15 Web Design TipsWednesday, May 30, 2012 · Share
Creating an effective and pleasant web design for a set of pages is a very difficult task. When you start with a blank white canvas, you have to consider far more than the color scheme, the typography, the positioning, the alignment and so forth. You have to consider the non-visual aspects of the page. What message is this page going to convey? What are users going to need to do? What is the function of the page and how can that best be presented? How will users be accessing this page and what will the capabilities of the devices be (e.g. mobile versus desktop?) The answers to these questions affect your design in a huge way, before any visual tweaking is done. And in order to develop a truly good design, you need to analyze all of the pieces that go into it. To help you with this, here are 15 web design tips.
If you're new to design check out the book "The Non-Designer's Design Book" by Robin Williams for a great introduction.
Attention spans online are short so make sure your site's functionality is both seamless and fast whenever it can be.
Most users scan web page content versus reading everything on the page so make sure your page is scannable. Contrast in type helps.
Think outside-in over inside-out. Not what we (the company) needs from the user but what the user needs to do to accomplish their task. Make it easy!
Add on-page hints and calls to action for users to notice and perform in order to help them achieve their goals.
Split large forms into wizard form with steps and clear labeling. This tip can be taken into larger context under the idea of "progressive disclosure"
Work on multiple web design projects at once with varied requirements, colors, layout, etc in order to expand your perspectives and creativity.
If you're stuck, try to readjust your attitude / approach to your design in order to bring in a different perspective. Analyze what you want to change
Make sure you have a balanced color scheme in place. There are some good online tools you can use to make a scheme, such as Adobe's kuler.
Beautify your URL's to assist in search engine optimization and to improve navigation clarity.
Use font size scales with pleasant proportions such as a 3:4 scale.
Be wary of line-height. Try to use a line-height of about 1.1 for headings and 1.5 for paragraph text.
Try to keep paragraphs no wider than 60 characters in width for readability. Also a minimum font size of 14 pixels is a good idea.
It's good to have an image with a quality alt attribute as well as a value-added external link per page for SEO and user experience purposes.
Avoid CAPTCHAs at all costs. There are alternative solutions out there, such as the Honeypot Trap or math questions, which can block 99.9% of spam.
Related: More web design tips from other Wizgig users.