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5 Timeless Web Design Principles That Still Wow Users


It’s incredibly easy to build a website nowadays, with so many available website builders and platforms to host on. But putting together a website that successfully funnels and converts visitors into customers cannot be simplified into a drag-and-drop interface.

There are specific web design principles that have existed for a long time, that the most successful brands use in their website design process. In this article, White Peak Digital goes over some of the web design principles that still wow users, and how you can utilize them to your benefit.

Having a web design process

In order to maximize the efficiency and benefits of various web design principles, it’s important to have a web design process. Typically, your web design process should be broken down into simple steps, such as:

  • Goal identification
  • Scope definition
  • Sitemap creation
  • Content creation
  • Visual elements
  • Testing
  • Launch

According to Parachute Design, a Toronto web design agency, following a road map to launch and A/B testing your website elements can significantly reduce bounce rate.

Less is More

A minimalist approach to website design has been wowing users for a long time, and there are several benefits to using it. We’re not talking about extreme examples of minimalism, such as a white background with a single, centered blurb of text, but rather the idea behind minimalism.

Users are attracted to websites that have a clean design and usability. So minimalist design is actually less about artsy aesthetics as you might see in a website designer’s portfolio, because those extreme examples of minimalism are really just examples. The core idea behind minimalism is reducing clutter, and focusing on the most useful components of your website.

So you don’t need to adopt a strict black-and-white minimalist color scheme, you can still use bold colors and vivid photographs, but you should also make sure that your pages are free of distracting elements and clutter. Always remember that less is more.

Fitt’s Law

Fitt’s law is the stipulation that the time required to move to a target area, such as moving a mouse cursor to click a button, is a function of the distance to the target, and size of the target. In lesser words, it’s easier to click a button when it’s closer to your mouse cursor and the button is larger.

As an immediate example, music player apps typically have the “Play” button larger than other buttons around it, and it is usually centered so you can just immediately tap it to play or pause your music.

However, this doesn’t mean you need huge buttons, only that the most important buttons on your website should be slightly larger than those around them. A tiny button that is given a 20% increase in size will show benefits, but a button that is already very large wouldn’t benefit at all from the same 20% increase in size.

What you want to do is use a heat map of your website to figure out what buttons have the most frequent use, and then make the most popular buttons a little bit bigger and more prominent.

Visual Hierarchy

Designing your website based on visual hierarchy is always highly effective, as you draw attention to the more important parts such as forms, calls to action, menu items, etc. This is accomplished using size and color.

By making important parts of your website more prominent, you can guide users where you want them to click, increasing your funnel of success. Amazon, for example, has the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons larger than the rest, and in different colors, making them stand out visually.

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is the magical numbers that designers say are more aesthetically pleasing when your website is designed in proportion. There’s also the Fibonacci sequence where each term is the sum of the two previous terms: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.

To apply this to website design, let’s say your layout width is 960px, so divide that by the Golden Ratio (1.618) to get 593px. Thus, the content area width should be 593px, and the sidebar 367px, for a perfectly distributed ratio that is most visually appearing.

You can apply the same principle to the website height, for example if your website is 760px tall, you can divide it into 470px and 290px areas (760/1.618=470).

You can also apply the Golden Ratio principle to typography, to make your written content stand out and more attractive to your visitors.

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