10 Essential Elements of a Good Website
A user-friendly and appealing web design can appear difficult at first glance, but it is actually deceptively difficult since it involves delivering information and creating brands, as well as being technically sound and visually coherent.
There are many technical challenges in Web design (including my own), a relatively new medium that is rarely taught at design universities, and that the underlying technology changes as frequently as the medium does.
Therefore, I’ve created a list of the Top 10 Essential Elements of a Good Website. I’ve linked off to more reading on topics so you are not just hearing my opinion. The following disclaimers apply to my writing: there are no rules, different types of design work differently, and I don’t always follow my own advice. These are my observations, so please read them the way I intended them…
1. Order of Precedence (Eye-Catching Design)
The most important part of good Web design is the information that it provides. Priority is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for accomplishing this. A good design should guide the user around the screen. Priority refers to how much visual weight different parts of your design have.
The first thing you see on most websites is the logo. This is an example of precedence. The main reason is that it’s large and located in what research has shown to be the first place people look (the top left). As you probably want the user to know immediately what site they are on, this is a good idea.
However, precedence should go much further. You should guide the user’s eyes through a series of steps. For example, You may want each user to encounter logos/brands, a primary positioning statement, an eye-catching image (to create personality), then the body text, with navigation and a sidebar following in a secondary position.
The design of the Web site is what you can see, the Web designer is responsible for.
Priority can be achieved by employing a variety of methods:
- Position — The order in which something appears on a page clearly affects the user’s perception of it.
- Color — Bold and subtle colors can be used to direct the user’s attention.
- Contrast — Different things stand out; the same things are secondary.
- Size — Big is better than small (unless everything is big, in which case little might stand out).
- Design Elements — Where will the user look if there is a giant arrow pointing at something?
2. Space Between Elements
My first impulse when I started designing was to fill every available space with stuff. It seemed wasteful to leave empty space. In fact, the thinking is not true.
Making things more clear with spacing. You should consider the following three aspects of space when designing a website:
It is the space between the lines that directly impacts how readable the text appears. You can easily lose your eye when you move from one line of text to the next if there is not enough space between them. Hence, you have to find an acceptable middle ground. The ‘line-height’ selector in CSS can be used to control line spacing. I usually find the default value to be too little spacing. The term leading (pronounced ledding) originated from the way printers segregated lines of text in days gone by – by placing bars of lead between the lines.
In general, the text should not be touched by other elements. Text, for example, should not be touched by images, nor should borders or tables.
An element’s padding is the space between it and the text. You should always have space there, that’s the simple rule. Exceptions do occur, in particular when the text has a heading/graphic or if your name is David Carson 🙂 However, putting space between text and the rest of the world makes reading and viewing the text infinitely more enjoyable.
To begin with, white space is not restricted to being white. Empty space on a page (or negative space as it is sometimes called) is what the term simply refers to. White space can be used to balance, proportionately contrast and emphasize a page. For example, going to an expensive architect site will almost always show a lot of white space to give it the appearance of being elegant and upmarket. Learn how to use whitespace effectively by looking at how ads are laid out in a magazine. Many advertisements for watches, automobiles, and the like have an element of design that consists of lots of empty space.
A frustrating experience on a Web site is not being able to figure out where you are or where you want to go. For most Web designers, navigation is a concept we’ve mastered, but I still find some pretty bad examples out there. Keeping these two things in mind will help you navigate successfully:
Navigation — What are your options?
Following are some commonsense guidelines. A site’s navigation buttons should be easy to find, at the top of the page and easy to identify. They should be well described and resemble navigation buttons. The text of a button should indicate where it leads. In addition to common sense, navigation should be easy to use. In the case of a rollover sub-menu, ensuring a user can get to the items on the sub-menu without losing the rollover is crucial. The same can be said for changing the color or image on rollover.
Orientation — What is your current location?
Orienting a user can be done in many ways, so there is no excuse not to do so. If you have a small site, you might just need a big heading or a smaller version of the appropriate button in the menu. A larger site might use breadcrumb trails, sub-headings, and a site map for those who are truly lost.
4. The Design-Build Process
Though Web designers have transitioned to CSS layouts, it’s still important to think about how you are going to build a site when you are still using Photoshop. Think about things like:
Is it possible?
Your body copy might be written in an impressive font, but is it really a standard HTML font? It may look beautiful on the surface, but the design may be 1100px wide for most users, resulting in a horizontal scroller. I believe every Web designer should at least occasionally build sites, so they can learn what can and cannot be done.
How does resizing a screen affect it?
Is it necessary to repeat the background? Is that how they will work? Is the design centered or aligned to the left?
How difficult is it to do what you’re doing?
Some CSS positioning issues, such as vertical alignment, can still be a bit of a pain.
Can you simplify your design by making a few small changes?
The placement of objects in a design can sometimes have a significant impact on how you have to code your CSS. Crossovers of design elements add complexity to the build, in particular. For example, if your design has three elements, and each element is completely independent of the other, it would be easy to build. However, if all three overlap each other, it might still be easy, but it will probably be a bit more difficult. It’s important to strike a balance between what looks good and small changes that can simplify your build.
Can you simplify things, particularly for large sites?
I used to create image buttons for my websites once upon a time. Therefore, if there was a download button, I would make a little download image. I switched to using CSS to make my buttons a year ago and haven’t looked back since. Sure, it means my buttons are sometimes not as flexible as I would wish, but the time I save when I don’t have to build dozens of small button images is amazing.
Using different fonts to design a piece can convey different messages. The modern ones look different from the retro ones. You should always make sure you’re using the right tool for the job.
Several years ago, small text was trendy. Thankfully, people nowadays are beginning to realize that text is meant to be read, not just glanced at. Text sizes should be consistent, large enough to be read, and proportionately large so headings and subheadings stand out.
It is important to consider the spacing between lines and the distance from other objects. For the Web, you have less control over the space between the letters, so this is less important.
You should generally keep your lines of text short, but there is no hard and fast rule. They are harder to read when they are longer. Text is much more effective arranged in small columns (think about the layout of a newspaper).
Making low-contrast text is one of my worst habits. Despite looking good, it does not read well. Tsk tsk tsk, I seem to make the same mistake with every design I create, tsk tsk tsk.
I used to love justifying the text in everything before I started designing. My paragraphs had nice edges on either side. Auto-spacing often creates weird gaps between words when justified text is used. Reading left-aligned text isn’t good for your eyes because it might cause eyestrain. Instead, leave it right-aligned.
The process of designing a website goes beyond pretty graphics. It’s important for you, the designer, to take into account all the information and interactions required for a Web site. User-friendly Web design means making your site accessible.
A number of usability aspects have already been discussed: navigation, hierarchy, and text. The following three are also important:
Adhering to Standards
People expect certain things, and not providing them causes confusion. You expect a link to appear when text is underlined, for example. Otherwise, you are not practicing good usability. You can break some conventions as long as the major portion of your site fulfills the expectations of your visitors!
Think about what users will actually do
The purpose of prototyping is to evaluate a design before it is actually produced. We do this because we often notice little details that make a huge difference when actually utilizing a design. In a long-ago article, the American Library Association presented an excellent example of an interface design decision that can exacerbate frustration for users called Never Use a Warning When You Mean Undo.
Think about user tasks
What is the user actually trying to accomplish when they visit your site? Identify what various tasks users might accomplish on a site, what they’ll need to do to accomplish them, and how easy you want it to be. A common task on your homepage (e.g. ‘start shopping’, ‘learn more’, etc.) or providing something like an easily accessible search box would be helpful. People do not like to use tools that are bothersome, and Web design is no exception.
As with print design, keeping things lined up is crucial when designing for the Web too. It doesn’t mean everything should be in a straight line, but that you should go through and make sure that things are consistently placed on the page. Making your design more aligned makes it easier to read and to understand, as well as more polished.
Additionally, you may choose to use a specific grid to create your designs. I confess I don’t do this consciously, but I know Psdtuts+ is structured in a definite grid. Some of the best articles on grid design I’ve seen this year include Smashing Magazine’s Designing with Grid-Based Approach and List Apart’s Thinking Outside The Grid.
8. Clarity (Sharpness)
In Web design, you need to keep your design crisp and sharp. When it comes to clarity, it’s all about pixels.
There is nothing to worry about in CSS, but this is not the case with Photoshop. In order to make your design sharp, you need to:
- The edges of shapes should be snapped to pixels. If you’re creating them with Photoshop, this might mean manually cleaning up shapes, lines, and boxes.
- Any text should be created with the appropriate anti-aliasing setting. A lot of my work is done with Sharp.
- To ensure that borders can be clearly defined, make sure contrast is high.
- Simply exaggerating the contrast by overemphasizing borders just a bit.
9. Mobile-Friendly Layouts
Initially, websites were designed to be viewed on desktop computers. In order to accommodate these monitors, they were designed to operate with a point-and-click mouse. Due to the popularity of mobile devices, however, your website may receive traffic from multiple sources. Therefore, no matter what type of device visitors use, your web experience must remain the same.
Mobile-friendly website layouts are created leveraging the principle of responsive web design, which allows elements such as images, text, and user interfaces (UIs) to automatically scale and resize depending on the device used to access the site.
More than 54 percent of all web traffic worldwide is now coming from mobile devices. You could lose half of all potential customers if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.
An effective mobile site can be accessed by a smartphone user via a desktop-friendly site. It’s almost impossible for prospective customers to find what they’re looking for if text, images, and buttons are not resized according to touchscreen controls and small screen sizes. After a few misclicks, they’re likely to look elsewhere.
You may read more about Why Mobile Friendly Website is Important?
Consistency means that everything must match. The size, color, style, spacing, graphics elements, illustration styles, and the photography used in headers. It is necessary to theme everything to make everything on the same page and between pages coherent.
Being professional means maintaining consistency in your design. The same applies to errors in a design as to typos in an essay. The perception of quality is lowered. Consistency in design will always bring it to the next level. You should at least make it a consistent, bad design, even if it is an awful design.
Keeping consistency is as simple as making early decisions and sticking to them. It is possible for things to change during the design process for a really large site. As an example, when I developed FlashDen, the process took months. By the end, I had made some changes to my ideas for buttons and images, and I rewrote earlier pages to match the updated ones exactly.
A consistent design can also be achieved with a good set of CSS stylesheets. By defining core tags such as *h1> and *p> in a coordinated manner, you can avoid having to constantly remember class names.
Engaging and connecting with prospective customers can be accomplished through a well-designed, functional site, but the site can also serve as an excellent marketing tool. You may want to hire a professional web designer if you’re not very skilled. He or she will make sure your website meets all the above-listed requirements. You may contact also me if you are interested in my skills. I will be able to fill up your demands.
The 10 Essential Elements of a Good Website I’m listed above were hopefully helpful. If you want to learn more about web design, then I always highly recommend Skillshare/Udemy(Technology Used by Successful Businesses). The best platform to learn from the Professionals. They are friendly as well as helpful in helping you to learn everything you need to know about the course.