- Scale: Scale refers to the size of elements in relation to each other and the overall design. It can be used to create emphasis and hierarchy.
- Visual hierarchy: This refers to the arrangement of elements in a way that suggests importance or order. It can be achieved through size, colour, contrast, and placement.
- Balance: Balance refers to the distribution of visual weight in a design. It can be symmetrical or asymmetrical.
- Contrast: Contrast refers to the difference between elements in a design. It can be used to create emphasis and hierarchy.
Understanding these principles can help designers create effective and visually appealing websites that communicate their message clearly to users.
Typography in Web Design
Typography is an essential element of web design that involves choosing typefaces, font sizes, line lengths, line spacing, and letter spacing to create a sense of cohesion between the content and website design.
Typography accounts for at least 90% of website design, making it a crucial element for anyone interested in web design.
Here are some principles of typography in web design:
- Hierarchy: Establishing a hierarchy is one of the most vital principles of typography. Typographical hierarchy aims to create a clear distinction between different types of content on a website.
- Readability: Good typography should optimise readability and accessibility, ensuring an excellent user experience.
- Balance: Typography should provide a graphic balance to the website and set the product’s overall tone.
- Typeface selection: Choosing the correct typeface for your website is important. Simple and standard fonts are recommended for body text, while fancy or unique fonts can be used elsewhere to mix it up.
- Emphasis: Emphasising certain elements within the body content, such as highlighting links or bolding important text, can help establish focus points and improve readability.
Colour is an important aspect of web design that can influence the user’s perception of a website.
Here are some considerations for colour in web design:
- Colour theory: Understanding colour theory can help you choose colours that add to your brand and create effective, smart designs.
- Colour schemes: Choosing a colour scheme involves using the colour wheel to choose accent colours and complementary colours and create appealing colour schemes.
- Psychology of colour: colour can evoke emotions and influence how users feel when they see different colours. Understanding the psychology of colour can help you choose colours that resonate with your target audience.
- Harmony: Colours should be used to create harmony and balance in the design.
- Consistency: Consistency in colour used throughout a website can help create a cohesive and professional look.
Functionality: Beyond Aesthetics
Aesthetics are important, but functionality is what keeps users on your website. Functionality is about interactive elements and website features that provide value and make the user’s journey enjoyable.
The Role of Web Apps
Web apps provide interactive experiences and add value to users. Whether it’s a booking form or a shopping cart, web apps make your website more than just an online brochure.
Mobile Apps and Web Design
Mobile apps and web design are two different approaches to creating digital products.
Here are some considerations for mobile apps and web design:
- Native mobile apps are built for a specific platform, such as iOS or Android, and are downloaded and installed via an app store.
- Mobile apps live and run on the device itself and have access to system resources such as GPS and the camera function.
- Mobile apps are typically used to complete a task, such as buying a product.
- Mobile apps can be faster and more efficient than web apps but require regular updates.
- Mobile web development involves optimising web apps for mobile devices.
- Web apps are accessed through a browser and do not need to be downloaded or installed.
- Web apps are primarily used for accessing information.
- Web design can be more cost-effective and scalable than mobile app development.
User Interface Design
A good user interface (UI) design makes your website intuitive to use, promotes user interaction, and improves conversion rates. UI design includes arranging UI elements like menus and buttons in a user-friendly way.
UI Elements: The Building Blocks
UI elements are the components that users interact with on your website. They include navigation menus, buttons, forms, and images.
Navigation menus are an essential part of web design.
Here are some reasons why they are important:
- Organisation: Navigation menus help organise a website’s content, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
- User experience: A well-designed navigation menu can contribute to a positive user experience by presenting an enjoyable, intuitive layout and increasing ease of use.
- Transparency: Navigation menus act as a road map to direct visitors to various pages and information on a site, providing transparency and clarity.
- Aesthetic appeal: Standardised, organised, and uncluttered navigation design increases the overall aesthetic appeal of a website’s design.
- Relevance: Navigation menus show the importance and relevance of website pages, content, and information.
Buttons, Forms and Images
Buttons, forms, and images are important elements in web design.
Here are some considerations for each:
- Buttons are essential for guiding visitors to take action on a website.
- They should be designed to look like buttons, with shading or other visual cues, indicating that they can be clicked or tapped.
- Button design should be clear, concise, and contextual.
- Forms are used for user input and should be designed to be efficient and easy to use.
- The structure of a form, including the order of fields and logical connections between them, is important for usability.
- Input fields should be designed for user input, including text fields, password fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, and sliders.
- Images can be used to create graphical submit buttons using the <input type=”image”> element.
- Images can also be used to enhance the aesthetic appeal of a website’s design.
- When using images as buttons or in other contexts, it’s important to ensure that they are optimised for web use and do not slow down page load times.
Usability: Making It User-Friendly
Usability is all about making your website easy to use. An intuitive user interface, clear content organisation, and a site layout that guides the user through the website contribute to better usability.
Accessibility: Ensuring Inclusivity
An inclusive website ensures everyone, including people with disabilities, can use your website. This involves considering factors like text size, colour contrast and providing alternative text for images.
SEO: The Backbone of Web Traffic
Here are some key points to consider:
- SEO traffic refers to visitors who find a website through search engines like Google or Bing by searching for keywords.
- Organic traffic represents visitors who arrive at a site by clicking on web pages through the search results, while paid traffic represents visitors who click on ads to arrive at a webpage.
- SEO is an organic way of driving traffic to a website and involves optimising various factors such as backlinks, keyword research, internal links, and meta descriptions.
- SEO is important because it drives the traffic needed to achieve key business goals such as conversions, visits, and sales.
- To increase SEO traffic, businesses can use strategies such as building content clusters, improving keyword strategy, updating existing content, and using other distribution channels.
By understanding and implementing effective SEO strategies, businesses can increase their web traffic and achieve their goals.
Importance of SEO-friendly code
SEO-friendly code improves a website’s search engine ranking and drives organic traffic.
Here are some reasons why:
- Search engines use a website’s source code and its architecture as a ranking factor, so having a good source code is important for SEO.
- Following SEO-friendly design practices is important because it keeps both users and search engines happy.
- Unique, relevant, and meaningful content is the most important driver of an SEO-friendly website.
- Creating an SEO-friendly website means that search engines can crawl each page on the website efficiently, interpret the content effectively, and index it in their database, which can lead to higher rankings on search engine results pages.
- An SEO-friendly website can generate organic traffic, get valuable traffic, be cost-effective, increase brand visibility, improve user experience, and more.
By designing and developing websites with SEO in mind, businesses can improve their search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to their websites.
Web design is a combination of creativity, technology, and understanding the user. By focusing on design theory, functionality, UI elements, usability, accessibility, and SEO, you can create a website that stands out in Peterborough.
Remember to budget appropriately for your website design project to ensure the best return on your investment.
When setting a budget, it’s crucial to understand the scope and potential costs involved. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve outlined some key considerations in our article on whether to choose a fixed price or an hourly rate for your web design project.
What is the importance of visual design in web design?
Visual design affects user perception and experience. It includes colour, typography, images, layout, and other elements that make a website attractive and easy to use.
How does functionality impact web design?
Functionality determines how users interact with a website. It includes web apps, mobile responsiveness, and user interface design.
What are UI elements in web design?
UI elements are the components users interact with on a website. They include navigation menus, buttons, forms, images, etc.
Why is accessibility important in web design?
Accessibility ensures that everyone, including people with disabilities, can use the website effectively.
How does SEO-friendly code help in web design?
SEO-friendly code helps search engines understand your content, improving your website’s visibility in search engine results.