15 Key Principles of Web Design

Updated on: June 3, 2024
Website Design Principles

Design is the first thing that a user observes on a website. It builds the first impression of your business in the mind of visitors. Therefore, it is crucial to design your website cautiously.

Moreover, the success of a website depends heavily on the design. A well-designed website helps you to establish trust among the users and encourages visitors to take action. And how does it achieve it? By following specific principles of web design.

Now, if you have plans to design a website for your business or modify an existing one, you should consider the best web design principles.

Here, we have done thorough research on the website design philosophy followed by leading websites worldwide. In this research, we have discovered some website design principles that one can apply to any website to make it great.

But before we move on to the principles, it is essential to understand the elements of a good website.

What Makes a Good Website Design?

A website design that conveys the core message, keeps the users engaged, and urges them to take a specific action is considered good.

Besides this, there are various other elements that contribute to the good design of a website. These include consistency, colors, font, imagery, simplicity, usability, and utility. Among them, usability and utility are the most important.

After understanding what makes an effective website, here we will look at 15 principles of web design that will make your website more appealing, user-friendly, effective, and engaging.

So, let’s start.

15 Effective Principles of Website Design

1. Define Purpose of the Website

Your website should fulfill the needs of the target audience. With the help of CTAs (call to action) and messaging, your website should convey its purpose.

For instance, you are promoting products or services of your business. Another possibility could be that you are offering tutorials to the users. Besides this, you might be in any other business.

Depending on the business, the purpose of the website can be different. However, any site’s core purpose depends on four points: presenting expertise, increasing reputation, generating leads, and offering customer support.

Here, as you are designing a website, you should ensure that your site’s purpose is clear to users within one or two sentences.

To form a powerful purpose for your website, you need to identify answers to legit questions like, Who is your target audience? What are their needs, and how can you satisfy their needs through your website?

By understanding all these things, you can decide a suitable path for your website.

2. Visuals to Keep the Users Hooked

Visuals are one of the crucial principles of web design used to convey messages and represent a brand’s identity. Here, design components like photos, videos, infographics, and other graphic elements should be used effectively on the entire website.

Visuals should express the feel of the company and support showcasing a brand’s personality. The majority of the time, users consume information via graphics. Hence, visuals are regarded as the first impression of any website.

Visuals to Keep the Users Hooked

Thus, using different things like a beautiful hero image, smooth transition effects, and animations, you can showcase professionalism and keep your users hooked on the website.

In short, all of your visuals should not take up the space of the website but enhance its design.

3. Typography Builds Impression

Even though your site’s design is astounding, the text draws visitors’ attention and acts as a visual representation of a brand’s voice.

Here, you should ensure that typography is not only attractive but also readable across the entire website.

Typography Builds Impression

Fonts should suit both the placement of text on a page and also the tone of the design. One general rule of thumb is to utilize a maximum of 3 fonts on a website.

Generally, cursive fonts are useful for decorative purposes, and classic fonts are suitable for large text blocks. Some of the popular fonts you can consider for your website are Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, etc.

Popular sans-serif fonts like Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, etc., can help you achieve readability.

Lastly, it would help if you made better combinations of fonts for all the design components like headlines, body texts, buttons, etc.

4. Colors Reflect a Brand’s Message

Colors have the potential to communicate and get good responses from the users.

Selecting a suitable color palette helps you communicate well, make content readable, and grab the users’ attention. One rule of thumb is to integrate a maximum of 5 colors on the website.

Colors Reflect Brand Message
Image Credit: Bonnaroo

For instance, a music & arts festival website can have many joyful color palettes, while a financial services website should have a serious color palette.

Moreover, color combinations also play a vital role in the readability of a website. A visually appealing color combination can help you gain users and keep them engaged. On the contrary, a dull color combination will draw users away from the website.

Lastly, a better strategy is to always check color combinations in a color contrast checker before keeping them on the website.

5. KISS Principle

Keep it simple & stupid (KISS) is one of the well-known principles of web design followed by leading websites worldwide. It points out that a website design should be minimal.

Why? Mostly, when a user visits a website, they crave accurate information for their answer and rarely think of the design.

Talking from a visitor’s side, the site should have the proper text and only the blocks without ads to satisfy what users are searching. By doing this, you will be able to provide a better user experience. For building an effective website, check out these excellent minimalist websites.

6. Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is one of the basic web design principles you should keep in mind while designing a website.

It is mainly the arrangement of elements based on their importance. It should enable visitors to look after the main components of the web page without reading the content.

Visual Hierarchy

You can achieve visual hierarchy by focusing on its chief principles such as size, color, page scanning pattern, headings & subheadings, white space, and space & texture.

Lastly, to accurately utilize visual hierarchy principles on your website, you should define your site’s primary business goals.

7. Consistency brings Symphony

Consistency is one of the basic website design principles that makes a website useful, and you can achieve it by focusing on the three main elements:

Visual Consistency: Elements on a website, when viewed appropriately, result in visual consistency. It allows users to understand the services of a website. Hence, you should make sure that fonts, sizes, headings, sub-headings, and button styles remain consistent in the entire website. To achieve the same, decide the suitable colors for your texts and buttons in advance.

Functional Consistency: It means all the controls of the website are functioning in a similar manner. It brings down how things are predictable to the user. A proper functional consistency would enhance the usability of a user on the website. Lastly, users will feel more secure while navigating through the website.

Internal Consistency: It is a merger of visual consistency and functional consistency. It enhances the usability and familiarity of the product/service on a website. Anytime you add new content to your website, you should focus on internal consistency. In short, the representation of the content should be the same on new & old pages. Ultimately, it helps users to understand things quickly and use them.

8. Effective Content Gives Meaning

Website design principles are incomplete without considering effective content for the website. By utilizing jargon-free, compact, and high-quality content, you attract more visitors to your website and urge them to take specific actions.

Here, SEO also plays a vital role in the content. Therefore, you should plan about SEO in advance and include necessary keywords and phrases using a conversational tone.

Besides this, you should also follow the content-first approach, where you have to write content before even starting the design process. By this, you can identify any changes down the line and correct them as and when needed.

9. Mobile Friendliness to Reach Wider Audience

Mobile Friendliness to Reach Wider Audience

With the increasing usage of smartphones, tablets, and other devices, having a mobile-friendly website is highly required. Moreover, it is one of the essential fundamentals of web design followed by every website.Therefore, you should consider designing a responsive website that is accessible across multiple screen sizes and devices.

By optimizing your website for mobile, you can provide a better user experience and increase SEO rankings.

Want to Create a Mobile-Friendly Website Design?​

Let us know your project needs. We will create a mobile-friendly website design as per your business needs at a cost-effective price.

10. Easy Navigation

Navigation is one of the most essential principles of good web design to consider while designing a website. Based on a clutch survey, 94% of users state that easy navigation is the most crucial feature.

It is absolutely right because people leave a website if its navigation is not good. Quick navigation consists of a simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use web page on a site. Also, it plays a vital role in retaining visitors.

Follow some of the website design tips given below to integrate effective navigation:

  • Include a navigation bar.
  • Build a logical page hierarchy by utilizing breadcrumbs and designing clickable buttons.
  • Follow the three-click rule through which users can get information in just three clicks.

11. Quick Loading Helps to Retain Users

Nobody likes to stay on a website that takes a lot of time to load. Moreover, based on a Google Survey, 50% of users expect a site to load within 2 seconds and leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

To ensure that your site loads quickly, you should optimize all the graphics. Besides this, it is better to make one ZIP of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to increase the loading speed.

12. Grid-Based Layout

Pointlessly putting content on a web page can make it look weird. The grid-based layout enables you to follow a proper architecture and manage content effectively. It assists you in keeping elements on the pages in a way that they are visible.
Grid-Based Layout
Image Credit: Curioos
Using the grid-based layout, you can place the components into a suitable grid structure with columns, sections, boxes, and that ultimately results in a visually appealing website design.

13. F-Shaped Pattern Design

The F-based pattern is the ideal method using which visitors scan content on a website. Various researches on eye-tracking have discovered that people look at the top and left side of a screen. Hence, you should appropriately design a website considering the standard flow of reading followed by users, i.e., top to bottom and left to right.
F-shaped Pattern Design
Image Credit: Curioos

14. Z-Shaped Pattern Design

A z-shaped pattern is yet another essential principle of web design. Here, the human eye goes from left to right and then top to bottom. Here is how it works.

Initially, the eye moves from the top left to the top right creating a horizontal line. Then, the eye passes down from the top right corner to the left side of the page forming a diagonal line. In the end, the eye travels to the right forming a horizontal line again.

Whenever users follow this path, it forms an imaginary "Z" shape.

So, when should you implement this website design principle? It is best suited whenever you want to present minimal information with a CTA. For example, landing pages.

Z-Shaped Pattern Design
Evernote, one of the leading note applications initially following the Z-shaped pattern on its landing page. The same pattern is still used by various websites worldwide as it urges users to take a specific action with a call to action.

15. Authenticity Builds Trust

Consumers in the digital world are very clever. They can quickly spot a website with fake or overpromising content. Therefore, it is highly suggested for you to be fully authentic about your brand.

To showcase authenticity in your website design, you can consider some of the things given below:

  • Integrate testimonials and reviews from real people.
  • Add authentic photos and videos.
  • Communicate clearly about your services.
  • Make sure your site possesses an SSL certificate.
  • Add Frequently Asked Questions.

By creating an authentic website, users will trust your website more & more. Further, it helps you to engage users on your website and urge them to take specific actions.

Summing Up

We hope that you have understood all the good web design principles.

Whether you want to optimize your existing site or build a website from scratch, it is essential to follow web design principles to create a user-friendly, functional, and attractive website for visitors.

Besides this, if you want any help regarding your website design, you can contact us.

As a full service web agency, We provide professional web design services and have a team of designers who can deliver you the most suitable website design solution for your business. and have a team of designers who can deliver you the most suitable website design solution for your business.