Creating a website takes a lot of work. You need at least some basic web design skills or a great platform to take out the guesswork. Still, there are some important tips that can help you navigate the process more efficiently and effectively. Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the basics of web design for beginners.

Web DesignWhat is Web Design?

Web design is the dynamic field of creating or maintaining a website over time. It includes a combination of aesthetic and functional elements strategically used to help optimize user experience. User experience defines great web design decisions, so it’s important to understand when designing your site.

Web Design vs. Web Development

A web designer focuses on the visual aspects of the website itself and everything that goes into creating a strong user experience (UX). A web developer deals with all the technical aspects (front-end and back-end development) of creating a physical website, including coding and programming. The two may overlap in some instances, especially if a designer learns web development to improve their understanding of UX. Otherwise, a designer and developer will work together to create a website.

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Principles of Good Web Design

A few basic principles can make your website more effective throughout the design process. The principles of good design include the following tips:

Align with User Habits and Search Intent — a well-designed site should consider how users navigate a web page to help create intuitive layouts.

Easy to Navigate and User-Friendly — website navigation should be clear, intuitive, and effortless for visitors.

Credible and Trustworthy — your site design and content should establish credibility and authority in your niche.

Simple and Direct — keep your design simple and clean to avoid confusion and make it easy to understand what you offer from the first second someone lands on your site.

Decluttered and Organized — an organized layout with minimal clutter can help you create a more effective website that increases conversions.

Follow a Visual Hierarchy — a visual hierarchy can help prioritize different elements on the page, providing your visitors with the most important information first.

Mobile Friendly — over 90% of people access web pages on their mobile devices, so you need a responsive layout that adapts to user behavior.

Tested Regularly and Adapted — test your color scheme, typeface, and design work to see if it’s working and make adjustments as necessary.

A Beginner’s Guide to Website Design: 11 Easy Steps and Design Tips

Learning web design can be a bit overwhelming, but starting with the basics makes it much more manageable. Whether designing your first website or looking to revamp your current site, here are some key concepts that can help.

1. Define the Purpose of Your Website

Before you start integrating any web design basics, it’s important to consider the purpose of your website. Do you want to raise brand awareness, or is your site going to be an e-commerce shop? Defining your site’s purpose will help you maximize the usability of your website and create a design tailored to visitors’ habits.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

Researching and understanding how your users think can help you create an effective web design built for your target audience. This can help you understand which layout design works best and how to maximize UI and UX according to user behavior. Then, it can be easy to apply web design practices that make your CTA intuitive.

3. Learn the Basics of Visual Design

The visual design includes things like the shapes and textures used throughout web design. It also incorporates the different effects of color theory, which involve tying emotion to the color wheel and strategically using complementary colors. You’ll need to determine which design elements will go well with your brand and how you want to structure your design on a grid. Knowing these things before you start is important, as they’ll represent your brand moving forward and can help you create a strong user interface (UI).

4. Consider Typography

Another essential part of graphic design is typography or font selection. While this usually comes down to personal preference, consistency will help you create a cohesive brand. However, you want your website to look professional, so it’s probably best to stay away from any extravagant or hard-to-read fonts.

5. Tie in User Experience (UX) Design

There’s a clear difference between good and bad design regarding UX. In fact, user experience can make or break your website. The goal is to engage your audience, so it’s good practice to learn how to build sites that do that. For example:

Understand your target audience

Create a clear visual hierarchy of information

Make sure your website flows and is easy to follow

Following this list can help you use the principles that enhance user experience.

6. Choose Your Navigation Strategically

Another one of the key principles of good website design is about creating intuitive navigation. The most common types of navigation include:

Top Navigation — the main menu is at the top of the webpage.

Hamburger Navigation — the main menu is a three-dot or three-bar icon that expands into a menu when clicked.

Footer Navigation — the main menu is embedded in the webpage’s footer.

Bottom Navigation — the main menu is at the bottom of the webpage (more common on mobile designs).

HTML and CSS Skills7. Brush Up on the Basics of HTML and CSS

You may also want to brush up on common web design and development language. Knowing the basics of HTML (hypertext markup language) and CSS (cascading style sheets) can help support a web design project and create more unique-looking designs that are tailored to your needs.

8. Research Effective Web Layouts

When you’re designing your site, you’ll want to consider your layout. Many design platforms offer cookie-cutter layouts that can easily be changed with drag-and-drop options. However, if you want a design that’s truly unique, some HTML and CSS will come in handy.

9. Implement a Responsive Web Design

Responsive design means that your website will look good regardless of what device it’s being viewed on. It will adapt to fit your visitors’ screen and can be navigated just as easily on a phone as on a desktop.

10. Create a Content Plan

Another one of the key aspects of web design is content. Content creation can help draw people in and keep them coming back. As things get busy, it will be important to know your strategy ahead of time, which is why creating a content plan is recommended.

11. Test Your Website

After you build a website, you’ll want to test it to see how it’s received. Your first design may seem great, but it could be confusing to visitors using your site. Perform A/B testing and make adjustments as necessary.

While these tips are a great starting point, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in partnering with an affordable web design team to maximize your online presence, contact Operation Technology today.

About the Author: Bill Dolan

Bill is an award winning designer with more than 25 years in graphic and professional website design. He has experience in almost every area of creating art from his early days as a keyline paste-up artist to POS design to GRAMMY nominated album art.