in Design

Great Web Design is About Respecting the Fundamentals

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Designers at times forget the fundamentals of design when they want their web design to come across as cutting edge, trendy, engaging and very intuitive. In fact many of them actually fool around with the fundamentals, tweaking and twisting them purportedly to suit their purpose. That’s where they go wrong because the best designs are those that stick to their fundamentals. It is the basic principles of design that must be the foundation of your website, everything else is built on and around these principles.

It’s a cardinal sin to forget these fundamentals, so let’s revisit some of them and see why their use ensures an effective design.

Conceptualize for the Audience

The client gives you a project brief and there is no doubt that you need to create a website that achieves the objectives laid down in the brief. But, more than anybody else you are designing a website for a particular target audience. So, make sure that your concept meets the needs, requirements, and expectations of this audience. This is important because an audience driven website concept ensures the website meets the highest standards of usability and user experience.

Start from Scratch

Don’t reuse a web design idea. Don’t tweak an existing website’s design, embellish it and present it to the client as something that’s new and unique. It might work for the client, but not for your audience. If you don’t start designing from scratch every single time you are designing a site, you might end up making the same designing choices you made in the past. As can be imagined, this doesn’t make for very unique designs.

If you base your design on an existing template, there is a good chance that you will put yourself under needless pressure to ensure that the design looks different. You will add unnecessary design element and features that will take your design down and not up.

Don’t Make Users Think

If you have conceptualized a design keeping the end users in mind, you have taken the first step towards creating a website that doesn’t make a user think about how to go about performing tasks on the site. The intuitiveness of the site’s navigation and architecture must be your focus of attention. You must ease the user’s process of getting from point A to B on your site. The website must deliver easily recognizable visual clues, in the form of your website’s design elements, which allow them to make sense of your website easily and quickly.

Relevant Images

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Nothing beats images to pump up the interest quotient of the site. But the images have to be relevant to the purpose of the site otherwise they won’t work towards capturing user interest. The parameter for choosing images isn’t just their relevance, though. You must choose images based on their emotive appeal as well. They must display an emotion that the visitor can empathize with and which will also bring forth the right kind of subsequent emotions from the visitors. This will ensure they make a positive buying decision regarding the products and services on the site.

Choose the Right Stock Photographs

More often than not designers have to work with stock photographs. They also have to work with clients who don’t have a budget earmarked for paid stock photographs. This means there are a very limited number of options available to them as far as the right photographs are concerned. In such cases, they make the mistake of picking boring, commonly used photographs on their sites. This is something that needs to be avoided. If you are unable to get access to unique stock photographs, think of using custom icons, or illustrated drawings instead.

Even if you need to pick from the commonly available stock photographs, make sure they are something that are not commonly seen on the websites that have a similar purpose to yours.

Effective Writing

In the quest to come up with visually impressive designs, there is another fundamental aspect of successful websites that designers tend to forget, and that is effective writing. They give no importance to the text on the site and this leads to the usability of the site going down. You must make sure that content is presented to readers in writing style that suits their preferences and in a way that will engage them. Make sure that the textual content on the site isn’t wordy and it is able to make its point clearly, concisely and with absolute precision.

Think Minimalistic, Not Simplistic

We are in an era where design minimalism is a popular approach to take, but designers think minimalism is all about getting rid of as many design elements as possible. But that’s wrong. Design minimalism centers on not making use of unnecessary design elements, and only making do with the most necessary elements. It’s not about making the design as simple as possible, but as clutter free as possible.

So, there you go. These are just some of the web design fundamentals that designers have to respect if they want their site is to make an impression on their target users. The whole objective of conforming to the fundamentals is to make sure you are able to design a website that sells. If you want a website to earn high ROI, it needs to stick to the fundamentals; there is no way around them.

About the author

Abhishek Agarwal heads Business Development at Rightway Solution, a leading mobile app development company. Abhishek is also an expert on eCommerce web design


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.