I’m a strong believer that everything has a purpose and I’m not the only one. Charles Eames says “design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose”.
So with this in mind when it comes to designing, I aim to find out what the purpose is of each page first. This enables me, as a web designer, to meet particular needs for the site and can help to meet the users’ requirements.
I think it is important for a web designer to know what the user’s looking for and what their expectations are. They may want their website design to represent their business, is the site more information based, how much interaction does the site need. What sorts of engagement tools or methods are best?
Most users like to find information easily with as few clicks as possible, this is why it’s vital that the information is easy to read and absorb. I make sure the information is straight to the point and also structured with the headings and sub-headings; making them stand out using different font weights and using bullet points help too. Using Sans Serif fonts makes the content easier to read while choosing a good font size can indicate the relevance of the information. Sticking to a maximum of 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 font sizes to keep your design streamlined.
Clean and colourful
Selecting the correct colour palette will boost the user experience. Suitable colour combinations that complement each other can create the correct vibe for the site. I make sure I’m using the right colour palette that suits the user needs. I always make sure I use contrasting colours for the text and background; this makes it easy on the eye, therefore it is easy to read. I’m always careful when I use vibrant colours, as it can be brash. I use it for call to actions or even for buttons to allow it to stand out. My little trick when it comes to creating a modern but clean look is to add white space and structured margins.
Images can have a massive influence on brand position and can help to target your audience as images can be interpreted in many ways. This is why selecting the appropriate images for a website is important. Sometimes I don’t have high quality professional photos, so I buy images from iStockphoto to enhance the look of the website. I would also use videos, graphics or even infographics as they are a really good way to communicate in comparison to written text.
A good navigation allows users to move around your site freely, after all “the navigation bar was born right along with the Internet” ― Kendra Gaines. Devices for an effective navigation includes using a logical page hierarchy, using bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons, and following the ‘three click rule’, which means users will be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
Structure when designing your site is important. “What separates design from art is that design is meant to be… functional” ― Cameron Moll. Content should be placed attractively. Using a good structure ensures content does not appear messy and overload users. Using the grid layout we can arrange the content into logical sections and columns, which align nicely and create an aesthetically pleasing site.
As technology has improved, accessing websites has become expected from most devices. An effective designer will account for this by creating a responsive website. Ensuring that the content is accessible on all devices and the user experience is the same across different platforms.
Written by Nima Sultana Miah, Web Designer at ExtraMile Communications.
At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people’s creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member’s take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.