11 Basic Design Principles for Web Developers

In this day and age, your website most likely gets way more visitors than your physical stores. Does this in the least begin to explain the importance of web design? Your success as an entrepreneur is pegged on the success of your website. It should scare you to have a less than optimal website. Your goal is to have your site as one of the favorites.

A website is more than just its look and feel. Web design when properly applied while creating a website also factors in its usability. Users experience is paramount. They are why you started that business in the first place.

I should probably state that 48% of people use your website to decide whether or not your business is credible.

The Evolution of Web Design.

History has it that the very first website contained hyperlinks and texts. This was all the buzz back in the day and people were excited to see text and then other texts underlined in blue. If your website shares similar characteristics, then it’s safe to let you know that you are in the very first step of web design, you still have a long way to go.

Basic Design Principles

Thereafter, estimatedly in the late 90’s, there was the inclusion of images and icons. I guess you know what’s coming next. If your website is at this stage, yes, you are officially stuck in the late 90’s. We are in 2019. An alarm should be ringing loudly letting you know that the work is overdue and it needs to be done immediately.

Web design has come a long way, to the point where it incorporates graphic design just so that the user can be satisfied with the experience. However, all these changes may still be confusing to some. This article seeks to unpack all the basic design principles that need to be observed.

If you are looking to create an effective website this is the checklist that you need your web designer to consult. If your website is able to leverage on these 11 principles, your work will be made so much simpler. Without further ado, these are the underlying web design principles that should be applied to achieve an effective website.

1. Mobile Optimized (Responsive Design)

Statistics show that up to 2.5 billion people will be owning smartphones by this year (2019). I can authoritatively state that the number of people who own desktops is far less than that figure. Now if your customers can only access your website through a desktop, you are doing yourself a great disservice. An average smart phone user is known to check their phone up to 150 times a day. This tells you that you have 150 chances every single day to captivate a new customer. I mean imagine all those missed business opportunities if your website isn’t mobile optimized? In this new age this principle of web design is not only logical, it is an absolute necessity.

Allow your potential clients to access you from anywhere while doing anything. If you don’t already have this on lock, I strongly suggest you get working on it even before we delve into the second principle.

2. Website Loading Time

Who likes to wait? I know for a fact that I don’t. I’m certain you’ll agree with me on that one. This is a complete no no. When your site gets a visitor and it takes forever for your page to load, you’ve lost them completely. That is literally the first impression they get of you as a brand. As a matter of fact, the average time that a user expects to wait for your site to load is below 2 seconds. Imagine losing out to your competitor because they got that part right and you didn’t. Work smart. Google has a few tools that can help you check your pages loading time and from there you can work on improving it if it’s not so great.

3. Effortless Navigation

How would you feel if you overheard two people speaking about a certain website (happens to be yours) and described it as a maze. Devastating right? If the web design makes it a grueling process to achieve anything while on the site, then it beats the whole idea of having a website in the first place. It is important to create differences within the elements. Picture a physical store, it is designed in such a way that you as the consumer are able to easily locate what you need. A website should function in the same way. The use of different colors, sizes as well as the placement on the website should be objective. When a potential client finds your site to be friendly, chances are that they will visit it again.

4. Simplicity

Simplicity

Less is more. So the two points we’ve previously talked about tie into this one point. The loading time and the ease of navigation are determined by the simplicity of the web design. Simple should not be confused to mean basic and bland. It means that there are no unnecessary features that add no value to the site. That the website has not been overpopulated by elements to the point that the users get distracted.

5. Color Scheme and Images

Here simplicity helps you achieve the appropriate choice of color scheme and images to accompany your content. It may seem like you have a wide array of colors to choose from and that you could employ as many as you want to. But is that really the best route to take? The intent is to attract and retain and not distract. Your goal is to create a gratifying aura that leaves an impressionable impact on your visitors. While selecting your color scheme, ensure that you choose a palette that completely differentiates you from your competitors. Build your brand by making it recognizable. Thereafter, be consistent with the color scheme. This will enable your clients to easily identify you. The same principle goes for images. The use of too many animated and vibrant images together, will work against your intended goal.

6. SEO Optimized

I know I’ve been on a roll about optimizing your site so that the users will be satisfied with the experience. However, I also need to mention that it is important for your site to be optimized for browsers as well. Statistics show that the first page on google captures up to 92% of search traffic. Here’s the shocker, the second page attracts only 6%. This is why your page needs to be browser optimized as well. So that you rank higher and appear on the first page of search engines. That’s where everyone goes. Additional evidence as to why you should take this more seriously, 7 out of 10 new users find a site through a blog. Be found out today, be SEO optimized.

7. Enabled CMS

Enabled CMS

Closely related to the previous point, this one is also about content. There is need to have engaging, captivating and informing content that is being churned out from time to time. An interesting statistic I’d like to share is that every day, 2.7 million blog posts are uploaded online. That goes to show that if you aren’t putting out any new content, there is an array of options that your prospective clients get to choose from. The content management system helps you to stay ahead of the pack by keeping your momentum in check. With it, you are able to publish and modify digital content as and when need arises.

8. Social Media Integration

Technology is amazing. This is in a nutshell a free marketing opportunity. While designing your website it is of great importance that all your social media platforms are integrated within your website. This provides a seamless way in which a prospective client can easily land on any of your social media pages by simply clicking on an icon on your website. There you have a second chance of converting a non-believer to a recurrent client. It also goes a long way in increasing your visibility as brand without having to go deeper in your pockets to employ the services of marketing company.

9. Analytics Check Enabled

So you have probably configured your website to perform certain activities. You need to be able to find out whether or not the website is actually doing what it’s designed to do. As you design your websites, it is important to ensure that the final web design incorporates key metrics such as traffic or conversion.

10. Website Security

Website Security

Data protection is extremely important. It would be great not to be on the receiving end of lawsuits. Data security is extremely crucial for websites especially those dealing with e-commerce. Clients need to be assured that whatever personal information they convey to you cannot easily be accessed by a third party and used against them. So one should provide privacy protocols such as basic security check to protect client and user data. This is a fragment of web design that cannot at any cost be sidelined.

11. Conversion Optimized

So conversion simply explained is the number of visitors who are converted to clients. This is basically the dream of established websites. You would like your site to get visitors not just for the sake of it. You would like those visits to translate into money in your pocket. The web design that you select should be able to link your landing page with the prospective clients search, this ensures that you achieve seamless engagement. A fun fact that will motivate you, 70% of websites don’t have a CTA on their landing pages. You know what to do, be in the 30% that actually do and witness a significant rise in the conversion rate.

In Conclusion

These web design principles are the basics that every web developer needs to have mastered to come up with an engaging, usable and aesthetically pleasing website. As a client in this era, this is the bare minimum that you need to ask for. Any web developer who in the least makes it seem like they are not, is not to be engaged with. With this list, I hope that the world of web design has been unraveled and that you are now able to make informed decisions.

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