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6 Basic Elements of Website Design

As web designers toil over bubbling liquids, complex instruments, and the ever-tedious conversions between RGB colors and hex codes, they all hope to find the magical combination that strikes the ultimate balance between innovative creativity and business prowess. Success means a lifetime of pride and riches, while failure subjects the mad scientist to a lifetime of frustration and perpetual experiments.

Header Image

A big header image is probably what your user will see when they first land on your site. This sets the stage for what users can expect from the rest of your website. You will need to decide between having a nice header image or including a slider on your site. A header image needs to be a high-quality image that looks good on any screen. If it is too busy it can distract from the main content or the call to action. You can use header images to grab the attention of your site visitors and encourage them to take action or to keep scrolling down.

In basic website design, you will want to avoid too much movement. Sliders can be simple but they can also present some problems that many people do not foresee. If you have text over each image, you will need to make sure the timing is right and that users have enough time to read and process the information. Sometimes sliders don’t convert well to mobile. It can be difficult to get everything looking right on your desktop not to mention on mobile.

Space

This goes along with the last modern website design element, but white space is also very attractive. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be white.

White space is a term used for the amount of “empty” space that acts as a buffer between all the elements on your page, including copy, sidebar, margins, etc. Things should have room to breathe; if your website is crowded, it is very hard to direct the attention of your visitor’s eye. 

Purposely designing your website with white space makes for a clean design that is easily digestible and organized. As websites are adopting a more minimalistic style, keeping space open on your page will allow your reader to navigate their way around a page with more ease.

Color Scheme

The elements you were probably expecting the most once you started reading. Your color palette and fonts will directly inform your visitors’ opinions of your site and are what most novice designers start with. Trust us, the groundwork you’ve done so far will set you up for greater success than Roy G. Biv alone.

Lawyers and accountants, for example, would typically be best served with a deep blue or green to signal professionalism, while a photographer may want to rely on black and white to truly showcase the vibrancy of his or her images. Beyond your brand’s industry, pay attention to your readers’ expectations: Parents of newborns will appreciate soft pinks and blues and yellows, while K-6 children expect bright primary colors. Teens and young adults are bold, while grownups and grandparents are a bit more refined and mature.

Interaction

A truly effective website design engages your visitors immediately and continues to hold their attention through EVERY page, as well as influences them to contact you. This is called ‘conversion’ and is probably your website’s ultimate goal. Again, there is a fine line between ʻinteractionʼ and ʻannoyanceʼ, so the level of interac- tion should never outweigh the benefit.

Typography

The same industry and demographics principles can generally be said for the typography, or fonts, you choose to communicate your message. More formal roles, like those lawyers and accountants, will likely want to stick with distinguished serif fonts (which have the extra bits hanging off at the end of letters), while we envision the photographer would use a very light and airy sans serif (no extra bits) typeface.

Web Friendly

No matter how informative, beautiful, and easy to use your website design is, it’s useless unless it’s web-friendly. It is important that your web designers know the keys to making your website work on all the major browsers, and that they utilize meta tags, alt tags, are fully versed in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Many factors affect your search engine placement and visual appearance of your site, so make sure your web designers know their stuff.

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