Website Design Essentials: 5 Must-Haves

When people think of web design, they often think of things like graphics, page layout, and attention-grabbing fonts.  While these elements are certainly part of web design, the truth is that web design encompasses much more than just aesthetics.  Are you interested in learning more about what makes a great website design?  Then check out these five must-have website design essentials:

Navigation.  This pertains to how people will get around on your site.  You can’t make them work for it, and you want all of your content to be readily available.  Good navigation is the answer.  Use primary navigation, secondary navigation, text menus, internal links, search boxes and breadcrumbs wisely throughout your site to ensure your site visitors can easily find what they are looking for.

Leading the eye.  In addition to navigating through the site, you must also help visitors determine how to focus their attention on each page.  You must “lead the eye,” so to speak, by strategically applying weighting, placement, positioning, spacing, and highlighting techniques to guide your visitors from areas of primary importance to supporting, or secondary, areas.

Typography.  The type and size of font you use will greatly impact the user experience, and will go a long way in creating the impression you want (or even one you don’t want, if you are not careful).  Additionally, you must consider line spacing, text effects, line length, paragraph size, and emphasis (italics and bold) when placing your typography.

Clarity.  While it may be tempting to pack your website with all the neat graphics and informative content you can, it is more important that your site visitors can easily ascertain what is on your page.  Keep in mind that simplicity is almost always preferable over complexity when it comes to web design, and that too many visuals (and/or too much information) could end up looking like nothing more than a jumbled mess to your site visitors.

Search engine optimization (SEO).  Your site is no good if others can’t find it on the web.  When it comes to website design, good SEO practices include using alt text for images, no-following outbound links that are irrelevant to the site, and labeling page titles and headers effectively.