Basics of web design – what makes a website look good?

The popularity of the World Wide Web has made web design one of the most sought after services in many parts of the world. Not only are web design services in demand in first world countries where almost everyone has access to the Internet, developing countries such as India and the Philippines have also shown drastic growth in their web design industry. A web designer would always want to build a website that would encourage new users to visit back. With that in mind, web designers should always keep into consideration the following basic concepts in web design which can come in handy in terms of design improvement and usability.

1. Only use safe colors and color combinations. As much as possible only use a maximum of 5 or 6 colors on a website including text. Having too many colors may cause conflict in combination and may become eye-straining. It’s also better to have a solid text background so that the content is easily readable.

2. Fonts and font size matter. Just as colors may affect the user’s first impression, fonts and font size are an important element of a website as well. Using easy to read fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman is better especially in the content area.

3. Use meta tags. One of the basic concepts in doing offline search engine optimization, meta tags help search engine robots categorize a web page. Placing a targeted keyword in the title tag is essential and can boost the search engine ranking of a website.

4. Too many images. Using images enhances the appearance of a website, but let us not forget that images are heavier than text in terms of file size. Thus a web page with a lot of images may take the time to load and may cause a website to lose visitors. For SEO purposes, images should come with an alt tag in order to be crawlable by search engine robots.

5. Avoid flash (or too much of it). Flash animation enhances user experience and gives a website a more “modern” look. But the downside is it may take a long time to load which may not be good especially when not everybody has high-speed Internet connection.

6. Make a sitemap. One of the basic concepts in web design that a number of websites seem to take for granted. Sitemaps provide users an easy access to the rest of the pages of the website, giving them an easier time to look for the content that they want. Sitemaps are also important since they make it easy for search engine robots to crawl the pages of the website making indexing easier.

7. Easy navigation/usability. The last thing that a web designer would want is to confuse visitors with complicated navigational buttons. A website should make sure that its visitors have easy access to its content

8. Provide a search box. When navigation fails to assist users, their tendency is to look for a search box. A website should always have a search box to further help users in obtaining the information they want. Failure to do so may force visitors to look for another website instead.

9. Lastly, Avoid too many ads. Not only that too much ads may become annoying (especially flashy banners and pop-up ads) for users, too many ads means longer loading time, an issue that may cost a website its visitors. If you visit a website for a plumber, for example, chances are you need something fixed ASAP – do you really think an ad for a tree service or roof contractor would be effective in that situation, or just annoying? Don’t risk losing potential business just to make a few bucks on ads. It’s simply not worth it.

With millions of existing websites and thousands of competitors on targeted keywords, websites should make sure that they are providing maximum usability to their users. These basic tips are focused on enhancing the usability of a website, an aspect that should be given the same amount of importance and consideration as with the visuals and content of a website.