10 Tips For Effective Web Design

Brad Traversy
Sep 28, 2019 · 4 min read

In this article I will give you 10 tips to make your web designs and layouts effective and not only have your users appreciate the look and feel of your site but also have them act on whatever it is that you are looking for them to do.

  1. Simplicity

Less is more in web design. Back in the 90's and early 2000’s, it was about creating these crazy designs with prominent background images, etc. The problem with that, is nobody cares. People these days just want a website that is easy to navigate and gets straight to the point. Keep your site simple with a minimalist design and just enough text to get your point across. People are very inpatient and just want to get what they are looking for. They do not care about some extravagant design, at least not in 2019.

2. Consistency

Keep your design and content consistent across your entire website. Things to keep in mind are font family, font size of headings and paragraphs, colors, content, image styles. You don’t want each page to look different than the other. As far as the layout itself, it is ok to have a bit of a different layout on the landing page, but inner pages should all have the same general structure.

3. Readability

In addition to your site being simple to use, make sure it is readable. One common mistake that I see is with large showcase areas with a background image, the text is placed over then image without having the image use some kind of dark overlay. This makes the text look hard to read and just looks messy. Be sure to create an overlay using CSS or just darken the image. Make sure your paragraph text is not too small and has a decent line height so that it is not all scrunched together. Spacing is also very important. Keep enough margin and padding between elements.

4. Responsiveness / Mobile Compatibility

In 2019 and beyond, there is no excuse to have a website that is not responsive. At the very least, all the text should be readable. This is easy to accomplish using media queries and CSS Grid. You can also use a framework like Bootstrap which is “mobile first” by design. More people use the web on smartphones than computers, your site needs to be responsive.

5. Simple Navigation

Users need to know how to get around your website and find what they need, so having simple and easy to use navigation is extremely important to keep them on your site and not look elsewhere. I prefer having the main navigation at the top and having a sidebar if you need something like product or blog categories. You can pull off a sidebar only navigation as well, just make sure it is user friendly in terms of sub-items, dropdowns, etc.

6. Have A Purpose

It should be clear what the purpose of your website is. Is it to sell a product? get a user to signup? contact you about your services? Know what you want from the user and incorporate that into the flow of your design and layout. If it is a small business website, convey to the user why they should use you over someone else and point them to what to do, which brings us to the next tip

7. Clear Call To Action

Having a purpose is not enough, you need to let the user know what steps to take. Have a clear call to action and try to have it above the fold in plain view so that it is right in their face. A call to action may be a contact form, signup or email subscription, purchase button or something else, but whatever it is, make sure it is obvious and easy to access.

8. Color Palette

Colors are important. You generally want to go with lighter colors as it supposedly instills trust. Many times, you may have a logo and branding colors to use. Just make sure the color scheme flows well together. Typically I will use a medium blue for instance for the primary color and then a slightly lighter blue for secondary and then a completely different color that goes well with the primary and secondary. I will also use different shades of gray from light to dark in certain areas. Just make sure the colors flow and do not use very bright florescent colors as it makes the site look tacky and old.

9. Load Speed

As I mentioned, people are very inpatient. If your site takes more than a couple seconds to load, many people will just move on. A big culprit of this is images. Make sure that you compress your images either manually before uploading or use some kind of software or service to compress and resize the images. Use the browser devtools to run speed tests and see what is slowing you down.

10. Minimal Ads

We all want to make money and having ads is absolutely fine for many websites, however do not over do it. It will make your website look tacky and shady and give people the wrong idea. Be strategic in placing ads and make them blend in with your theme, whether they are Google Adsense ads, affiliate links/banners or sponsors.

So those are my 10 suggestions for creating a web design that is effective in having it do what you want. Keep them in mind the next time you create a website layout.

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