Guiding Principles in Creating an Effective Web Design

By on Aug 4, 2011 in Conversion | 38 comments

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This entry is a guest post by Noel Addison Agnote from NDIC. The views and opinions expressed on this post don’t necessarily reflect my views as an Online Marketer.

Principle Web design is one of the most vital aspect of modern online marketing, as visually attractive websites are very much capable of converting visitors to leads/sales with almost no trouble at all. Designs enable websites to speak for itself, in which they can inject and ignite trust to users upon first impression – seeing that the website has invested on making its users’ visual experience valuable.

On any online marketing strategies, enforcing a creatively done website design can and will extremely improve the site’s performance in terms of:

Simplicity – Less is More

Keeping your website simple should be the primary goal in designing a website. Remember that users are searching for information or answer to a certain question. In addition, Simple websites are easier to navigate, load faster and simple sites are quicker to design and build. So to make your website look simple remove unnecessary decorative elements and make sure that the backend of your site is as simple as the frontend. A simple message will be understood better than a complicated one.

Reduce the Cognitive Load In Your Design

When building a website make sure that your audience will quickly understand what your page is about. The navigation and site architecture have to be spontaneous or else more questions about your site will arise in your audience’s mind. A comprehensible structure, sensible visual clues and identifiable links can aid users to get what they need to know about your page. Let your website be clear and understandable.

Reducing the complexities in your website will make it easier for visitors to get the information that you want to convey to them.

Let Users Explore the Site and Discover Your Services

Remove the barriers that deter your visitors from exploring your website. Try to minimize your user’s requirement when you are offering some service or tools. Less action needed from users to try your service, the more visitors will try it. Let users discover the site and learn more about your services without obliging them to share their private data. It is not practical to compel users to enter an email address only to test your service. Make your users feel comfortable and calm in trying the features of your service.

Keep Your Visitor’s Attention and Interest

Aid your visitor’s eyes to see what’s important in your page and help them concentrate on what to do. Make your call to action different from other things in the page. Your content must be consistent, present things similarly so that it will be more serviceable and easier to learn for your visitors. Also, proper alignment is most likely the most important visual treatment you can do to make a design look visually easier to utilize.

Let the User See Vividly What Functions Are Available

Allowing the user see clearly what functions are available is a basic rule of successful user interface design. Make sure that the content is well-understood and visitors feel comfortable with the way they interact with the system.

Make Use of Effective Writing

When writing for a website come to the point as quickly as possible, use short and concise phrases instead of cute words and exaggerated statements. Use simple and objective language. Give your users some reasonable and objective reason why they should use your service or stay on your web-site.

White space is good

There are several of elements that form a great web design, but one of the most disregarded and underutilized is whitespace. Whitespace is made of nothing, but should not be seen in that way. There are several advantages that a huge dose of whitespace can bring to a design. Simply by increasing the space between elements in a layout, a design can take on a more elegant appearance, and by injecting more whitespace into a web design’s typography, content becomes more legible.

Communicate effectively with a “visible language”

Do the most with the least amount of cues and visual elements. Simplicity includes only the elements that are most important for communication. All components should be designed so their meaning is not vague. The essential properties of the elements should be discernible. The most important elements should be easily perceived. The user interface must keep in balance legibility, readability, typography, symbolism, multiple views, and color or texture in order to communicate successfully.

Test your website.

You will need to extensively test the website to ensure that visitors have a comfortable stay and don’t leave your site in an instant. Testing is an iterative process. That means that you design something, test it, fix it and then test it again.

There might be problems which haven’t been found during the first round as users were practically blocked by other problems. Usability tests always produce useful results. Either you’ll be pointed to the problems you have or you’ll be pointed to the absence of major design flaws which is in both cases a useful insight for your project.

According to Weinberg’s law, a developer is unsuited to test his or her code. This holds for designers as well. After you’ve worked on a site for few weeks, you can’t observe it from a fresh perspective anymore. You know how it is built and therefore you know exactly how it works — you have the wisdom independent testers and visitors of your site wouldn’t have.

About the Author:

Addison AgnoteNoel Addison Agnote is working as an internet marketer for more than 2 years. He is a part of NDIC, a web design company whose dedication is to build quality websites and help your business build a good online presence. For more information, please visit Santa Barbara Web Design.

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Image Credit: SydneyTayler

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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  1. Agree about testing point. You can see at it from the fresh point of view and see the drawbacks it has. Just like at any ohther project of yours.
    If you don’t have possibility to hire a tester, you can put off the site for a couple of days or weeks and come back to it later, after doing something else. In this case, you’ll be able to find the mistakes you made.

  2. This article is a good “slap on the wrist” for those of us that like to “junk up” our blogs with tons of plugins and ads.

    I am so guilty of this. Every time I change my theme everything looks clean and great and then it starts…I begin hacking the code and making everything complicated…it happens every time.

    Great article, Noel.

    You are right, sometimes less is definitely more…:)


  3. Kristina L.

    August 6, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Hi, Noel,
    I agree that the key is in simplicity, but a good web design for itself will not keep the visitors from coming just because it looks nice. I’ve seen many different approaches to web design, and neither of them were guarantee for bringing traffic…some were messy, and yet they were very visited, the others were neat and easy to manage, but with no content or anything engaging to make the readers visit the site again.

  4. Thank you for this post. I especially can relate to your notion of “Simplicity – less is more.” When websites have too much information, I bounce from it right away. A website literally has just a few seconds of time to keep the attention of its’ audience. When websites are too convoluted with information, a lot of the times it will cause an audience to seek another website where needed information can be found quicker.

    Thank you for the post as always!

  5. luchiferrr

    August 10, 2011

    Post a Reply

    The part about leaving white space has given me a new perspective on whats attractive to a website. Definitely something to take note on the next sites ill be building. Great article!

  6. Chris Warren

    August 11, 2011

    Post a Reply

    A great reminder about keeping user focused design ideas in mind as we SEO’s often get lost in our rankings and forget about trying to do more with the users we have. The whole point of building my websites is to create users who love the brand so I am ultimately not reliant on Google traffic.

    • Noel Addison

      September 8, 2011

      Post a Reply

      That’s right Chris! In designing our website we must think how our design will appeal and stimulate the senses of our visitors.

  7. A reminder to all web developers out there. I just want to add that in testing our website, you have to use different browsers in testing and also you might want to check your website in a mobile platform because nowadays, there are a lot of users surfing the internet using there phones.

  8. White space is critical, the first ever thing I was taught, apart form the rule of thirds, was great design isn’t about what you put in, it’s about what you leave out. The busier the layout the more things there are to distract from the message.

    • Steve

      March 11, 2013

      Post a Reply

      Couldn’t agree more, simplicity is the key. Don’t go into ‘information overload’ and switch people off. Keep it simple, grab the viewers focus on the relevant detail and make it easy for them to contact you.

  9. All what you’ve discussed here is true dear I am not able to pick a particular point to say that its the best but all explained here are really so crucial. Moreover even if you get the decent rank in SERPs doesn’t imply that you can convert the visitors into clients but after getting good ranking its only the site’s look and presentation which plays the next step.

    Thanks for the handy tips.

  10. Nice organized, simply laid out list, definitely practices what it preaches!

    you can’t stress keeping the website design simple. With so many developers out there trying to one up each other that point can sometimes be forgotten.

  11. I agree that keeping websites simple is key. Sometimes people try and put too much content and too many pages, and its not clear what their site is about. Such a simple tip but still so many people don’t follow it.

  12. ketan

    September 13, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Good post Noel. I see many comment-ers here also agree about the simplicity criterion. The truth is however, simple designs, more often then not, look unsophisticated – talking about design only here. The elegance of google.com landing page comes from the scattered links around the pages. Not that I am fan of google’s design philosophy, but it works, bing – not so much.

    So there go with simplicity. It’s tricky – if that’s simple! Great post by the way.


  13. I’m glad you mentioned white space and typography. So many people see white space as something that needs to be filled. Meanwhile, effective use of white space is paramount to creating an effective web design. It helps you guide the eye, helps break the information into bits the brain can manage, and can help emphasize important images or words (greater white space around something makes it stand out more).

  14. Jason

    October 5, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Lots of stuff covered here, but the one thing I definitely agree on is simplicity. That goes for all content, whether graphical or in words.

  15. Great points Jason. Maintaining the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) principle in design and copy can be very important in increasing user experience. As a fan of minimalism, I am partial to simplicity, and I think the constraints that it imposes on designers forces them to be more creative. This process leads to more functional work, that users are able to interact with much easier. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Leslee

    March 22, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Great post! thumbs up!! I agree that less is more. Visitors in a website wants a website that can be navigated easily.And also Load your websites with more content that is significant. Thanks for sharing!

  17. kevin

    May 11, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Hello Neol, your post answers to some of the best questions of the internet world.
    Many websites owner don’t allow to access their site without entering an email address or divert them to rather tedious signup and verification process.
    This not only distracts the user but creates dis-mood in the minds of user.
    Most of the time, user does not get the information or resource, they are looking for even after following verification process but rather they are diverted to a payment gateway.
    For me this is one of the worst user experience and it should be avoided.
    Internet is a free sharing community and it has to be carried on forward.

  18. kevin

    May 16, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Hello Neol, your post answers to some of the best questions.
    As many people here have already highlighted SEO part of the website, so I will not go in to the more details of website.
    I have cited some of the bad user experience in accessing a website from user point of view below.
    Many websites owner don’t allow to access their site without entering an email address or rather tedious signup and verification process.
    This not only distracts the user but creates dis-mood in the minds of user.
    Most of the time, user does not get the information or resource for they are looking for even after following verification process but rather they are diverted to a payment gateway.
    For me this is one of the worst user experience and it should be avoided.
    Internet is a sharing community and it has to be carried on forward.

  19. Craig

    July 26, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Yeah, keeping a page simple is key. All to often I see the beginner mistake of clutter and mediocre design on an otherwise decent page. The key is linking to these objects not just cramming them all on one page.

  20. Kyle Brandon

    August 29, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Effective website design is simple yet user friendly. On the other hand, technology is the spearhead of life nowadays. We can’t rebut that even simple things are affected by technology. One good example is blogging or known as online writing, for just a single post you can build a community and best is you can earn from it.

  21. Nick

    September 16, 2012

    Post a Reply

    I’ve been a graphic artist for over 20 years now. I’m just really unfamiliar with writing a blog and found your blog when
    researching design blogs and forums. I’ve got to point out how encouraged I am with all your blog posts along with the over-all top quality of your website. I am hoping I can start up a website just like your site and will check out your blog posts with great focus. Thanks heaps for that creativity mate.

  22. Less is more and white space is good… I love these two, I am a huge advocate of simple web designs that pack a punch… I think they have more elegance, and are easier get to where you are going.
    there is a reason google is so easy and simple to use, and its not because it flashes and hurts your eyes.

  23. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.
    I’m attempting to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

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  25. Dan

    August 15, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Thank You! Excellent tips…I’m always checking bounce rates. It’s a good indicator of usability and the search engines certainly pay close attention to it.

  26. Gareth Ellis

    August 27, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Completely agree with the simplicity factor. Less IS so much more. Especially when navigating sites on mobile browsers. I wonder what the drop of rate is for sites that are not designed for mobile. Personally I wont waste my time trying to pinch and zoom to navigate round an unoptimized page.

  27. Aditi

    October 4, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Hello Jason!
    Great post I must say! I like the tips that you have shared on web designing. These points are good and also effective in creating a perfect website. I like the points that you have used of maintaining white spaces. It definitely helps to look good and at the same time effective writing is also important. Thanks for the share!!

  28. alphanso

    December 13, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Hello Jason!
    Great post I must say! I like the tips that you have shared on web designing.Completely agree with the simplicity factor. Less IS so much more.

  29. Great
    100% i agree with the post. Every website should easy to navigate. A visitor should be able to find the information they are looking for without hassle and frustration. The site’s navigation buttons should be grouped together. If image links are used, text links should also be provided for those people who have images turned off on their browser or are using an older browser that doesn’t support images.


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