Website Layout Best Practices

Designing a Website: The Effective Work on The Layout

A common misjudging is to cut across the endeavours of the web design community comparing to the infinite number of online websites. The idea is simple: having so many websites, it can’t take that much time for someone to launch one.

The true is that a poor website or an extremely simplistic blog can be launched in no time, but a medium one is already a challenging activity for a web designer.

A complex website is a very demanding job and only the most experienced designers are able to create one. The conclusion is that the huge Internet development is due to the great work of the web designers.

If you are not convinced that the job of a web designer is difficult, then I strongly recommend visiting our blog and read the serial dedicated to how to become a web designer! In this episode we will debate the effective creation of a layout- best practices and tricks.

The same as in other fields, the specialisation is the result of hard work, therefore reading ten times this post won’t make you a better designer. The good road is to keep practicing daily!

And of course, to regularly visit our blog and check the tutorials to learn new techniques.

Website Layout Creation: Best Practices & Tricks

#1. Respect your sketches, but allow a high degree of flexibility

In the previous article: Designing a website: the steps before effectively create the layout (by the way, we strongly recommend reading it in case you missed the post) we mentioned the layout sketches.

At this phase, the designer makes the digital files according to them. Every designer has his own preferences, but the huge majority of them use Adobe Photoshop. Anyway, what really matters is that at this phase the designer, using no matter which software, creates the layout.

The best solution is to fully respect the sketches, but practically it’s impossible- when working it’s possible to have an idea about how to improve the layout. The existence of sketches shouldn’t be a reason to not improve the design, so a high degree of flexibility is very important.

#2. Responsiveness is the “new normal”

The design community understands that people love dynamism and Internet browsing is no longer dependent on a desktop computer. Nowadays, the Internet is wireless, everything is stored into the clouds and browsing websites is possible using various devices as smartphones, tablets or even watches.

As a result, the modalities of making websites changed- it was necessary to create adaptive websites that may be rendered no matter by the device accessing them. This approach was called responsive design and it became a common practice to create responsive online presences.

Under these circumstances, creating a responsive website isn’t a simple “phase”, it’s just a sign of normality and fully comprehension of the actual clients’ needs.

#3. “Test often, test early”

Not one designer has been born that hasn’t made least one mistake. Making a good website is a strong challenge and I think it’s impossible not to make a major mistake when designing it. It shouldn’t be shameful, it’s human nature.

Really shameful is to make a mistake, to observe it but not to correct it. A very good method of “fighting” against mistakes is to test the websites. “Test often, test early” is a universal advice any designer knows by heart. Unfortunately, some designers neglect testing and definitely, you shouldn’t be one of them!

Also, the testing should start from the very beginning; if you don’t test the website before writing the latest lines of codes, then correcting the mistakes will take a lot of time.

#4. The users scan the website

The creator of a website has enough reasons to admire his work, but the average Internet user has no motivation to waste his time this way. Much more, they formed a special sense that allows them scanning websites.

Yeah, each of us lacks patience and in just few miliseconds we evaluate a website. Of course, this superficial judgement may be correct or not! Anyway, a web designer should create the website taking into account this aspect and as a result, the layouts must be extremely scalable.

#5. Don’t be afraid of white space

Many amateur designers want to prove everyone their good skills and so, they created very agglomerated layouts. Altogether, it’s not a smart idea- people want usable websites and not proofs of the designer’s talent.

In conclusion, a good designer shouldn’t “fight” to show his amazing set of skills. A website having much white space isn’t an unpolished one, it’s just an online presences that is created for an easy navigation.

The white space (or negative space how other people name it) is a vital aspect of a website and sometimes it is as important as the content itself.

#6. Colours and fonts- make them your friends

A good website requires many hours of work and a good dose of inspiration but to make it a disaster it’s enough just few seconds of misjudgement.

Colours and fonts are two entities that make the difference between a good website and a poor one. There are many websites that help the designers choose a good colour scheme and enough blogs treating the typography subject, therefore there is no excuse for any web designer to ignore these aspects.

Still, a good colour combination or a lovely pair of fonts isn’t a warranty that the website will be highly appreciated. Both the colours and the fonts used must form a common message with the entire layout…it’s a very important aspect that many times is ignored.

Adding some stringent colours, a handwritten font and a flat approach may definitely form a very confusing layout. It won’t be appreciated by the users even if each separated component is good looking.

Final Words

I don’t want to discourage anyone, but making a website is a serious job and it requires many sacrifices to stay updated. Web design is a very dynamic domain and offering to clients only top quality products is a difficult task. Do you agree with me or do you have a different perspective over the statute of a web designer?

– Written by Daniel –

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