7 Tips for Good Web Design Cont.

Continuing from the previous post about the basics of good design techniques. This is predominantly aimed at new designers, or those wanting to take up design as a hobby or career. Welcome to our world!

Footers are so often overlooked that I simply must mention them here. Many designers don’t put any value on a footer in a design. They are there merely to carry the copyright information and other company or site info. They can be much more than that, as many newer designs can testify. They can include links to other site resources, external links and carry other information designs to keep a visitor on the site. The creative use of a footer can intrigue a user when they have scrolled to the bottom of a page and are about to leave. Having something there to catch their eye or attention is a great way of redirecting them within the site.

Navigation is the second most important part of any site after the content. If visitors can’t find their way around then they aren’t going to venture further than the home page, which makes the site a very expensive landing page. Navigation is the only way people get around, and if it isn’t clear it will either baffle or confuse users, which is the best way to lose them. Proper navigation reduces the frustration visitors might feel when moving around and removes a barrier between them and the content or product.

White Space is essential for any page that has content, be it written or graphic. Not only does it add contrast between the background and the content, it also give the eyes space to move around the page. There is nothing worse than visiting a page that has tight copy packed between other page elements in order to squeeze as much onto it as possible. It might inflate the page count a bit, but the effective use of whitespace is a major contributor to whether a design works or fails. Good use of whitespace gives the whole page room to breathe and making visiting it a much more pleasurable experience.

Detail is what you add when a design is almost finished, but needs a little more punch. It can be anything from adding shading, gradients or shadows to graphic elements to little touches that add so much to the overall appeal of the page. Be careful not to overdo it though as it’s all too easy to go overboard with finishing touches. Learn when to say enough is enough.

These 7 tips are what I regard as essential basic training for would-be web designers. You need to get each one exactly right in order to get the most out of every design. The most important ones to get right are Navigation and White Space, as without them no design is going to work. It won’t matter how much detail is on the page, or how clever your CSS is, if the content can’t be read or accessed by the users it’s a fail.